WLAN 2.0
The death of the controller
  Patrice PUICHAUD – patrice@aerohive.com

                                          ...
Key dates of WLAN history



802.11-1997                                  802.11g        802.11e            802.11k,r     ...
From WLAN 1.0 to WLAN 2.0

                                                                                               ...
WLAN 1.0: a centralized architecture

    Components of a traditional WLAN infrastructure

                              ...
The bygone era of the controller

   Controller$: a centralized architecture in
    a distributed network                ...
802.11n is killing the controller

    Let’s do some math!
           – Vendor data:

                   Max. #          ...
WLAN 1.1: distributed…
                     …but not too much

 2 different solutions for distributed networks:
        –...
WLAN 2.0: distributed architecture

                                                                                      ...
WLAN 2.0: similare to wired LAN

   Cooperative control: a distributed
    architecture in a distributed network         ...
What they say…

            Vincent Cerf – VP Chief Internet Evangelist Google / Father of Internet
            “Part of m...
http://www.aerohive.com


                          Confidential 2010
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Aerohive - The death of the controller

  1. 1. WLAN 2.0 The death of the controller Patrice PUICHAUD – patrice@aerohive.com Confidential 2010
  2. 2. Key dates of WLAN history 802.11-1997 802.11g 802.11e 802.11k,r 802.11ac/ad 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz QoS Radio mgmt, Wi-Fi Gigabit 2 Mbps LWAPP 54 Mbps WMM Roaming 6 GHz, 60 GHz RFC 5412 1997 2003 2005 2008 2012 2001 1999 2004 2009 802.11a 802.11b 802.11i 802.11n 5 GHz 2.4 GHz Security 2,4 and 5 GHz 54 Mbps 11 Mbps WPA/WPA2 600 Mbps WLAN 0.9 WLAN 1.0 WLAN 2.0 Autonomous Access Points Coordinated Access Points Centralized Control (controllers) Distributed Control WLAN 2.0 – The death of the controller 2 Confidential 2010
  3. 3. From WLAN 1.0 to WLAN 2.0 WLAN 2.0 Productivity - Client explosion Flexibility - Mobile applications Mobility - 10 x Bandwidth (.11n) Applications - Voice / FMCL - Location service Users - Ubiquitous coverage - Ethernet replacement WLAN 1.0 - Convenience Wi-Fi Problems - Guest Access - Security, Mgmt & Mobility - Nomadic Users - Single Points of Failure - Scanners / Voice - Performance Limitations - Determinism Problems Market trends: the overall WLAN enterprise market is growing - Scalability rapidly, doubling in size within the - Linear growth - Security next 3 years as enterprise look to - Management increase mobility and productivity. - Cost WLAN 2.0 – The death of the controller 3 Confidential 2010
  4. 4. WLAN 1.0: a centralized architecture  Components of a traditional WLAN infrastructure FW Management $ VPN and other applications Management Location service IDS Licence$ Voice and Module$ Mesh Controller$ AP … Central controller$ Branch controller$ « Thin » Access Points Indoor Outdoor Mesh Points Remote AP WLAN 2.0 – The death of the controller 4 Confidential 2010
  5. 5. The bygone era of the controller  Controller$: a centralized architecture in a distributed network AD/LDAP Distribution Accss STP  Limits of branch office solutions: IPBX – Hybrid mode/Remote AP – Multiplication of small controllers Core  Limits of central controllers: – Engineering (capacity planning) – Limited capacity (#APs, #traffic), nonlinear growth – Overprovisoning Campus – Overlay network – Bottleneck – Single point of failure WAN – Complex H.A. / failover (stateful ?) Internet – Increased latency/jitter (u-turn) Local server Control xDSL Branch Switch Branch Office User traffic/Data WLAN 2.0 – The death of the controller 5 Confidential 2010
  6. 6. 802.11n is killing the controller  Let’s do some math! – Vendor data: Max. # Max. # FW AES-CCMP # of Max. FW / Max. AES / Controller of APs of Users throughput throughput clients client client 6000 series 8192 32768 80 Gbps 16 Gbps 16384 5 Mbps 1 Mbps 3000 series 512 2048 4 Gbps 4 Gbps 1024 4 Mbps 4 Mbps 2400 series 48 768 2 Gbps 400 Mbps 96 21 Mbps 4 Mbps 800 series 16 256 1 Gbps 200 Mbps 32 32 Mbps 6,25 Mbps 600 series 64 512 2 Gbps 1,6 Gbs 128 16 Mbps 12,8 Mbps 200 series 8 100 1 Gbps 200 Mbps 16 64 Mbps 12,5 Mbps – Assumptions: 4 Wi-Fi clients connected Paradoxically, the best simultaneously on half of the access points performances are given by multiplying small – Reminder: theoretical maximum throughput per controllers… 802.11n client (3x3:2) 300 Mbps Moore’s law? WLAN 2.0 – The death of the controller 6 Confidential 2010
  7. 7. WLAN 1.1: distributed… …but not too much  2 different solutions for distributed networks: – Multiplication of branch (local) controllers – Hybrid mode with central controllers: • Better known as: – H-REAP (Hybrid Remote Edge Access Point) – RAP (Remote Access Point) • Local forwarding of (some) user traffic to save WLAN links • Controller is required to take decision and dictates the AP action • Traffic switched locally does not benefit from controller features • Many functions are inoperative if the access point is disconnected from the controller: – Mesh, Captive Web Portal, Authentication (802.1X), FW, RF management, roaming,… backup SSID required,… • Hybrid approach, complex to setup and operate WLAN 2.0 – The death of the controller 7 Confidential 2010
  8. 8. WLAN 2.0: distributed architecture Reduction of:  802.11n, mobility and mission critical applications on the - Components - Complexity WLAN networks are pushing for a distributed architecture, - Failures - Costs simplified, more integrated. FW $ VPN SW Config. & Policy RF Planner IDS Management Location service Voice Guest Management Reporting Mesh AP WLAN 2.0 … Heat maps SLA Central controller$ Branch controller$ Management RF FW QoS VPN Mesh SLA Radius WIDS PPSK Indoor Outdoor Mesh Points Remote AP CWP Indoor Outdoor WLAN 2.0 – The death of the controller 8 Confidential 2010
  9. 9. WLAN 2.0: similare to wired LAN  Cooperative control: a distributed architecture in a distributed network AD/LDAP Distribution Access STP  Suitable for all types of networks: IPBX – Centralized, high density – Branch/Remote offices, SMB Core  Distributed control provides: – Virtually unlimited capacity (x #AP) – Flexible deployments (linear, scalable) – No single point of failure Campus – Inherent stateful resilience – Best path forwarding (voice, video) – Policy and QoS enforcement at the edge WAN – Natural integration into Ethernet Internet networks Local server – Cost effective WLAN networks Control xDSL Branch switch Branch Office User traffic/Data WLAN 2.0 – The death of the controller 9 Confidential 2010
  10. 10. What they say… Vincent Cerf – VP Chief Internet Evangelist Google / Father of Internet “Part of my motivation when I was working at the Internet was exactly to build a system that did not have any central control recall that this was being supported by the US defense department, and one of the things that the defense department wants is highly reliable and resilient systems. One way to achieve that is to not have any central place that could be attacked and destroyed in therefore interfere with the operation of the net. So the consequence of this, I would say decentralized architecture is that it is highly resilient to a variety of impairments and in consequence of that it's very hard for anybody to shut the internet down entirely.” (Ref. : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p005c79p) Bob O’Hara – Co-Founder & CEO Airespace / Board of Advisors Aerohive “The advantages to fully distributed system are the ability to have a much more reliable system. You can have any single point network fails and as long as the radio coverage is sufficient to cover the areas lost by that failed device, you still got full services, full connectivity.” (Ref. : http://www.aerohive.com/webcast/AH_Ep1.wmv) Gartner – Magic Quadrand for Wireless LAN Infrastructure 2009 “Aerohive is an appropriate solution for enterprises with many small or branch offices or any small and midsize business (SMB) with its structured communication solution, integrated security and policy management, which does not require a physical controller. The solution should also be considered for enterprises that need the high availability achieved by Aerohive's meshing functionality. With failover and security functionality built into the access point mesh, and no single point of failure (the controller), Aerohive's solution supports a high degree of redundancy.” WLAN 2.0 – The death of the controller 10 Confidential 2010
  11. 11. http://www.aerohive.com Confidential 2010

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