Motorola unveils its Wing 5 wireless LAN architecture, which puts more intelligence and services into the access point to make the architecture more scalable and resilient.
BOSTON-Motorola officials are
looking to bring greater reliability and scalability to enterprise wireless
networks by adding greater intelligence and services to access points on the
edge of the network.
At an event here Oct. 5, Motorola unveiled it Wing 5 wireless LAN
802.11n architecture, which is designed to enable IT departments to provide a
better user experience for users in mobile data, voice and video services.
Where some WLAN solutions put all the services and intelligence
in the WLAN controller, Motorola is putting the same code and services that are
found on the controller onto the access points. The self-healing Wing 5
architecture allows for greater flexibility and resiliency to the wireless
network, according to Motorola officials. Access points will now have security
capabilities, ensure QoS (quality of service) levels, and offer rerouting of
traffic if there is a slowdown due to overloads or other problems.
"We saw a wonderful opportunity to reinvent the wireless
network to avoid those bottlenecks," Bob Sanders, senior vice president
and general manager of Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Solutions business, said
during the launch event.
The result is better application performance, security and
scalability on the network. Motorola officials offered demonstrations of the
technology, showing how videos streamed over the network can continue running
even when the controller is taken down.
They also demonstrated video streaming to 84 laptops through a
single AP 7131N access point, setting the record in the Guinness Book of World
Records for the most powerful access point. A Motorola spokesperson said this
was the first entry into the world famous list of records for the most powerful
access point, setting the baseline for others to follow.
"What we are doing essentially is making access points as
intelligent as the controller," said Amit Sinha, CTO
of Motorola's Enterprise Wireless LAN
Wing 5 also helps cut costs for enterprises by reducing the
number of access points and controllers needed, and making its easier for
businesses to right-size their wireless networks.
The technology is available now in Motorola's RFS
4000 controller and AP 650 access point, and will be phased in to the RFS
6000 and 7000 controllers and AP 6411, 7131 and 7181 access points. That will
be completed in the first quarter of 2011, according to Motorola.
This type of flexible and resilient architecture is becoming
increasingly important as wireless devices-from laptops and netbooks to
smartphones and tablet PCs-proliferate, according to Motorola's Sanders.
Enterprises are increasingly turning to wireless technology, and that trend
will only continue. Last year, more than 2.4 billion mobile applications were
downloaded, according to Motorola.
Joe Griffin, CTO of the Keller
Independent School District,
said officials in the Dallas, Texas,
school district voted in 2008 to spend $23 million to upgrade the IT
infrastructure, and the decision was made to focus on wireless technology. The
district has 33,000 students and 3,686 employees spread out over 38 campuses,
and school officials wanted to make it easy for students and faculty to be able
to use whatever mobile devices they had to access the network.
"Students pull out whatever device they have, whatever
they have from home, and they connect," Griffin
said during the Motorola event.
Motorola technology is enabling school district IT workers to
make this happen, and Wing 5 will go a long way in helping ensure that students
and faculty get access to the wireless services they need.
"[Wireless connectivity] is not a luxury anymore," he
said. "It's a necessity."
Craig Mathias, an analyst with the Farpoint Group, said the
trend toward mobile is inevitable.
"You name it, everybody is going to be wireless,"
Mathias said during the event.
Given that, scalable, secure and flexible wireless
architectures are going to be critical going forward, and they must address a
host of issues, from throughput to capacity to total cost of ownership, he
said. And how vendors build their architecture will help differentiate their
offerings from those of competitors, particularly since many of the
architectures share common components.
Motorola's Wing 5 architecture, with its more intelligent
access points, is an interesting approach, Mathias said.
"You don't want everything to be done in the controller,"
he said. "Access points can have a lot more intelligence in them."
In an interview with eWEEK after the event, Mathias said that
currently, most vendors have the bulk of the intelligence in their controllers,
while some have it in their access points. Motorola's approach has merit.
"I'm intrigued by this," he said. "I can't tell
you it's absolutely the right thing to do, but it's very interesting."