Wi-Fi Kool-Aid: A Tale of Two Flavors
Since I went ahead and threw down the gauntlet in my last post, I thought you should taste-test a couple of Kool-Aid 'samples' while I had everything out on the table.
'Kool-Aid' is about a company's overall approach (philosophy) to networking (in this case, Wi-Fi networking). At first sip, you might think the two flavors we’ll be discussing taste similar, but one of them has a bit of a 'twang.' It's like sweet tea that's been sitting out a little too long, and if you're an avid sweet tea drinker like me, that twang isn't a good thang. Motorola, Aruba, and Meru, (the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place Wi-Fi vendors in the market) ALL serve up an 'All Wireless Enterprise' flavor. In contrast, Cisco serves up the 'Wireless-is-an-Extension-of-the-Wired-network' variety.
ALL WIRELESS ENTERPRISE (AWE) means the distribution and access layers of the traditional 'Core, Distribution, Access' network design layers are primarily, if not entirely, wireless. Wi-Fi would, in today's market, be the primary technology for access. But Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and other technologies could serve in a distribution layer capacity. It's a given that the core of any sizable network will remain wired for capacity and dependability. Vendors who are serving AWE flavor know this, and have typically partnered with wired infrastructure vendors (if they can't offer wired infrastructure equipment themselves) to provide this part of the networking meal plan. More or less, AWE vendors believe that wireless brings a significant value to the enterprise when implemented properly, and they want to specialize in that area alone.
WIRELESS as an EXTENSION of the WIRED network (WEW) gives you a mixture that allows wireless to add value to the wired network, but the wired network remains 'primary' - even out to the network's edge (access layer). WEW flavor has the underlying requirement of the vendor or the vendor's partner(s) being able to (and wanting to) sell primarily wired networking equipment. Wireless networking equipment is then sold only where specifically needed (when wired network equipment can't do the job) for the purpose of maximizing gross income.Continue reading...