Analysis: WLAN Management Takes to the Cloud (Part 1)

There is no reason, based on available capabilities, that a cloud-based WLAN management system could not completely replace a local implementation.

That’s the frank assessment of veteran wireless analyst Craig Mathias of Farpoint Group.

In a breakthrough analysis for Network World, Mathias reviews the cloud-management software that powers 3 wireless networking products, including D-Link’s DAP-2555 which is powered by CloudCommand.  He has identified a major paradigm shift and predicts that traditional Wi-Fi management will transition to cloud-based management within several years.

The movement is already underway.  Early adopters are on board, and several years from now we may point to this review as the seminal moment when broad acceptance for cloud-based Wi-Fi management began.

To evaluate the merits of cloud-managed WLAN versus traditional WLAN management, Mathias asks 3 critical questions:

  • Is there a compromise in capability between cloud and traditional WLAN management systems?
  • What do the economics of cloud-managed WLAN really look like?
  • Can cloud capability literally move the network operations center into the palm of one’s hand?

The review includes a version of our customizable CloudCommand online software platform that powers the D-Link DAP-2555 AirPremier N Access Point as well as Aerohive’s HiveManager Online and Meraki’s Cloud Controller service.

Mathias is highly impressed by what he sees today…and even more excited by what’s in store for the future:

It’s about capabilities – services deployed cost-effectively, reliably, and location-independently – not hardware. It’s about the economics of the contemporary organization – minimizing capital and operating expense without compromising functionality – not having title to all of the required pieces… Even the list pricing in each case is enticingly low enough to generate a lot of interest.

Thus the shift: It’s about fundamentally location-independent services, not products. As we’ve seen in the sampling explored here, the range of function is broad, the services responsive and simple to use, and each is clearly effective and worthy of further consideration…

Bottom line: the cloud is coming to WLAN management.

Cloud-managed Wi-Fi has arrived, and we are at the early stages of a major paradigm shift.  Growth is poised to explode.

It’s worth noting is that the Network World review focuses on cloud-based network management.  It’s an extremely important topic and this review is must-reading for anyone in the networking space.  But we see an even bigger revolution coming in the much broader category of cloud-managed networking.

In Part 2 of this posting, we’ll highlight Mathias’ observations about our CloudCommand technology.

Read the report (login required)

About PowerCloud Systems
PowerCloud Systems is the leading online software platform provider for enabling Networking as a Service (NaaS). Its CloudCommand technology provides OEMs and service providers with the most powerful and cost-effective path for adding comprehensive cloud capabilities to their new and existing networking equipment. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., PowerCloud Systems is a spin-out from PARC that is funded by Qualcomm Ventures, Walden Venture Capital, Javelin Venture Partners and PARC. For more information, visit

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