August 10, 2011, 12:32 PM — Enterprise Wi-Fi vendor Bluesocket has been bought by Adtran, which plans to hammer Bluesocket's "virtualized" wireless LAN like a stake into the hearts of its WLAN rivals, Cisco and Aruba Networks.
Adtran is betting that enterprises making the massive shift to pervasive 802.11n WLANs, will also want to add a virtual wireless architecture to their existing, VMware-based virtualized services. With Bluesocket's approach, customers can eliminate the costs and overhead of hardware controllers, and be sure of having the backend resources to cope with the flood of Wi-Fi devices seeking access, according to Adtran.
Announced yesterday, the acquisition was completed Aug. 4. Adtran executives had concluded earlier that a WLAN product offering was a strategic necessity and evaluated a number of possible acquisitions to obtain one. They settled on Bluesocket to leverage the rising tide of 802.11n network upgrades and offer a virtualized service that would fit easily into enterprise data centers, which are a VMware stronghold.
Adtran declined to comment on the details of the transaction. Bluesocket now is part of Adtran's enterprise division, but the product line will also be available to the company's service provider division.
Instead of talking to a conventional WLAN hardware controller, Bluesocket's 802.11n Wi-Fi access points talk to a software application that loads into a VMware hypervisor. Like a controller, this "virtual WLAN controller" centralizes management tasks, such as configuration, monitoring, policy setting, security and trouble-shooting. But unlike a controller, Bluesocket's software also centralizes system-level control tasks, which actually carry out the nitty-gritty work of such things as security, scheduling and policy enforcement.
[Network World blogger, and wireless consultant Craig Mathias explores virtual WLANs in a whitepaper, "Rethinking Wireless LAN Infrastructure: Virtualization is the Key" which Bluesocket hosts on its website.]