A platform that allows a seamless user experience in a network of APs from multiple vendors

By Aalyia Shaukat, contributing writer

 

The Wi-Fi Alliance has officially introduced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED
EasyMesh, a platform that allows for interoperability of various access points
(APs) from different vendors. Based on the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED industry-agreed standards for interoperability and security, Wi-Fi
EasyMesh is meant to overcome the compatibility issues that come with
leveraging APs with different security profiles to provide high-quality
seamless Wi-Fi connectivity. This, in turn, encourages consumers to extend
their network coverage from one AP to many without the hassle of difficult
vendor-specific configurations.  

Traditionally, consumers would have to very creatively route
ethernet cable through an entire house just to get decent internet speeds in
certain areas where the wireless link was too weak. Still, this hardwired
solution was nowhere near modular since only a limited number of devices could
be connected at a time. Now, the average home has seven wirelessly connected
devices — few of which have an ethernet port readily accessible — so routing
ethernet cables through an entire home/building for individual devices is not
as feasible. Access points have been a valuable tool in solving some of these
issues by effectively extending a Wi-Fi network through a hardwired (ethernet)
link into the local area network (LAN) to provide uniform coverage of an entire
location.

This does come with its limitations as APs can handle only a
limited amount of traffic per radio, and in areas with a high density of APs
interference can occur with overlapping of the three available channels in the
2.4-GHz band (channels 1, 6, and 11). Moreover, equipping an area with APs from
different vendors can get messy quickly with compatibility issues — if a user
is moving in a building they will often encounter a loss of signal due to the
various service set identifiers (SSIDs) and subsequent
security configurations.

To support a phone call while roaming, for instance, two (or
more) different APs would have to seamlessly communicate with each other to
allow clients actively leveraging VoIP to access the AP’s Call Admission
Control (CAC) while other idle traffic would connect to another underused AP
with a weaker signal. The compatibility issues can impede progress and upgrades
to a LAN. A customer would not be able to shop for hardware outside of the
vendor they are already using without having to take the time to configure all
the APs.

Access points that are Wi-Fi EasyMesh certified can organize
themselves and establish a high integrity wireless link with minimal effort.
Some features of Wi-Fi EasyMesh include the following:

●       Monitors network conditions and self-adapts as needed

●       Guides smartphones, tablets and other user devices when roaming
to the optimal AP for a seamless user experience even with delay-sensitive
traffic

●       Modular standards-based approach makes it simpler to introduce
new APs to their network

●       Can be leveraged with Wi-Fi Certified Home Design for uniform home coverage

 

The Wi-Fi Alliance took a standards-based approach with the
EasyMesh software platform so that networks comprised of multiple APs from
various vendors could be configured with uniform coverage in a residence or commercial
building.