Xirrus announces its RF Innovation “Wi-Fi Service Assurance”

Xirrus, the Wi-Fi "Power Play" that delivers the most coverage, bandwidth, and
user density in the industry, announced today its next step in RF innovation on
its Wi-Fi Array platform — Wi-Fi Service Assurance.

Xirrus Wi-Fi Service Assurance is designed to improve the
resiliency and availability of wireless networks as well as simplify issue
troubleshooting and resolution via active monitoring and verification of the
Array and network resources.

"A primary goal of any IT manager is to prevent problems from
occurring, but perhaps even more important is being able to identify, isolate,
and resolve problems as quickly as possible when they do occur," said Mike Rydalch, Principal Technologist for
Xirrus. "Xirrus Wi-Fi Service Assurance not only helps identify and isolate
problems, but will proactively remedy the problem if possible. The Xirrus Wi-Fi
Array provides distributed intelligence in each Array, not centralized in a
closet controller like traditional thin AP systems. This intelligence enables us
to do more at the edge of the network to identify and address issues as they

The Xirrus Wi-Fi Service Assurance offering is comprised of two
primary components – Radio Assurance and Network Assurance.  

Radio Assurance

With Radio Assurance, the Array periodically sends wireless traffic
back to itself to verify that all of radios are up and functioning properly. The
Array’s dedicated monitor radio is used to emulate a Wi-Fi client and sends
traffic to each user-servicing radio to ensure operation. If it is determined
that a radio has issues, Radio Assurance notifies the network manager and will
fix the problem if possible. This enables problem resolution directly at the
edge of the network and minimizes potential impact on end users.

The multi-radio architecture of the Xirrus Wi-Fi Array offers
several advantages for self-monitoring and maintenance:

  • With a dedicated monitor radio, none of the radios servicing
    stations need to be taken offline to perform testing.
  • If maintenance is needed on one of the radios or it is down, other
    radios are available within the Array to maintain service continuity.
  • The monitor radio is located in the same device as the radios
    being tested, ensuring full RF visibility between the radios for the test. Other
    assurance solutions rely on adjacent access points or other remote devices to
    emulate the clients, which may be out of range or visible at only low signal
    levels for the testing.

Network Assurance

Xirrus Network Assurance provides for the monitoring of network
resources in addition to the Array. Networking issues are often difficult to
isolate with many systems involved, including core switches and routers, edge
switches, data center servers, network services, and the user stations
themselves. Network Assurance helps identify where a problem is occurring by
checking the availability of network resources such as NTP, DHCP, and DNS
servers that are crucial for network operation.  

If network resources are unavailable, Network Assurance will send
notifications indicating the problem and identifying the service that is not
available. By proactively identifying network resources that are unavailable,
the network manager can be alerted of problems potentially before the end-users
notice an issue. The distributed intelligence of the Array provides this
monitoring at multiple points across the network, adding to the ability to
isolate the problem and expedite the resolution.

"The distributed Architecture of the Array offers a significant
advantage when doing network validation," explains Benny Cheung, Xirrus Software Engineer. "With each Array
performing these functions, problems can be more quickly found and identified.
With a standard thin AP/controller solution, the centralized controller
provides the brains for this type of validation and there are only a few of
these devices in the network. With the integrated controller in the Array, there
are multiple tests points throughout the network to provide greater visibility
to the issue."


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