Wi-Fi has evolved so much over the years, it has become indispensable for all types of businesses – regardless of size. There are several advantages in having seamless Wi-Fi access, both for the business and the customers it serves. A responsive Wi-Fi network makes customers happy. And happy customers usually spend more. For business employees, easy and broad Wi-Fi access encourages productivity and collaboration, which means efficiency and more profitable results.
When deciding which wireless LAN solution to choose for your business, it is important to keep in mind that they come in two flavors for two deployment types:
- “Small deployment”, for a mono-site deployment with access points spread over a single broadcast domain (VLAN) and operating in a common RF environment
- “Large deployment”, for a multi-site deployment with access points spread over multiple broadcast domains (VLAN) that may operate in different RF environments
The Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess® Stellar WLAN solution fully complies with this requirement and it can be deployed in three distinct ways:
- Stellar Wi-Fi Express, which is intended for smaller deployments with up to 64 APs in a single standalone cluster
- Stellar Wi-Fi Enterprise, which is scalable up to 4000 APs today. In this deployment model, the Alcatel-Lucent OmniVista™ 2500 (OV2500) Network Management System (NMS) helps centralize the management and configuration of all APs for maximum scalability.
- Stellar Wi-Fi Cloud, enabled by Alcatel-Lucent OmniVista Cirrus (OV Cirrus) cloud platform, which helps deliver zero-touch, cloud-enabled management including reporting and configuration of all APs. The platform also offers a managed service of multiple tenants.
Stellar Wi-Fi Express
OmniAccess Stellar W-Fi Express is a self-configuring cluster of up to 64 APs. In addition, OmniAccess Stellar WLAN Access Points default to operate in Wi-Fi Express mode in a cluster architecture. This provides simplified plug-and-play deployments.
A secure web interface manages and configures the cluster, or AP-Group. This is a wizard-driven configuration process that provides the WLAN network the power of distributed intelligence. It also has integrated guest management accessible through a complete captive portal feature and has the same advanced radio management and security features like intrusion detection/prevention capabilities.
The OmniAccess Stellar Express cluster architecture ensures simplified and quick deployment. Once the configuration wizard configures the first AP, the remaining APs in the network will come up automatically with updated configuration. This ensures that the whole network is operational within a few minutes.
In summary, the main features of Wi-Fi Express are:
- Self-managed standalone cluster
- Integrated secure Web managed
- Wizard driven configuration
- Integrated guest captive portal
- Distributed intelligence control
- Self-configured AP cluster for up to 64 APs
Stellar Wi-Fi Enterprise
The OmniAccess Stellar Wi-Fi Enterprise mode is ideal when there are more than 64 APs needed, or a multi-site deployment with site specific RF environments (for example, specific country codes in the case of an international deployment) is envisioned with centralized management as a requirement.
In this case, access points are managed as one or more AP groups, a logical grouping of one or more access points with similar settings, by OmniVista 2500 NMS.
OmniVista 2500 is a unified management platform for LAN/WLAN and provides user friendly workflows for Unified Access along with an integrated Unified Policy Authentication Manager (UPAM). This provides MAC authentication, 802.1x (which secures authentication strategy and policy enforcement for employees), guest access, and BYOD. In addition, it can interface as a proxy with external radius or AD-LDAP authentication database.
Moreover, the Stellar Enterprise mode offers advanced features such as:
- Deep Packet Inspection capabilities providing real-time classification and policy control of flows at the application level
- Floor plan/ heat map for pre-deployment wireless site planning and live visual on RF coverage post deployment
Stellar Wi-Fi Cloud
Lastly, OmniVista Cirrus is a cloud platform delivering enterprise-grade features and cloud simplicity, security and scale. Further, in Cloud mode, the cloud-based OmniVista Cirrus NMS manages and provisions Stellar Wi-Fi access points.
OmniVista Cirrus offers an easy to deploy, effective way to manage and monitor Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise switches and Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess Stellar access point infrastructure. Similar to OmniVista 2500 in Wi-Fi Enterprise mode, it provides advanced policy capabilities for guest access and BYOD.
OmniVista Cirrus is a subscription-based service, facilitating alignment with new business imperatives. In addition, ease of purchasing, provisioning and ongoing daily operations are at the core of OmniVista Cirrus.
This facilitates digital transformation by providing a quick response to new business needs without high up-front costs or complex infrastructure changes or software deployments. Moreover, shifting to a cloud-based network management solution with OmniVista Cirrus can simplify digital transformation. Finally, It reduces cost and administrative IT burden.
The importance of recognizing the differences
The three deployment modes: Wi-Fi Express, Enterprise and Cloud, were designed to serve different types of businesses to drive productivity and success.