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Adtran Improves Wi-Fi Client Management

Mobile devices pretty much do their own thing when it comes to connecting to wireless LANs, with the processes for roaming and associating with wireless access points (WAPs) dependent on the client software. To gain control, IT can look to Adtran's cloud-managed Bluesocket virtual wireless LAN solution, which enables a way to manage the scores of devices accessing enterprise and campus networks.

The solution includes Adtran's Bluesocket 3040 Series 802.11ac Wave 2 APs and new Wi-Fi band steering technology called DynamicSteering.

Using existing band steering without any coordination of steering events with clients often results in oversaturated 5-GHz spectrum or the slow initial association with poor connections or no connection at all, Ken Fernandes, product manager, wireless solutions at Adtran, told me. Proprietary antenna beamforming approaches increase signal-to-noise ratio, which in turn can cause sticky clients -- otherwise known as clients that won't roam. These issues result in an increase in help desk calls, decreased network efficiency, and poor user experience -- and more time spent re-evaluating the wireless LAN.

The DynamicSteering technology solves these problems with intelligent monitoring and by automatically associating clients to the appropriate radio on the AP. This methodology delivers more consistent and predictable performance and helps to eliminate sticky clients.

Adtran also offers a dedicated scanning/security radio for an enhanced customer experience and multigigabit Ethernet ports on its new Bluesocket 3040 APs. Enterprises can leverage existing wired infrastructure today and provide support for multigigabit throughput in the future, a key requirement for realizing the full potential of Wave 2-compliant Wi-Fi devices.

"This capability enables better network performance and end-user experience, but the true value lies in the time savings for network management and help desk resources," Ken said.

I think about this in relation to a recent experience I had with online testing in a campus where clients were dropping associations because of oversaturation and location. I had to relocate a WAP to a classroom to create a better coverage blanket so that students weren't disrupted while taking online tests, which causes disruption in focus and can extend the testing period.

These improvements that Adtran provide are definitive process improvements that will bring value to the enterprise and campus wireless LANs.

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