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The Benefits of Centralization in Wireless LANs via the
Cisco Unified Wireless Network
This paper addresses the benefits of 802.11 wireless LAN centralization via the Cisco Unified Wireless Network. It
discusses how centralization of wireless LANs (WLANs) delivers advanced features and benefits that are easy to deploy,
scale, and manage. These benefits include ease of deployment, ease of upgrades, reliable connectivity through dynamic
RF management, optimized per-user performance through user load balancing, guest networking, Layer 3 roaming, an
embedded wireless Intrusion Detection System (IDS), location services, voice over IP, lowered total cost of ownership
(TCO), and wired and wireless unification.
Perspective is everything—consider maps. Before high altitude photography, maps were not accurate; they were made of estimates scaled to the
mapped geography. High altitude photography gave cartographers something that they didn’t previously have—perspective. This perspective has
revolutionized the way that we travel; how we view distance, and ultimately how our civilization evolved.
Traditionally, wireless LANs have had a lack of perspective—because each access point operates as a separate node, autonomously configured
with channel and power settings from a static RF plan (generally an RF prediction). While these autonomous access points hear a nearby access
point operating on the same channel, the autonomous access point has no way of determining if the adjacent access point is part of the same
network or a neighboring network. Also, because autonomous access points are “nodal”, scaling to large contiguous, coordinated wireless LANs
and adding higher-level applications presents some challenges.
Consider the wireless requirements and solutions developed for autonomous access point deployments as outlined in Table 1. In some ins