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Since Wi-Fi was first introduced in 1997 with the IEEE 802.11-1997 wireless standard, wireless networking has become the dominant wireless access technology in enterprises worldwide. Over the
years, the architecture of wireless local area networks (WLANs) has evolved to keep pace with changing wireless needs and updated 802.11 standards and amendments. As WLAN has become
more critical and reliable, the concept of All-wireless office is becoming a reality for many organizations.

WLAN architectures have spanned five generations: autonomous access points (APs), centralized controllers, hybrid controllers, cloud controllers, and distributed control with cloud management. As more and more organizations are driven to cloud-managed Wi-Fi, it is important to understand the drivers and iterations of the latest cloud-managed WLAN approaches.

This white paper discusses several drivers of cloud-managed Wi-Fi, including the evolution of the workplace towards more mobility and rapidly changing needs that traditional wireline and Ethernet can simply not address in a cost-effective way. This is coupled with the rapid evolution of the cloud itself which provides unlimited computing power and storage at a decreasing cost thus enabling cloud-managed Wi-Fi to become a reliable and viable solution.