Wireless networking specialist Meru Networks is looking to software-defined networking (SDN) for its next generation of Wi-Fi products. The company has committed to using open standards-based SDN to enable application-specific service level agreements (SLAs) and unified management of both wired and wireless networks.

Its forthcoming SDN-enabled Wi-Fi solutions are being designed to ensure consistently high performance of critical business applications, as well as to simplify unified management of wired/wireless networks. The end goal is to provide customers with immediate benefits without additional training or completely replacing existing controllers and access points.

"SDN enables application performance, ease of management and simplicity of use for the unified wired and wireless access network," said Ajay Malik, senior vice president of Engineering and Quality Assurance at Meru Networks, in a prepared statement. "Meru is working toward truly open, standards-based networks where best-in-class solutions win, removing complexity from access network deployment and management—without requiring additional training and equipment replacement."

According to Meru, existing unified management platforms are both costly and closed, providing visibility and control of LAN switching, WAN controllers and access points only when they entire solution is provided by a single vendor. But Meru hopes to enable customers with its technology and embrace of open standards. By taking the information exposed by applications vendors' SDN APIs and using it to their own advantage, the SDN implementations are incomplete.

That's where Meru is hoping to stand out among other SDN vendors in the space. What this will mean for Meru's channel partners is unknown at this point, as the products aren't quite ready to be announced, but expect more news from this company in the coming months.

"Meru's approach to augmenting the programmability and flexibility of wireless networks embraces the spirit and goals of the open networking community and the transition to SDN-enabled networks," said Rohit Mehra, vice president of Network Infrastructure at IDC, in a prepared statement supporting Meru's announcement. "By fully supporting open, standards-based management and control all the way to the access point, Meru intends to provide support for SDN with an eye to meeting the needs of enterprise IT and network managers."