NEC, Meru work to bring SDN to enterprise wifi

The US operation of Japanese equipment vendor NEC recently unveiled a partnership with intelligent wifi architecture specialist Meru Networks to collaborate on software defined network (SDN)-enabled unified wired and wireless enterprise access.

Meru caters largely to the education, healthcare, hospitality and enterprise industries and alongside NEC is a member of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Along with the other members both Meru and NEC support conformance in accurately implementing a particular version of OpenFlow – the only globally-recognized specification for SDN.

In terms of this agreement, the two companies are collaborating specifically on support for OpenFlow to enable seamless interoperability between the NEC ProgrammableFlow Networking Suite and Meru 802.11ac intelligent wifi offerings.

Meru said that the BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon and upcoming explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) are pressuring IT departments to become more agile. However, most networks today are being managed using antiquated proprietary Command Line Interfaces (CLI), whereas open-standards-based SDN support simplifies network management and provisioning by enabling greater automation and accelerating the deployment of new applications and services. It also enables application-specific service level agreements and development of third-party applications for network traffic monitoring, location-based services and enhanced security.

Collaborations between telecoms industry stalwarts and vertical industry specialists are becoming more common as wireless becomes the more prevalent access technology worldwide. When recently spoke to Professor Simon Saunders, director of spectrum specialist Real Wireless, which traditionally worked with telcos, he revealed that the customer base for his consultancy is expanding into enterprise territory because “every business needs wireless but most businesses don’t understand it. So we need to decode things both ways between the different communities. Businesses are not sure what the need wireless for or what they need to deliver a specific application. Although we work with operators, vendors and regulators we also get lots of business from wireless users like Wembley Stadium,” he said.

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