Wireless LAN vendor Trapeze says its network is more resilient than Cisco's - and it has a report to prove it.

Comparing wireless LAN architectues has become important, because they are different. As well as the big variations between, say, a Meru, and a Ruckus, there are variations within the mainstream wireless LAN controller makers. But we don't always get to see those differences.

All too often, the comparisons come in test reports that are sponsored by one vendor or another - that's inevitable. Publications rarely have the budget to do exhaustive group tests - and when they do, as Network World found, those tests are sabotaged by big vendors pulling out. 

So how do we find out whose WLAN is best? Those vendors pick a subject they can win on, choose a test house, and pay to have a test done. In this case, Trapeze went to Tolly Group and had its resilient Controller Cluster tested against a comparable Cisco resilient WLAN controller. Both had a backup controller - in Cisco's case it was on standby, while in the Trapeze set-up the controllers are all in use, load-balancing. 

In the event of a failure, the Trapeze wireless LAN comes up immediately (less than 0.1 of a second), while the Cisco LAN stayed out for eight or nine seconds, according to Tolly's results. This makes sense as the Trapeze system has more intelligence distributed to the access points.

Where does ths get us? This is exactly the result we'd have suspected, as the Cisco WLAN kit is old and hasn't had the continuous upgrades that the Trapeze system has. Cisco, of course, can contest the result; the Trapeze system was installed and monitored by Trapeze staff, while no Cisco engineers helped with the project - because Cisco refused to send any.

So, treat the result with care - but gather as much of this kind of material as you can when you are specifying a system, and task the salespeople (especially Cisco salespeople) with it.