Avaya Wireless is all about SDN

Sam Clements’ take on Avaya’s recent SDN presentation at Wireless Field Day 7.


After hearing about Avaya’s wireless portfolio recently, I kept coming back around to a common thread that seemed so entrenched in the core of their solution – SDN. Admittedly I’m not a Data Center or Applications kind of guy, but Avaya has an interesting take on positioning their wireless portfolio. Instead of focusing heavily on a unique set of hardware specific features in their Access Points, they focus on a ‘module enabled’ Software Defined Network strategy. Paul Unbehagen, Chief Architect at Avaya accurately describes SDN as meaning something different to everyone.
Avaya talks SDN at WFD7

At its core, regardless of vendor or implementation, SDN is meant to ease network administration and orchestration by way of software (the S in SDN). Avaya enables this by way of software running on their hardware to create Fabric Attach (FA) Elements. These elements use FA Signaling as a way of communicating amongst…

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1 thought on “Avaya Wireless is all about SDN

  1. Frank

    (Climbs up on soapbox…)

    “Admittedly I’m not a Data Center or Applications kind of guy..”

    This, far and away, is what drives me absolutely bonkers about the whole SDN movement. If an IT professional from Mars were to steal a couple dozen RSS feeds from planet Earth, they would almost certainly come to the conclusion that there are two types of networking here – data center and wireless, with nearly nothing between them.

    While technologies like Control and VXLAN can do awesome things, they’re nearly always limited to hypervisors in a data center environment, or maybe bare metal servers if you’re lucky. Meanwhile, the wired campus edge still plods along, nearly always in a STP/VLAN style configuration easily recognizable to any network engineer who just stepped out of a ten year deep freeze. This may be fine if you’re a DC centric company, like a google or facebook, but for a lot of us enterprises where the DC has 10% of the ports but 90% of the staff, all of those shiny new gizmos solve problems where they hurt the least, while leaving the vast majority of our ports collecting dust.

    While I do know there are some legitimate gripes about SBP (it’s still a stretched L2 domain technology, with all of the corresponding reverse path learning and loop weaknesses they entail), it’s hard to give Avaya enough credit for not artificially limiting it to only the highest margin slice of their customers solution. Even if you haven’t gulped the SDN koolaid, it vastly simplifies some of the most common operations. Oh, and it’s actually a great way to kill STP, too. I for one would love to see SPB become a cross platform industry standard technology in a truly meaningful way, rather than the Avaya proprietary solution it effectively is now.

    (Climbs off soapbox and goes back to lurking…)


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