Networks can be confusing. Wireless networks to many are even more confusing. While the plethora of SOHO and other off the shelf equipment makes it easy for just about anyone to throw down a router and have it more or less work, things get easily complicated when you are in a business environment. Many factors become involved, such as local APs interfering with each other, changes in traffic load, stability of clients, security and a host of other things.
For many companies wanting to exercise greater control over wifi deployments, those can all present significant snags. HP is looking to capitalize on that, updating their networking devices (particularly their ProCurve line) to support SFlow – a standard released years ago to help monitor traffic on a network.
This concept isn't anything new – and entire companies have been formed solely to help other companies plan, deploy and monitor traffic. It's a first for HP, however, and they see it is a big benefit to their customers:
Customers will be able to use wireless sFlow to assist in wireless deployment, troubleshooting wireless signal or performance issues, as well as gaining visibility into network traffic such as top talkers, top applications and connections, HP said.
As the reliability and speed of “enterprise-class” wireless improves, companies are apt to deploy it more. Due to its inherent nature, however, it also requires a much different set of equipment and skills to properly maintain. I expect in the near future that most top-tier networking companies will need to dedicate large portions of their products to supporting this.