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To understand the function of a wireless LAN (WLAN) controller in an SMB network, it helps to understand the history of evolution of wireless LANs in the SMB. Small and mid-sized businesses since the early 90's have wholly embraced wireless access for their networks for a number of reasons. Initially offered as a convenience to provide access to the network, the wireless LAN today has become an integral part of the business not only boosting employee productivity but also becoming a viable alternative to wired (Ethernet-based) access to the network. As the number of clients using the wireless infrastructure continues to increase, including devices such as Skype/Wi-Fi phones and PDA's, so do the requirements for continuous wireless coverage, wireless network uptime, centralized management and monitoring.
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