What is Controller-Less Wi-Fi? Had You Heard About This Before?

What is the controller-less Wi-Fi? Had You Heard About This Before? Not everybody might need the benefits gained by moving a control plane out of a central controller for wireless access points.

The enterprises no more need to install dedicated WiFi controllers in their data centres because this function can be mimicked by distributing access points or moving your work to the cloud. But, it is not for everyone.

Controller-Less Wi-Fi

What Does Controller-less Wi-Fi Mean?

Don’t think that the term Controller-less means that there is no control plane, it is yet there, but it is just that it is no more located in a dedicated device.

For enterprise-level WLAN usage the conventional data-centre deployment of a controller is no more a necessity, as stated by Farpoint Group Principal Craig Mathias, he told that controller is a piece of functionality that is an overhead though he doesn’t mean that the controller itself is overhead but using a separate hardware to look after that controller is really overhead, this has become an obsolete tech.

That time had become old when Enterprise level WLAN implementations meant ‘fat’ access points with each of them owning their controller. The drawback of this technology was that all the controllers had to be configured manually separately, usually; this would be a headache for an enterprise of considerable size.

The controller can manage dozens or hundreds of Access Points from a single place, and this ability is so crucial, but now the same task is done by networking pros without using a dedicated appliance which is a significant step.

Why should you consider controller-less WiFi?

The powerful hardware present in the modern APs is used by the distributed controller functionality to create virtual controllers, while the control plane is handled from the service provider’s remote servers in the cloud-based products.

Now almost all the major WLAN vendors have a controller-less option, and the popularity is ever increasing. According to ZK Research’s principal Zeus Kerravala, Customers are looking out for choices, and that is why most of the vendors are offering different options. Controller-less solutions might have been trending nowadays, but if we look at sales of Cisco, which is primarily dominated by Meraki (Cloud-Based).

The issue has both faces –neither the architecture has an undeniable lead in performance or efficiency in cost over the other. Some enterprises yet think that the traditional controller system is the best for them.

Controller-less WiFi Drawbacks

Major fallback that the cloud-based WiFi controller faces is, for example, vendor lock-in-without the cloud service, all the access points will stop functioning, and the cost for upgrade and re-architect will be high either for an on-premise controller or a different controller-less service.

Kerravala suggests that once you choose to go with cloud controller functionality than you better, be sure that this is the path you wanted to take because you are never coming back.

There are specific differences between all controller-less options like Cisco’s Meraki has a simple, intuitive interface, but the feature set is limited, on the other hand, AeroHive offers greater control but behind a complicated UI.

Hence it is the company’s call how technical are they and what type of control they are looking for.

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