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WATCH: Execs Explain How MSPs Can Profit With Cloud-Based Wi-Fi

Aerohive and Ruckus execs discuss the new opportunities for service providers as Wi-Fi moves to the cloud.

Wi-Fi is moving to the cloud and that’s good news for managed service providers. At The Channel Company’s NexGen Conference and Expo in Anaheim, Calif., this week, experts from Ruckus Networks and Aerohive weighed in on the evolution going on in the industry.

“Wi-Fi was designed for laptops, so you were able to go to a conference room and bring the work with you. Today, Wi-Fi is being designed for the mobile environment, where we have hundreds and thousands of devices coming into an organization,” said Jason Palacio, regional sales manager at Aerohive.

Cloud-based Wi-Fi delivers the reliability and flexibility users expect in today’s connected world. One of the biggest use cases is in schools, where tablets and smartphones are quickly replacing textbooks. Rajiv Iyer, director of cloud product management at Ruckus Networks, points out that one minute of wireless outage on a school network translates to seven minutes of teaching loss.

“One of the big, big advantages of cloud is it’s secure, plus it doesn’t take any physical devices or physical racking and stacking of servers on your premises,” he said.

Cloud-based Wi-Fi lets solution providers provision, monitor and troubleshoot the entire network through a single web dashboard or mobile app. Plus, with the addition of artificial intelligence and machine learning, they can dig into the analytics.

“In terms of a channel company or an MSP using Wi-Fi, they’re using more of the data analytics and the data: what’s being used on the Wi-Fi, what the performance is like and where the trouble is,” said Palacio.

But solution provider Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, says the inclusion of artificial intelligence and machine learning is just the first step.

“The challenge right now is that most of the vendors are homogenous. It’s similar to the way network management was 15 years ago, where HP’s network management tools only managed HP gear. We need some of that vendor-agnostic solution. As service providers, we are going to have customers on more than one platform and we are going to have customers with more than one Wi-Fi platform. We need a broader set of tools to manage that more efficiently and effectively.”

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