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January 09, 2008

Bluesocket's Next-generation Integrated Architecture and 802.11n Access Point

By Tim Gray, TMCnet Web Editor


Bluesocket, a leader in wireless access and enterprise mobility, recently launched its next-generation integrated architecture and 802.11n Access Point (News - Alert).

Bluesocket, which counts Pingtel as one of its subsidiaries, says it is building on the advanced features and capabilities of its distributed edge switching and intelligent access point (AP) solutions. Bluesocket’s (News - Alert) new Virtual Wireless LAN (vWLAN) architecture unifies wireless and existing wired networks to produce a truly integrated and optimized networking solution.

“With 802.11n, customers are demanding secure, future-poof solutions designed to scale,” Mads Lillelund (News - Alert), president and CEO of Bluesocket, said. “The heart of the truly unified mobile network is a marriage of wired and wireless networks with advanced applications.”

vWLAN is expected to allow customers to reduce the cost of deploying and operating large-scale Wi-Fi networks while providing wired-equivalent performance for wireless users, with seamless roaming and enterprise-class security and policy management.

”Our virtual wireless LAN architecture, coupled with our 802.11n solutions will allow customers to unify their network infrastructure to achieve mobility with full security, while laying the foundation for emerging network-based applications,” said Lillelund.

Because users have many wireless architectural options, says Lillelund, including centralized or distributed Wi-Fi switch architectures or unproven coordinated control AP-only networks.

The centralized architecture adds both capital and operating costs by replicating the existing data infrastructure, requiring users to deploy high-capacity Wi-Fi switching backplanes and forcing roaming traffic to special VLANs, said Lillelund.

New vMAC (virtual MAC) capability will hide session routing complexity from both wireless and wired clients helping to deliver seamless roaming across APs and subnets, without requiring all roaming traffic to flow to a central switch or to a specialized mobility controller.

The new AP software will implement vMAC and add both intelligent roaming tunnel capability, QoS Policing, and a stateful firewall to Bluesocket’s award winning access points.  The APs will handle establishment of roaming tunnels over the existing wired network, and enforce user- and flow-level policy.

This approach unnecessarily increases network complexity and creates a performance bottleneck, especially at 802.11n data rates.  Alternatively, the coordinated control AP approach offers high performance, but does not integrate well with the existing data network and will not scale effectively in large enterprise installations.

New controller software that focuses on control plane functionality including intelligent roaming tunnel coordination.  The new software will assist APs in rapidly establishing L3 roaming tunnels between non-adjacent APs and APs on different subnets for seamless roaming with fast hand-off for VoIP and FMC applications. 

In addition, standard controller functions will be provided including: user authentication, guest management, RF management and RF IDS. Because data will not flow through the controllers, they will be able to manage thousands of 802.11n clients and APs per controller – delivering unlimited scalability. 

Our virtual wireless LAN architecture, coupled with our 802.11n solutions will allow customers to unify their network infrastructure to achieve mobility with full security, while laying the foundation for emerging network-based applications.”

In addition to vWLAN, Bluesocket will be introducing its 802.11n draft 2.0 Access Point, the BSAP-1800, in early 2008. Bluesocket was the first vendor to introduce an enterprise class MIMO AP and continuing this lead in MIMO technology, the BSAP-1800 will be the first product with 2nd generation MIMO antenna technology, delivering customers market-proven performance and coverage advantages.

The BSAP-1800 includes two 11n radios - 802.11a/b/g/n and 802.11b/g/n - supporting up to 64 clients and 8 virtual APs per radio, a custom embedded antenna array with options for external antennas and a GigE port to support 2 x 150Mbps streams. The 802.3af power standard will be supported by the BSAP-1800 with a single-port Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) solution.

“No matter what, demands for ever-increasing throughput, time-bounded services, and mobility will define enterprise networks far into the future,” said Craig Mathias, a Principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group. “The key to successful deployments meeting these criteria will be the performance enabled by 802.11n and WLAN system architecture optimized for performance, and leveraging – not replacing – the wired network.”

Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To see more of his articles, please visit Tim Gray’s columnist page.

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