SDN Enables Consistent Policy and Experience Across Unified Wired and Wireless Networks.
Think about all the evolution of and dependence on Wi-Fi that has occurred in the past 10 years — from the societal to the individual, from the schools to large businesses, from economic to the technological. These changes have not just affected the enterprise; they’ve redefined the expectations. People expect reliable wireless connectivity wherever they are. Poor connectivity is not just annoyance — it also means business disruption and lost productivity. It is just not acceptable to have choppy phone calls, pixelated screen sharing, frustrating video conferences, incomplete sales transactions, and much more.
While everyone is focusing on the quality of wireless, people almost don’t see that there is a wired switch behind the wireless access points. The application servers such as Microsoft Lync Server, Apple OS X Server, ERP applications, Oracle, and many more are sitting behind the wires in the wiring closet. Almost all traffic goes from wireless to wired. You can have the best Wi-Fi infrastructure and best environment for Wi-Fi, but if you have no control on the wired traffic, you cannot provide the desired experience to the end user. You need the ability to monitor and control wireless and wired infrastructure at the same time — programmatically.
End User Experience Depends Not Only On How Good the Wi-Fi is but On How Much Control You Have Over the Wired Network.
IT needs the capability to provide the same levels of security, management, and control in their wireless network as they have in their wired network. IT needs to be able to manage the networks effectively with the limited resources they have. Enterprises need a single solution for policy enforcement across wired and wireless users. And that is where SDN comes in.
In SDN, the infrastructure devices such as wired switches, wireless controllers, or wireless access points expose standards based on the interface (OpenFlow is one such standard) and using this interface, one can route or prioritize traffic in the most effective way. It allows network administrators to provide service availability, bandwidth management, content caching, quality of service, and energy savings, and provide them much more easily and automatically.
For example, there is a recent protocol, Bonjour, that allows people to easily mirror their device content to the TV. For example, you can mirror your YouTube video from your iPhone to the TV. Now, imagine the scenario in which, in a hotel, there are hundreds of Bonjour-enabled TVs. In that environment, one needs to ensure that only the guest in the room can mirror content of his or her device to the TV in one’s room. And, with SDN, it is now possible. The SDN application can look at the Bonjour messages and allow only the user in that room to mirror his or her content. Creating this kind of personal area network used to require a lot of manual configurations and often resulted in overload on IT. With SDN, this can be done easily, automatically. One can write applications to optimize flows, prioritize flows, or restrict flows based on the requirements at hand.
And, best of all, as the interface to SDN-enabled infrastructure is open-standards-based, it provides network administrators (customers) with maximum investment protection since their SDN architecture will always remain independent of vendor interests. Network administrators, network infrastructure vendors, or third-party application developers can introduce applications to meet their needs.
With SDN, the Network is Truly Open, Flexible, and Customizable.
Mobility needs are exploding, and now is the time to converge your network for unified wired and wireless access, and prepare to take the next step to SDN. With SDN you can discover the new ways to innovate. An SDN-enabled network is a happy network — a network that empowers the IT organization to be more responsive to the needs of the business, more effectively manage the networks, and deliver more services in an agile manner.
SDxCentral DemoFriday ALERT: Microsoft Lync & Bonjour Simplified for Campus Networks. Join SDxCentral and Meru Networks on Friday, February 13th to see how these applications simplify Microsoft Lync and Apple Bonjour and contribute to the management of complex and user-centric campus networks.