By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
What would be the world’s single, largest and unified Cloud-managed Wi-Fi network? There is a very good chance that Reliance Jio’s gigantic pan-Indian Wi-Fi footprint of 200,000+ access points – supplied and managed by Arista – is it. Despite its size, Arista says it only takes a handful of engineers to manage it with the aim of delivering the right quality of experience. Next step: Wi-Fi 6, Arista says.
One million active clients a day on 200,000 APs across India – that’s the extent of Reliance Jio’s Wi-Fi footprint. The network is supplied and managed by Arista – formerly Mojo Networks – and is likely the largest Cloud-managed Wi-Fi network in the world by a wide margin.
Says Arista Product Manager Nadeem Akhtar: “A lot of folks will tell you that Cloud-managed Wi-Fi doesn’t scale. We’ve proven them wrong. Not only does it scale, we’ve made it remarkably efficient to operate such a giant network using machine learning ‘cognitive’ techniques.”
Nadeem Akhtar says the Reliance Jio network is managed with just a handful of people because the platform does a lot of the work normally assigned to operational engineering staff. Arista has for a couple of years been perfecting Cloud-based ‘cognitive’ (or machine learning based) algorithms to quickly diagnose faults as well as to monitor real-time application performance. In this way the network adapts to ensure the best possible end-user experience.
The network is even managed from a single location, Nadeem Akhtar says. “The resilience is a result of decoupling the management plane from the data plane – and of course from the intelligence in the Cloud. It’s equivalent to running a network on autopilot,” he says.
Arista is already working on the next generation of the platform and of course this time it is all about introducing Wi-Fi 6. The company’s first Wi-Fi 6 announcement came in June of this year and has been shipping since September but the full stack solution is expected to be ready this month. Arista’s Wi-Fi 6 solution is based on Qualcomm’s newest Wi-Fi 6 8×8 plus 4×4 MU-MIMO chipset release.
Meanwhile Reliance Jio’s use of Wi-Fi across India is expanding. The company recently began actively offloading mobile data to Wi-Fi in Jio WiFi Zones to relieve network congestion, says this local news report. The same report says Reliance Jio is getting ready to roll out as many as 1.5 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.
The cognitive functions are new but Arista continues to remain true to its original pedigree inherited from its beginnings as AirTight and then Mojo Networks: Securing enterprise networks from intrusion with WIPS. In fact, Arista’s new Wi-Fi 6 solution dedicates one radio to just scan for threats. This allows the company to continue to address enterprise segments where security is paramount – such as financial services, Nadeem Akhtar says.
For all the details don’t miss Nadeem Akhtar and Arista at Wi-Fi NOW International in London this November 12-14 – click here for more.