Access point maker improves security and access to make it easier to extend wireless networks

Ever since software-defined networking grabbed the attention of IT departments, vendors have been trying to create spin-offs for their technology.

The latest is the “mobility-defined network,” which is what access point system maker Aruba Networks says is needed in an era when an increasing number of staff and guests tote wirelesss devices.

To meet the demand Aurba today announced enhancements to its controller operating system, ClearPass security software and AirWatch mobile management suite.

“The goal is to make the network more relevant to your business and connect it to IT and business systems,” Robert Fenstermacher, Aruba’s director of product marketing, said in an interview.

Utlimately the tools will help organizations that want to create infrastructure to support all-wireless networks, he added.

The improvements include:

–a next-generation firewall with a deep packet inspection engine in Aruba OS 6.4 for the company’s controllers or in its version 4.1 of its Instant Access APs. It replaces the signature-based firewall in the software to give visiblity into 1,500 apps. Now administrators can set up policies to prioritize, tag, redirect or block traffic, as well as limit bandwidth for certain applications or groups (for example, guests).

–Auto Sign on, which integrates network authentication to applications, so users only have to sign in once to get access to both.

It can be integrated into single sign on identity providers such as Okta or Ping Identity, or used independently.

–ClearPass Exchange, a new function for the ClearPass security technology, that integrates with third party firewalls, mobile device management suites and security information and event management (SIEM) platforms to automate corrective workflows.

If a user can’t authenticate to the network because an MDM profile is missing or software isn’t up to day, ClearPass Exchange allows the third party software to send text or email messages to the user and automatically create a support ticket.

It does it through a RESTful API that Aruba says allows IT staff write connections to many platforms in a short time.

Partners already on board include Palo Alto Networks, a maker of next generation firewalls, mobile device management sutie makers AirWatch and MobileIron; Visa, PayPal, MasterCard; and Splunk.

—-Aruba’s AirWave 8.0 management suite has added a unified communications dashboard to give a live view of users through a building floor plan. Administrators can see where problems are, drill down into root causes. It brings unified communications and network performance metrics together, the company says.

– finally, to broaden the use of mobile devices Aruba’s AirGroup technology, which allows users with Apple iOS devices to share and stream media, has  been broadened to include devices that support the DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) standard, (including Panasonic projectors and Sony TVs.

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