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Cloud-Managed Wireless Networks

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Cloud-managed wireless networks


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  1. Introduction

Nowadays, advanced technology and innovations including Cloud and Big Data are influencing the business operations and structure of the Organization. One of the major network solution i.e. increasingly adopted by the Small and medium companies to Large Organizations, and companies in remote areas is the Cloud managed wireless networks. Lin, Shao, Zhu, Wang and Sabhikhi claimed that cloud managed wireless networks are useful to differentiate the hardware and software for various wireless services and standards, and business models, and also to achieve the new requirements of the network system to have high speed, accessibility and advanced features (Lin, Shao, Zhu, Wang, & Sabhikhi, 2010). The major benefits due to the cloud managing wireless networks are to the small and remote branches with low capability of deploying and managing Infrastructure by using VPN.  Bushehrian, Emami and Javidan reported that integrating the Wireless sensor networks with the cloud enables the user to access the sensor derived data at high speed and with less difficulties than the usual network procedures (Bushehrian, Emami, & Javidan, 2014).  Cloud networking solution enables the user with an appreciative plug-n-play deployment model where it shows much impact in the Organizations with limited IT resources. It is the most emerging technology facilitating the organization to store their data without any deploying of costly infrastructure.

  1. Architecture

Cloud Wi-Fi architectures decentralizes the controller functions which is an advantage for the distributed networks to control the entire network operations or services from the cloud. The Cisco Meraki Cloud Managed Architecture to simplify the deployment of wireless network is shown in the below image and using the below architecture, access points are managed from a cloud controller. According to Cisco Networking Academy, Cloud based wireless network reduces the complexity and costs and enhances the ability to centralized management of various access points. The main elements of Cisco Meraki cloud Managed architecture are Cisco MR Cloud managed wireless access points, Meraki Cloud Controller and Meraki’s Dashboard based on web (Cisco Networking Academy, 2014).

[pic 1]

Fig 1: Cloud Managed Wireless Access Point

[pic 2]

        Fig 2: Meraki Cloud Managed Wireless Access Points

Burton observed that there is no alternative solution given by the Hardware controller to reduce the demand of Cloud managed wireless networks (Burton, 2012). The architecture of using the Cloud managed wireless network solutions for the remote sites is shown in the figure. Most of the organizations are interested in adopting the Cloud based network solutions for remote areas where providing the network using traditional methods is quite difficult. VPN (Virtual Private Network) is connected with the Cloud and it provides secure and speed internet access for the remote areas. The business operations from remote sites will be well connected with Headquarters and other branch offices.

[pic 3]

        Fig3: Cloud Wi-Fi architecture (Burton, 2012)

The evolving technology is influencing the business services and also network structure in the Organization. It has taken much time to provide the 2G internet for the world and most of them considered it as biggest achievement. But, observing the innovations during last few years, people and organizations are highly using the technologies and enjoying the benefits of those innovations. The 4G is the present technology used for the internet access and the architecture of the 4G Wireless networks over wireless network cloud. The components involving in the architecture include PSTN (Public Switching Telephone Network), Service Network, Internet, Cloud and Base stations. Cloud is used for enhancing the effectiveness of 4G wireless network and to provide the quick accessibility and speed internet.

[pic 4]

Fig4: 4G Wireless Network over Wireless Network Cloud

  1. Advantages and disadvantages

  1. Advantages

Cloud Managed wireless networks are increasingly having demand in the market, because of their effective and excellent features that encourages the customers to adopt the system. Some of the major advantages are

  • Cloud managed wireless networks consists of high capacity solutions with fast connections, broad coverage and more user capacity
  • They offer deeper network insights for the administrators enabling networking management system and administrators can access the application usage policies and excels the network security and end-user experience.
  • It facilitates the multi site management and it eliminates the complexity and cost involved in traditional methods of controlling wireless networks. The complete network structure including WAN, wireless LAN and LAN will be under a single roof and it is easy to control entire network from the Cloud managed wireless networks.
  1. Disadvantages

The increase in technology is enabling the people to perform their tasks at ease, but, creating the threats and issues, and some of the common and major disadvantages are

  • The major disadvantage of using cloud managed wireless solutions is lack of choice for configuration management when the services are down or unavailable (McNamee).
  • The system making decisions on balance the load, bandwidth management across radios, intrusion detection and prevention system and adjustments to the power and channel will be static and ceased, when the cloud service is interrupted.
  • The major supporting process to resolve the network issues i.e. Troubleshooting is tough to do with the cloud managed wireless networks. The entire infrastructure is handled by the Cloud provider and it is difficult perform the troubleshooting process.
  • Cloud managed wireless networking solutions stop the user from accessing the present statistics and network reports on daily and monthly basis, when the cloud network is interrupted.
  1. Key service providers

The two major vendors who dominated the business space by forecasting the demand of cloud managed wireless networks are Aerohive and Meraki. Scarpati claimed that when the Cisco acquired the Meraki in 2012, there is an increasing demand for the cloud managed wireless networks and many vendors entered the market during last two years (Scarpati). For instance, Aruba, Xirrus, HP, Ruckus Wireless and Motorola Solutions launched the Cloud managed wireless services in last year. According to Meyer, Aruba Networks entered the market with a new cloud managed wireless network solution offering ensured cellular and wired failover alternatives, if the WAN link is disturbed (Meyer, 2013).



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