Meru Networks, Inc., a provider of virtualized wireless LAN solutions, is offering the Meru MobileFLEX architecture. Featuring context-aware application layers (CALs), Apple Bonjour support, enhanced multi-vendor policy enforcement, cloud and 802.11ac readiness, the solution is designed to give IT departments a unified ability to overlay mission-critical applications onto existing wired or wireless networks while simultaneously lightening the BYOD load.
"Enabling enterprise mobility is an increasingly complex set of initiatives," said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. "Simplification of the access, policy and management layers of mobility architectures are critical to ensure a high quality mobile environment that delivers a consistent user experience.”
In addition, CALs, which can be overlaid on existing wireless LAN networks from competing vendors, allow dynamic segregation and context-based mapping of growing mission-critical, enterprise-grade and consumer-grade application traffic to physically different access points and/or channels.
- FLEX Accessprovides flexibility through multi-channel, single channel, virtual cell and CAL deployment modes to tackle the increasing density and mobility issues brought on by BYOD.
- FLEX Control provides the flexibility of centralized, distributed and VMWare cloud-ready deployment options to support campus, remote and home-office deployments.
- FLEX Policy defines and enforces network access policies across any wired and wireless networks. The new Service Connect feature supports context-based policies for managing Apple Bonjour services while simultaneously addressing the chatty protocol's multi-cast traffic explosion issue.
- FLEX Management provides single pane of glass management, security and troubleshooting across the entire access network layer.
With significant deployment flexibility, the new 802.11ac-ready Systems Director (SD) 6.0 is scheduled for beta release in Q2. SD 6.0 will feature enhanced, centralized, distributed and VMware cloud-ready virtualized controller options, IPv6 support for greatly enhanced client scalability and enhanced device fingerprinting for more accurate and secure BYOD onboarding.
The New IDM 13.2 solution, in addition to automating guest access and BYOD on-boarding, features a full-featured scalable radius server, eduroam integration, high availability active/active failover using VRRP and global language support for 38 languages.
New Controller and Access Points
Meru also introduced two new hardware devices designed to extend the deployment flexibility of the MobileFLEX architecture. The new MC1550 is an 802.11ac-ready entry-level controller that supports up to 50 APs and 1,000 client devices. The new single radio 802.11n AP1014 access point with four built in Ethernet ports for in-room deployments.
"On the one hand, many enterprises are still reluctant to cut the final Ethernet cord for mission-critical applications such as telemetry in healthcare and student assessment in education," said Manish Rai, vice president of corporate marketing at Meru. "On the other hand, IT is struggling to scale consumer-grade services such as Apple AirPrint and AirPlay on their campuses. These conditions cannot co-exist.”
The MobileFLEX architecture, he said, is designed to provide a unified approach to addressing both ends of the spectrum by giving IT levels of flexibility and scalability to address the challenges triggered by BYOD.
"Implementing Meru's MobileFLEX architecture will enable us to scale and manage Apple Bonjour services across our campus, improve the initial deployment of MDM-managed iOS devices and provide efficient guest access for visitors and trainers on our network, but that's just the beginning," said Charles Thacker, director of technology at Farmington Municipal Schools.
"Among other enhancements, the new context-based application layers in MobileFLEX allow us to allocate and protect bandwidth for specific mission-critical applications such as student assessment and digital learning. It's a solid foundation and framework for our growing mobile future."