The idea of open access networks is gradually becoming a reality with a large number of municipalities and communities deploying their own open network. In the open access network model, the municipality/community can act as the network operator and a multitude of services can be provided to the end users over the deployed infrastructure. In this age of wireless networks and mobile users, WiFi must also be an integral part of the open access network.
The aspects of WiFi that need to be modified are identified along with the challenges that arise due to these modifications. These challenges are addressed by our simple, yet novel design for enabling WiFi in open access networks using Software Defined Networks (SDN) and access point virtualization. The access point can be dynamically configured to assign different services to different SSIDs using an Open-vSwitch (OVS) bridge in the access point. This OVS bridge is used to create mappings between the end users and the virtual ports. Using this approach, multiple users can be connected to a single access point and use their choice of service.
This is the first attempt towards integrating open access networks and WiFi. A preliminary prototype of the design is implemented in the Emulab test bed to successfully verify its operation.
Technologies Used: Emulab testbed, OpenFlow (RYU), Mininet