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Many IT organizations are understandably skeptical about wireless. The legacy microcell systems installed in most enterprises have a reputation for complexity, poor security and lackluster performance. In a challenging business climate, few organizations want their IT departments to build out a new edge network simply for users' convenience.
From Microcell to Virtual Cell
Most enterprise systems are still stuck in the second or third generation known as microcell, in which access points act like separate Ethernet hubs. Each has its own radio channel, its own coverage area and its own much larger interference zone in which it disrupts connectivity for others. The only way to simulate widespread coverage is to build overlapping microcells on different channels, an architecture based on cell phone systems of the 1980s. Wireless clients must guess which access point to connect to, then contend with other client devices for access to it.
Wireless LAN Virtualization is different. Using Meru's advanced radio technology, multiple access points are pooled together into a Virtual Cell: a seamless blanket of coverage on a single channel that acts like a switch backplane. For extra capacity or reliability, multiple channels ensure that clients always have multiple connectivity options.
From Physical Port to Virtual Port
Each device connects to the Virtual Cell backplane through its own Virtual Port: a private link personalized to fit that device's exact capabilities and its users' role. Like an Ethernet port, the Virtual Port is dedicated to just one client, eliminating contention and improving security. Unlike an Ethernet port, it can be customized and provisioned on demand. It also travels with the device throughout the network, ensuring constant connectivity.
Like other forms of virtualization, the Virtual Port frees applications from the limitations of the physical infrastructure, abstracting away the details of radio frequency engineering. For users, that freedom means mobility. For IT, it means flexibility, a network easier to align with changing business needs.