I've written about unified wired/wireless networking a number of times in the past, initially exploring this rapidly-emerging concept from the perspective of unified management systems. And while the benefits of unification at the management layer is, IMHO, critical going forward, it's also possible to unify wire and wireless at other points in a network implementation, such as integrating a WLAN controller into a switch. As I've written lately on this, there's a lot of activity here as well. With switches the key elements in interconnecting and powering APs, we can almost think of them as wireless components anyway.
Equally interesting, and complementary in many ways, is the relatively-new concept of software-defined networking (SDN), which is beginning to attract a whole lot of attention. My friend and colleague Jim Metzler is doing an all-day workshop on this topic at Interop next month in Las Vegas, which gives you an idea of just how important SDN is becoming.
My primary interest, of course, is in how SDN will benefit wireless, and I find it interesting that one of the key concepts in SDN - a distributed but centrally-managed control plane - was pioneered in enterprise-class wireless LAN systems. But I think that SDN should play a very valuable role in wireless as well, particularly from a policy perspective (and critical in a BYOD world) and in the possibility of dynamically (and perhaps even automatically) tuning (W)LANs in response to changing operational conditions, also an artifact of BYOD.
So we have two large and important, and yet complementary, directions here - so large, important, and complementary that we've just published a new Farpoint Group White Paper on these subjects. You can get a copy, free of charge, here. And stay tuned - I'm now producing a new Farpoint Focus video on this subject as well, which should be available in a couple of weeks. I'll post that link here as well.
Mathias is a principal at Farpoint Group, a wireless advisory firm in Ashland, Mass.