Home > Business & Strategy, IT Infrastructure, Technology & Telecom > Planning to ‘Reset’ the WLAN Market, ADTRAN Buys Bluesocket

Planning to ‘Reset’ the WLAN Market, ADTRAN Buys Bluesocket

ADTRAN believes the move to 802.11n, the explosion in demand for wireless connectivity, and the adoption of cloud virtualization in enterprise networks creates the ideal climate for it to enter the wireless LAN space. As a result, the company has acquired Bluesocket Inc. in a deal announced today.

Terms of the purchase were not released.

Bluesocket, a privately owned, venture-backed business out of Burlington, Mass., considers itself a fourth-generation wireless LAN solutions provider.

Christopher Koeneman, vice president of sales at the newly acquired company, explains that first-generation WLAN was all about autonomous access points. The second generation saw companies like Aruba and Cisco introduce thin access points managed by single controllers. The third generation involved the entrance of companies like Extricom and Meru to enable sustained roaming sessions for services such as voice over Wi-Fi, and the emergence of products that separated out the control plane from companies like Colubris (now part of HP) and Trapeze Networks (now under the Juniper Networks’ umbrella).

However, fourth-generation WLAN solutions, he says, are controller-less. A company called Aerohive that falls into this category builds the controller into the access point, he says. But the Bluesocket solution leverages virtualization to put control of the wireless network into the data center.

And cloud virtualization changes everything, notes Gary Bolton, vice president of global marketing at ADTRAN, who says cloud-based delivery of WLAN solutions will obsolete controller-based implementations, resetting the market for Wi-Fi as a whole. (The cloud/data center in this case will likely initially be a private cloud, but this technology could work in scenarios involving service provider-hosted offerings as well.)

Placing WLAN control in the data center makes sense, he explains, because it allows for unprecedented scalability. That’s important in light of the explosion in wireless endpoints and the fact that wireless access has become a must-have not just a nice-to-have capability, meaning that more organizations are now deploying larger numbers of access points. Controlling WLAN networks from servers (the Bluesocket solution in this case is software running on a VMware platform) at the data center also significantly reduces power requirements, Bolton adds, and it allows for a more secure overall architecture.

“We believe this is a perfect time to reset and redefine the whole wireless LAN industry,” says Bolton.

Eliminating the hardware requirement of the WLAN controller and putting it in the cloud is an architecture that – coupled with move to 802.11n, which is happening now – will put Cisco and others “back on their heels,” Bolton says. Pair that with ADTRAN’s ability to strengthen R&D investment on this front, its strong stable of channel partners, and its existing product portfolio, including its leadership position in LAN infrastructure, Bolton continues, and you have the potential for ADTRAN to really shake up the WLAN marketplace with new and more efficient solutions.

Today most enterprises have separate wireless and wireline networks, he adds, but with Bluesocket under its wing ADTRAN can now integrate those dual networks into a single, seamless network that can serve any endpoint virtually anywhere. The end goal, Bolton explains, is to allow for complete endpoint freedom across the enterprise, even if that enterprise is distributed across the world.

Originally posted at: http://communication-solutions.tmcnet.com/topics/communication-solutions/articles/206045-planning-reset-wlan-market-adtran-buys-bluesocket.htm

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