What is Cloud-Based WiFi?

Until recently, businesses typically purchased, designed, implemented and managed their own wireless LANs (WLANs). Now, businesses are increasingly looking to managed, cloud-based WiFi services.

In a cloud-based WiFi solution, the access points (APs) are often referred to as “controller-less.” Here’s a brief description of related terms:

  • Wireless Access Points – A wireless access point (AP) is a device that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network using WiFi standards.
  • Controller-based Access Points – A controller-based AP uses a physical device that communicates with each AP at the same time. It eliminates the need to individual manage every single AP. Instead, you can quickly and easily configure the controller and then have the settings pushed out to all the APs.
  • Controller-less Access Points – The current trend is to replace hardware-based controllers with cloud-based solutions that centralize management and policy enforcement.


The Evolution of WiFi Network Technology

To fully understand cloud-based WiFi and its benefits, it helps to understand the evolution of wireless network technology:

  1. Traditionally, autonomous access Points were manually and individually configured. This architecture worked well for very small operations. However, managing this type of configuration is often too cumbersome and complex for larger businesses.
  1. Controller-based architecture put the wireless management functions in hardware-based equipment. Instead of having network intelligence residing within the individual APs, the controller became the centralized wireless intelligence. The APs’ data traffic is tunneled to the controller. Controllers streamlined AP management and reduced network complexity.
  1. Controller-less WiFi eliminates the hardware-based controller from the network architecture. The data plane remains in the AP. However, the management plane resides in a central console. Controller-less APs represent a major technology innovation. APs are still managed from one interface, but without having to add a physical controller.
  1. Cloud-based WiFi uses a controller-less architecture that separates the control and data planes.


Cloud-based WiFi Addresses Business Challenges

Cloud-based control and management allows you to easily configure, manage and deploy wireless APs. Because cloud-based WiFi is delivered by a service provider, your business isn’t burdened with the tasks of infrastructure management, security measures, maintenance and upgrades.

When it comes to wireless networks, businesses are typically faced with many challenges, including the need for:

  • Reliable, always available wireless service with no single points of failure
  • Dedicated IT staff with the required expertise to install, maintain and support advanced wireless capabilities
  • Strong endpoint security and authentication.
  • Scalability that allows you to grow your network easily and cost-effectively across multiple locations
  • Efficient monitoring of wireless network functions
  • Cost savings in hardware, IT staffing, network management and total cost of ownership

Cloud-based WiFi solutions address these challenges and more. By working with a managed WiFi service provider, your business can receive more robust wireless capabilities, better technical expertise and support, and lower costs compared to many on-premises business WiFi networks.

To learn more about business WiFi solutions, download FairPoint Communications’ white paper titled “How Virtual Wireless LAN Solutions Can Help Transform Business Operations.”

To arrange a complimentary, no-obligation consultation or a demo, please contact us, or call 1-866-984-3001 today.

Bob is the Product Manager responsible for Hosted PBX at FairPoint Communications, a leading provider of advanced communications technology in northern New England and 14 other states across the U.S.