Software-defined architecture eases WiFi deployment

04 Sep 2015
With software-defined architecture, WiFi deployments of any sort of device become a plug-and-play process and the provisioning of WiFi services becomes fast, seamless and secure.
So says Jean Turgeon, chief technologist and VP for software defined architecture at Avaya, who notes the main challenge for WiFi deployments everywhere is whether or not the infrastructure in place supports not only the existing WiFi needs, but also future deployments.
Software-defined networking is a new technological approach that offers programmable network control over virtual and physical network devices and eliminates multi-layer processes to dynamically changing business needs.
According to recent research by iPass, there are currently 8 611 commercial hotspots in SA. This equates to one hotspot for every 6 155 people in the country. These hotspots are mainly located at retail outlets (3 211), hotels (3 099), and cafes (2 256).
The WiFi Forum SA believes that for SA to have reasonable WiFi coverage, the country needs at least five million new hotspots.
Turgeon believes the nature of services that can be deployed on WiFi today are up to the imagination of the business and it is causing a number of vertical industries to become "smart" and able to deploy any application on any device in the speed of light, as well as in a controlled and secure manner.
Take for example how WiFi is being deployed today in smart school environments, he points out, adding in the age of BYOD, many schools and universities want to make sure these devices are used for education purposes.
"Involving iBeacons using proximity, the beacon is located in the classroom, and as soon as the student enters the classroom using the school or university's mobile app, the student will receive pushed content on his/her device; as soon as the student leaves the class the content disappears," he explains.
"This can also greatly be useful if coupled with wireless solutions as leveraging beacons, students can have certain access to Internet rights as they roam the campus or enter classrooms. Apply this to industries such as retail and hospitality, the number of applications and scenarios are unlimited and can all be designed to deliver shopper and guest experiences that businesses define."
Turgeon believes the South African market is hungry for innovation that works, pointing out businesses are eager to transform but are also cautious on how they go about their transformation.
"Our approach in SA is very much consultative and is based on the ability of our solutions and services teams to hold discovery discussions with IT and business decision makers, identify their challenges and outcomes desired to transform their business, and build tailored solutions that deliver measurable results."

This article appeared in ITWeb on 04 September 2015