Now, with the new Hybrid Wireless solution from Allied Telesis, a Wi-Fi network can be deployed with a mix of channel architectures and administered using the same management tool. Using the name “Channel Blanket” for the single-channel architecture, the Hybrid Wireless APs can offer both multi-channel and Channel Blanket at the same time! Operating at the fastest Wi-Fi speeds available today, they are the ideal choice for reliable Wi-Fi in the challenging environments described above:
In a dynamic environment, Channel Blanket APs can be deployed in greater numbers than multi-channel APs because their single radio channel does not introduce interference. If greater bandwidth is required then the APs can be configured to support up to 3 blankets concurrently, which significantly increases capacity in dense AP environments.
Channel Blanket has the advantage in an environment that requires reliable roaming too. With single-channel, all APs in the network appear as if they are a single AP, so the mobile client only sees that it is connected to one large AP. When the client moves, the Wi-Fi controller assigns it to a new AP, so the client is unaware of the “roam” and needs no special features to support it (e.g. fast-roaming protocols). Not only does this simplify the client, but it means the Wi-Fi connection is not interrupted by the move, and no latency is introduced, or data lost. Note that although new standards have been ratified to facilitate better roaming (e.g. IEEE802.11k/v/r), only high-end, modern wireless clients support these standards (e.g. iPhone6 with iOS7 and later). Clients that do not support these standards will still experience some disruption or data loss when roaming on multi-channel wireless networks.
In an environment with a high client density, Channel Blanket can increase the available bandwidth by enabling more APs to be installed in the same area without introducing co-channel interference. Although this is possible with multi-channel too, Channel Blanket solutions require no channel planning so installation and management is much easier.
Until now, customers that required industrial-grade Wi-Fi, high-density coverage or seamless roaming had to make a choice between multi-channel and single-channel architectures. With multi-channel, high client density is difficult to achieve, and you risk having wireless clients that do not support fast roaming protocols; with single-channel you risk using an “unconventional” solution requiring disparate management tools. To mitigate these risks, customers wanted to use both architectures together, but until now, this required two different wireless systems or many complex work-arounds, which were cost prohibitive.
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