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SDN Technology for Wi-Fi is a Game Changer as Enterasys Enhances IndetiFi

By Joe Rizzo June 12, 2013

Enterasys Networks is a March 2000 spin-off of Cabletron Systems offering wired and wireless network infrastructure. It also provides security and management solutions to enterprise customers worldwide. Enterasys products include routers, switches and 802.11 wireless access points.

Last week in a press release, Enterasys announced that it is delivering the industry’s first software-defined networking (SDN) solution for Wi-Fi. SDN allows network administrators to manage network services more easily through abstraction of lower level functionality into virtual services. This eliminates the hassle of having to manually configure hardware.

The SDN solution will encompass both wired and wireless deployments. The SDN solution allows Enterasys to extend the flexibility of the IdentiFi architecture. This flexibility, in turn allows for programmability from any IT application. The new architecture is called IdentiFi Adapt and it will use the concepts that we are now seeing in Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to manage and control the SDN architecture.

According to Enterasys, IndentiFi is a purpose built Wi-Fi solution that provides a wired-like wireless local area networking (WLAN) experience for mobile and bring your own device (BYOD) users. Enterasys IdentiFi includes access points, centralized management and controllers that provide the scalability and control required to meet the high user demand for simultaneous voice, HD video and data services.

IdentiFi Adapt includes new monitoring dashboards and maps. It will also feature advanced device and user location services. Enterasys’ OneFabric Control Center can automatically provision the network from core to edge and keep it secure regardless of what device employees bring with them. Combined with IdentiFi Adapt, centralized control can be achieved throughout the entire network.

Some of the key functionalities mentioned in Enterasys’ statement are as follows:

  • Enterasys is the first company to offer SDN for Wi-Fi for both wired and wireless customers, continuing momentum from the May OneFabric Connect SDN launch, an SDN solution that has integration with a community of partners to provide predefined and customer-defined applications. 
  • IdentiFi Adapt uses the concepts of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) for all management and control functions in its SDN architecture.
  • IdentiFi allows IT to decide how traffic paths are engineered and managed, whether forwarded locally, centrally or in a combination of both. Additionally, IdentiFi enables IT to encrypt data traffic on the wired side, a key benefit for cloud deployment and security-critical environments such as healthcare.
  • To improve performance, reduce management complexity and optimize battery life, Enterasys supports multiple traffic paths on a single SSID based on user identity.
  • Increased visibility via OneFabric Control Center coverage maps provide operators with a graphical view of Wi-Fi coverage, and advanced real-time triangulation can pinpoint the location of devices for easy troubleshooting.
  • IdentiFi eases management and control of multicast traffic like Apple Bonjour, UPnP and others. This greatly reduces network noise from these chatty protocols.
  • Administrators can set policies to identify, contain and control the network by device, user, location and time of day.

John Mazur, senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group, had the following comments about IdentiFi Adapt, "With a flood of BYOD gadgets assaulting wireless LANs and the need to ensure a quality user experience, enterprises are looking for a new approach to handle this avalanche of complexity. Separating data and control by bridging traffic simultaneously at the AP and controller under policy control, Enterasys IdentiFi Adapt presents a new SDN use case for Wi-Fi that can help organizations with regulatory compliance for standards such as HIPAA, and enable them to enact new services and policies in a much more rapid manner."

Edited by Alisen Downey

Contributing Writer

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