Gartner recently unveiled their latest Critical Capabilities report for Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure, which including 16 vendors evaluated on six criteria. The vendors provide some or all of the core hardware and software for wired access network switches, network service applications and WLAN, such as wireless access points and virtual controllers.
Gartner defines Critical capabilities as “attributes that differentiate products/services in a class in terms of their quality and performance.”The analyst evaluated vendors’ effectiveness in meeting customer needs involving on:
- Unified wired and WLAN accessed through a “single pane of glass”
- Wired-only access network refresh or new build, with requirements either for a wired-only network or for expanding- or refreshing-only wired switching
- WLAN-only refresh or new build, reflecting requirements not only for the wireless elements of a unified access network but also for a “wireless-first” environment where the WLAN is the primary or predominant first connection to the enterprise network
- Performance stringent applications, for deployments that require high availability or must support latency-sensitive applications, using either a cloud-based or on-premises management solution
- Multivendor networking environment to address enterprises that must manage a mix of vendor infrastructure
- Remote branch office with corporate HQ to address organizations with widely distributed offices in addition to a central corporate office
The Critical Capabilities research differs from the “Magic Quadrant for the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure” by focusing on product and service capabilities, rather than the vendor’s position, vision and execution in the market for enterprise networks.
This year’s report included:
Below are some key takeaways from this year’s WLAN Critical Capabilities Report.
- Vendor capabilities can vary widely between the most prevalent six use cases for enterprise wired and wireless LAN deployments.
- Network service applications (such as access control, policy enforcement and location services) are a key aspect of determining a vendor’s fit for your use case, versus the “speeds and feeds” of standards-based switches and wireless access points.
- Consolidation among large infrastructure vendors has placed some established access network product portfolios under new ownership, potentially changing ongoing enterprise customer service, support and product integration.
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