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May 2015 Vol 6 / No. 4

Will 802.11ac speeds redefine network architectures?

After months of anticipation, the first 802.11ac Wave 2 access points are hitting the market, ushering in the era of multi-gigabit speeds on wireless LANs.

This second and final phase of the latest Wi-Fi standard boasts a theoretical maximum throughput of nearly 7 Gbps, up from 1.3 Gbps in Wave 1. Although the reality is that few enterprises will see the upper limits of these 802.11ac speeds anywhere outside a tightly controlled environment like a testing lab, Wave 2 will still dramatically boost the capabilities of enterprise WLANs.

At the same time, such a significant increase in bandwidth cannot happen in a vacuum. In this issue of Network Evolution, learn how the newest 802.11ac speeds will likely affect enterprise network architectures -- from switching to power to cabling and more. Also, hear from network engineers who have Wave 1 access points deployed in their networks today and who share their experiences using the first generation of the standard.

Also in this issue, we dive into the emerging world of orchestrating Layer 4-7 network services. The word orchestration typically conjures thoughts of clouds and virtual machines, but enterprises and service providers that have adopted network virtualization see an imminent need for tools that automate the provisioning and lifecycle management of virtual network appliances.

Finally, we look into how network management tools are keeping up with new demands and whether the single-pane-of-glass approach is the best approach for increasingly complex environments.

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