Last Post: January 15, 2010:
Aerohive is messing up our lexicon.
The whole industry, and CWNP, has traditionally referred to APs that were not managed by a controller as "autonomous." In other words, an autonomous AP is an AP that performs the full MAC-level operations within itself and does not split the MAC operations with another device.
Aerohive comes along with their cooperative control autonomous architecture and suddenly there are two kinds of autonomous AP: cooperative autonomous and independent (legacy) autonomous. Cooperative autonomous APs are a part of a protocol-based solution where communication between APs happens all the time and the control plane is shared, while independent autonomous APs are just plain old standalone (all by myself) non-ESS-aware APs.
These lines are becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate... for example, Motorola has an "adaptive" AP, but, as yet, no inter-AP (except mesh) protocols for control functions.
So, any suggestions as to how we should differentiate these technologies in our terminology?
I'm thinking "cooperative autonomous" and "independent autonomous," as I used throughout this post.
Yes, from a vendor-neutral perspective I can see how this is a little bit of an issue. Your terms are perfectly fine, but as the other vendors (several of them actually) move toward Aerohive's distributed model, it should get to the point where you can just say, "Access Point" again. :)
A sort of a reverse situation happened in the development of the computer industry [ no exact comparisons with Wi-Fi, but perhaps interesting nonetheless ].
Originally, simple dumb terminals with no processing power were connected to large mainframes. There was a "constant" flow of requests and responses over the link between the two.
Then as hard drives etc showed up, with cheaper and more powerful processors [ as well as cheaper and larger RAM !!], the heavy-lifting shifted in many cases back towards the "peripheral devices".
Nowadays, some high end home PC's have so much memory of all sorts that they are being used as samll scale servers in some situations.
Funny how the old wheel comes round....
Well said. Nice analogy.