AirTight Networks, which has built out a portfolio of cloud-first security offerings since 2003, is rebranding itself as Mojo Networks to reflect its broader service offerings, including new WiFi services.
The company is now offering cloud-based WiFi access, as well as announcing it will soon release new 802.11 Wave 2 access points powered by Qualcomm VIVE. Mojo CEO Rick Wilmer said the WiFi infrastructure can scale up to thousands of users across an organization. According to research firm IDC, cloud-managed WiFi is poised to be a US $1.7 billion business by 2018, with the majority of growth in the WLAN business coming from cloud-based services and other alternative architectures rather than traditional on-premise, controller-based deployments.
Mojo’s two new cloud-managed WiFi packages feature all-inclusive pricing that covers use of its 802.11ac access point hardware. The first, Enterprise, provides all-inclusive WiFi access with no controller or supplemental costs, as well as feature and security upgrades and 24/7 customer support. It also includes the company’s wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) that features automated event alerting and classification rules, and threat monitoring.
The second offering, Enterprise Elite, features all of the same access and security features as well as built-in functionality to engage and deliver enhanced services to WiFi end-user customers, including social login, customer outreach and engagement analytics.
Wilmer said the value proposition of cloud-based WiFi is “extremely compelling” as enterprises no longer need to face the CAPEX costs of controllers, which are complicated to manage and keep updated, or deal with hardware failure or lack of failover. “From a reliability standpoint, there’s a competitive advantage for the cloud,” he said. “We’re pushing for the cloud to have the equivalent functionality of what you would get out of a controller.”
Cloud WiFi makes particular sense for distributed enterprises, said Wilmer, including fast food chains that have thousands of outlets, or retailers with many locations. Mojo is particularly focused on enterprise campuses, such as the education sector. He said customer concerns usually relate to security – where does data go and how is it protected. Mojo security offerings have always been cloud-based, he said. “That DNA persists through our solutions today.”
Mojo is not the only vendor in the cloud WLAN market, said Nolan Greene, research analyst for network infrastructure at IDC, but it’s differentiating itself by delivering enterprises with tools to get the most out of their Wifi, as well as offering a foundation of security the company is known for. “They created their cloud Wifi management platform based on customer demand for such a product.”
Greene said the big draw of a cloud-managed WiFi platform is that because each controller represents a huge capital expenditure, subscription-based models have become preferable for many organizations, and generally, enterprises are becoming more comfortable with moving WiFi access to the cloud, but it does depend on the vertical industry. It makes sense in some more than others, he said, such as retail. “Cloud deployments make a lot of sense in hub and spoke models.”
Some verticals are more resistant to cloud-managed infrastructure because of security requirements, said Greene, when data can never be moved off-premise, even with a private cloud option, and there are still organizations, having crunched the numbers, that have concluded they are still better off economically with a controller-based model.
Research released by Dell’Oro Group earlier this year forecasted the overall wireless LAN market will hit a market high of almost US$13 billion in 2019 – more than 30 per cent growth over 2015 revenues. This is partly due to the fact it’s become easier for IT departments to deploy more WiFi access, with uptake of 802.11ac being a big contributor to the demand, as many enterprises are seeing a dramatic jump in the amount of bandwidth users will consume because of the improved experience.