Features, Insight, Interviews

Optimising Wireless Technology

Shaheen APM, Solutions Manager, Middle East and Africa at Allied Telesis tells Anita Joseph how the company, a leading provider of hardware and software products, is redefining enterprise networking with the first-of-its-kind hybrid wireless LAN solution that maximises both mobility and bandwidth. 

Can you explain the “hybrid wireless LAN solution” and what inspired its development? What sets it apart from other wireless solutions? 

Allied Telesis has introduced the world’s first hybrid WLAN solution, designed to optimise wireless networking in enterprise environments. This innovative solution allows simultaneous multi-channel and single-channel WLAN operations using a single access point (AP) design. Network administrators can tailor their network to their specific needs, combining the performance advantages of both architectures. 

For instance, in a traditional office setup with four access points, all operating on the same channel, this represents the single-channel architecture, which is relatively uncommon. In contrast, the multi-cell architecture employs four access points, each on different channels or frequencies. This eliminates interference and ensures greater bandwidth availability when multiple devices are connected. While this multi-cell approach offers benefits, it can lead to disconnections and disruptions as devices move between access points. 

This is where our hybrid solution comes into play. By combining the strengths of both architectures, we offer a unique and comprehensive solution. With multiple radios in our access points, we enable network segmentation. Stationary devices in an office can benefit from the multi-cell architecture, guaranteeing higher bandwidth. Meanwhile, mobile devices in constant motion can utilise the single-cell architecture for uninterrupted connectivity. This hybrid approach maximizes both mobility and bandwidth, catering to a wide range of user needs. 

How will this new technology impact businesses and organizations that rely on wireless networks, and what specific benefits can they expect from its implementation? 

This hybrid wireless LAN solution holds great promise for businesses and organisations that heavily depend on wireless networks, especially in sectors like IoT, manufacturing, and logistics. In environments where devices are constantly in motion, such as warehouses with automated vehicles, this technology can significantly improve efficiency. 

Consider an example in a vehicle manufacturing plant that uses automated guided vehicles (AGVs). These AGVs move materials across the factory, but with a multi-cell architecture, they could experience disconnections as they move between access points. This disrupts operations and affects efficiency. 

With the hybrid solution, such disruptions are minimized. The AGVs can smoothly seamlessly traverse through the coverage area of multiple access points without any disconnection or reconnection, as from the AGV’s perspective it is not seeing the multiple AP’s but a single Access point which has a very vast coverage area.  Allied Telesis uses the term “Channel Blanket” to describe this.  

This technology’s advantages become increasingly evident as more devices and sensors rely on wireless networks in industrial settings. 

Moreover, Allied Telesis offers a one-stop solution for all networking needs. We provide a wide range of network infrastructure components, ensuring seamless integration and interoperability. This eliminates the complexity often associated with integrating solutions from multiple vendors and enhances the overall user experience. 

How does the hybrid wireless LAN solution address security and data privacy concerns, especially when managing different types of wireless clients or devices? 

In terms of security, the hybrid wireless LAN solution maintains robust standards and protocols, whether it operates in single-cell or multi-cell mode. We comply with industry requirements, including IEEE standards and encryption and authentication protocols such as WPA2 and WPA3. Additionally, we support features like RADIUS authentication and captive portals for enhanced security. 

One unique security feature we offer is the Autonomous Management Framework (AMF) Security. The Allied Telesis AMF Security (AMF-Sec) Controller is a powerful security solution with an intelligent, fully-featured SDN controller. With AMF Security, we extend our capabilities to integrate with leading security vendors, including endpoint security, SIEM, antivirus, and firewall providers.  

When these third-party security solutions identify a threat, they communicate with AMF Security, which has comprehensive control over the network. In response, AMF Security can isolate or disconnect the affected device or port, whether it’s wired or wireless. This rapid response capability is vital for mitigating security threats effectively. 

Overall, the Hybrid Wireless LAN solution not only offers flexibility and performance but also maintains a high level of security to safeguard sensitive data and protect against emerging threats. 

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