How would like to individually manage your wireless network consisting of 6, 10, 20 access points? Maybe you already do? Cumbersome and not practical in today’s environment.
Time to bring in the Wireless Controller – the heart of the wireless network. The controller contains the features necessary to manage, control, monitor and support the wireless network. Typically management can be configured via a web interface or via SNMP. (Simple Network Management Protocol).
Typical WLAN controller features:
Centralized Management: The functions of lightweight access points are managed at the controller. Functions such as signal channel, access point power and data rates. Additional proprietary features include configuration settings and the ability to install firmware updates. That is the ability to roll out software updates to all the access points from one point of management. No more sneaker net for rebooting devices, no logging into each individual AP to monitor and install updates. No more mixed and matched firmware across all your AP’s. Easily maintain all the OS updates to the AP’s.
These management features include monitoring network status pages providing for a quick review of network uptime, usage, connected users, access point status, errors, rogue AP’s, bandwidth usage and security notifications. Basically the status of all the WLAN devices.
WLAN profiles: Different groups or clients can co-exist with separate profiles including separate SSID’s, security settings and parameters all in the same WLAN
User management: Allows the configuration of roll based policies. Specify users individually or in groups to define bandwidth usage, duration of connection, security methods etc.
Layer 2 security: Manage WEP, WPA, WPA2 security settings.
Captive portal: Typically used at Hot Spots as a guest portal for guest login pages, guest authentication and sometimes as a web page to list the Hot Spot specials, announcements, neighborhood items of attraction, coupons etc.
Load Balancing – Fast roaming: Load balance network clients to access points and to facilitate seamless roaming. (roaming – the client is walking through the property) fast roaming will managing the client and hand off the connection from access point to access point without a data interruption.
Dynamic RF Spectrum management: The controller and access points can accumulate RF information and make RF adjustments to the network specifically looking at correcting channel interference and access power requirements.
Bandwidth Management: Set rate control limits (upload and download restrictions) for each WLAN connected device
Reporting: Generate reports and or email notification on network usage, stats, uptime etc.
The WLAN controller has become the must have item to optimize your wireless network with high performance and management.