Did you know that all cloud Wi-Fi’s aren’t created equal?
The race is on to put cloud in Wi-Fi
The word “cloud” in the name doesn’t tell the whole story, one has to dig deeper. Here’s why.
The word “cloud” in the name doesn’t tell the whole story, one has to dig deeper. Here’s why.
As Wi-Fi deployments extend into large distributed environments, management of these Wi-Fi networks poses unique challenges. It could be the clinic-wide deployment for the medical facility running into 100’s of sites, branch-wide deployment for the bank running into 1000’s of sites, or store-wide deployment for the fast food restaurant running into 10,000’s sites. The network and security management needs for such deployments are very different from the traditional campus Wi-Fi. Accordingly, the network management console has to deliver on a number of fronts. Read more…
Barely two weeks after I posted my last blog discussing benefits of the true cloud Wi-Fi over the controller over WAN architecture using Cisco FlexConnect as example for the latter; news of Cisco acquiring Meraki broke out. I got a kick out of it since it showed that my inferences on Cisco FlexConnect and other controller centric offerings were dead on spot, that they can never become real cloud Wi-Fi by incremental touchups and jargon experimentation. I also got a kick out of its timing — 1.2B acquisition barely 2 weeks after I wrote that post! There are several takeaways for the future of cloud Wi-Fi from this big event. First and most obvious is that the cloud Wi-Fi market is expanding rapidly. Another takeaway is that for the vendors already committed to the controller centric WLAN architecture, migration to cloud architecture is not incremental, but it is disruptive. Cisco could not do the migration in-house even after trying for few years with incremental changes like REAP, H-REAP, ELM, and FlexConnect. As I said in my last blog, cloud Wi-Fi is not about throwing controller over WAN, but is needs to be architected differently from the bottoms up. Finally, it also shows that with the standardization of access point platforms, differentiation in mainstream enterprise Wi-Fi will come from innovations in the application space such as network management, security, and integration with other services.
AirTight envisioned value of the cloud managed Wi-Fi solutions way back in 2008; when it was the first to launch wireless intrusion prevention (WIPS) and wireless PCI compliance solutions from the cloud (cloud used to be called SaaS at that time). It saw wholehearted acceptance from customers for Wi-Fi security and compliance applications. Having seen the benefits of the cloud Wi-Fi security offering, those same customers then wanted Wi-Fi access bundled with security in the AirTight cloud offering and AirTight answered their call in 2010. AirTight’s cloud managed Wi-Fi access with built in PCI compliance, saw tremendous success in the market. Riding on this second wave of success in the cloud strategy, AirTight then launched cloud managed enterprise grade Wi-Fi access with its highly acclaimed, absolute best-in-class WIPS buit into it.
Due to strong security posture, extreme scalability, and unique management capabilities, AirTight Cloud Services™ are not just for the midmarket, but also fit very well into scale many times as big. No wonder, organizations even as large as multiple 10,000’s distributed locations have selected AirTight cloud Wi-Fi over all competing Wi-Fi solutions! I am excited to see the cloud Wi-Fi market ignited by Cisco right at the time when AirTight has reached great level of maturity on its cloud Wi-Fi offerings over all these years.
With rising popularity of the cloud Wi-Fi in the distributed Wi-Fi deployments, there is also an attempt to pass off the legacy controller technology as the cloud Wi-Fi by deploying conventional controllers over the WAN. Realizing that it is infeasible to deploy many smaller controllers in the distributed Wi-Fi deployments such as retail, remote offices, etc., the controller over WAN architecture deploys bigger controllers at the HQ and calls it a cloud Wi-Fi. However, the controller over WAN Wi-Fi does not measure up to the true cloud Wi-Fi for many reasons as outlined below. We will use example of Cisco’s controller over WAN architecture to illustrate these differences. Earlier, Cisco called it H-REAP and ELM, now it calls it FlexConnect, but does changing terminology get controllers to measure up to the true cloud? Let us find out. Read more…
Currently, market is inundated with announcements from vendors on 3-stream MIMO APs. Sure enough AirTight has also launched one being at the forefront of Wi-Fi technology. But what sticks out of some of those announcements is lopsided mention of high speed wireless connectivity, even to the extent of misleading claim of 900 Mbps for the dual radio 3-stream APs albeit with a sneaky word “upto” before the number. While connectivity speed is important consideration (actually now a commodity available out of 3-stream Wi-Fi chipsets), that consideration alone does not help to come up with a good game plan for deploying 3-stream Wi-Fi. A more holistic thinking taking into account real world performance, security, and next generation Wi-Fi architecture is required when selecting 3-stream MIMO APs. Read more…
With AirTight Wi-Fi™, enterprises now have a truly secure Wi-Fi solution that is armed to defend your network from wireless threats 24/7.
Join AirTight on September 19 at 11 AM Pacific for a live demo. Find out how easy it is to deploy, manage and secure AirTight’s cloud-managed Wi-Fi. AirTight Wi-Fi Benefits: •Simple to deploy and manage with limited IT resources •Fully user-customizable HTML5 UI to improve IT efficiency •Get your Wi-Fi up and running quickly without the need for extensive training and certifications •Infinitely scalable to grow the WLAN deployment over time •Provides high performance 3×3 MIMO within the 802.3af power budget •Top rated WIPS to automatically detect and block threats •Provides automated BYOD policy enforcement including device onboarding.
Retailers are increasingly looking to deploy Wi-Fi in their stores. They want to provide guest Wi-Fi to their patrons and also want to deploy in-store applications such as wireless POS and printers, wireless kiosks, wireless digital signage, and HQ network access over Wi-Fi. Coupled with these business drivers there is also a wireless PCI compliance requirement to protect credit card transactions. Retailers however face some unique challenges which were hitherto not met by traditional autonomous or controller Wi-Fi solutions. Now cloud managed Wi-Fi has made it quite feasible for them to achieve these goals.
Right when the Wi-Fi access and security management are moving towards the controller-less architecture, another interesting architecture seems to have evolved at the other extreme. This architecture seems to be advocating not one, but two WLAN controllers in tandem – and that too from two different vendors. And, some optional (additional?) security management servers on top of the tandem. You think I am kidding? Then check this announcement from Aruba Networks, which is a leading controller-based WLAN vendor: http://www.arubanetworks.com/solutions/by-application/byod-services-on-your-existing-wi-fi/. The stated business case seems to be to put a band-aid on the Cisco WLAN’s (another leading controller-based WLAN vendor) insufficient security features.
In this case, the tandem is only for BYOD security, but as a matter of fact there are many more security gaps that will still remain to be addressed even after the twin tandem controllers are deployed. Would we need a third WLAN controller in the tandem to fill the remaining security gap, and who might provide that? Or, is it just easier to deploy a controller-less comprehensive WIPS solution (and that too with the onsite or cloud option) and secure the Cisco WLAN once and for all. Just a practical thought.
Join AirTight wireless and security experts to learn how deploying a cloud-based Wi-Fi solution can meet your business objects with the fastest deployment, lowest cost and minimal management overhead, while maintaining the security of your network and meeting PCI wireless scanning requirements.
AirTight can show you how to be up and running with a Guest Wi-Fi network and captive portal in a matter of minutes.
Be sure to visit AirTight at booth 2227 at the NRF 101st Annual Convention & EXPO, January 15-18, 2012 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. We will have experts and top executives on hand to answer your questions.
Monday, January 16, 2012: 9:00am – 6:30pm
Tuesday, January 17, 2012: 9:00am – 5:00pm
AirTight Cloud Services™ – AirTight Cloud Services for Wi-Fi Access and Security is the first and only VVi-Fi solution managed from the cloud that offers VVi-Fi access PLUS full time rogue detection and prevention for wireless security and PCI compliance in a single device.
If we have your interest, contact us at email@example.com to set up a meeting with our wireless experts.
AirTight Networks will be demonstrating cloud-based PCI compliance and Wi-Fi access solutions at the NACStech conference in Las Vegas, May 16-18.
AirTight Cloud Services provides scanning for, detection of, and prevention against rogue access points (APs) and other wireless vulnerabilities to satisfy PCI compliance requirements, while laying the foundation for strategic wireless initiatives in the future.
With AirTight, convenience store operators can deploy secure Wi-Fi access, wireless PCI compliance scanning, and wireless IPS capabilities in a singe device managed from anywhere on the Internet.
AirTight’s combination wireless AP/security sensor provides an affordable, easy-to-deploy and use, scalable Wi-Fi access solutions that can meet their Wi-Fi needs while maintaining PCI compliance and network security. This seamless transition gives IT complete control and maximum flexibility to roll out WiFi with no additional equipment to purchase, no additional deployment costs, and without compromising security or PCI compliance.
Offered as a monthly service, costs are kept to a minimum. Subscription fees include all equipment, support and maintenance, as well as device replacement and upgrades during the term of the contract.
For more information and a live demo of AirTight’s award winning products, please visit AirTight Networks at booth #324 at the NACStech Conference in Las Vegas, May 16-18.