Ruckus Unifies Switch & Wireless Access Points


By: Michael Vizard

Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS (ARRS) company, today announced that it has combined the management of wireless access points and switches under a common management framework.

A SmartZoneOS 5 release marks the first time any networking infrastructure vendor has been able to accomplish that feat, claims Mark Davis, senior director of product and segment marketing at Ruckus.

“It’s never been done before,” says Davis.

The capability was accomplished by extending the operating system Ruckus originally developed for its network controller used to manage wireless access points to the switches it added to its portfolio that were originally built by Brocade, says Davis. A single network controller cluster can now scale to 450,000 clients, claims Ruckus.

That capability will substantially reduce the cost of managing a networking environment made up of wireless and wired networks by eliminating the need for two separate management consoles, says Davis.

Potential benefits to unifying network infrastructure management include reduced configuration errors; automated discovery; reduced network software and hypervisor license fees; reduced server costs; and savings on training.

Networking teams will no longer need to engage in what Davis refers to as command line gymnastics to integrate the management of wireless access points and switches, adds Davis.

Davis notes that Ruckus has always included well-documented RESTful and streaming application programming interfaces (APIs) that make it simpler for third-party management frameworks to be extended to support both Ruckus access points and now, by extension, switches.

It’s not clear just yet to what degree the ability to manage switches and wireless access points under a common console might convince IT organizations to consolidate networking infrastructure vendors. Many IT organizations have extensive legacy investments in multiple consoles. But many IT organizations are becoming more sensitive to operational costs, especially small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) that rely more on IT generalists rather than networking specialists.

That sensitivity also coincides with increased reliance on wireless networks in place of traditional wired networks. Wired networks are not going away any time soon. But it’s reasonable to assume that in many cases network management consoles for wireless networks will one day soon become ascendant in the enterprise.

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