Wireless network provider Xirrus has announced a major release of its flagship ArrayOS operating system for Xirrus wireless arrays. The company claims that Xirrus AOS 6.3 provides the industry’s most advanced Wi-Fi operating system for optimizing the services and performance of wireless networks, addressing the growing challenges in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments.
ArrayOS 6.3 enables Xirrus wireless arrays with comprehensive, first-of-its-kind application-level visibility and policy enforcement at the network edge; support for Apple services such as Airprint and Airplay across enterprise networks; high scalability in support of dense 2.4GHz wireless environments; Passpoint certification for seamless Wi-Fi roaming and carrier data offload at wireless hotspots; and new options for migrating to 802.11ac when the new technology becomes available in 2013.
‘BYOD is the single largest factor driving enterprise mobility and WLAN market growth, and it presents a challenge to IT in terms of the plethora of diverse applications that are now traversing these enterprise networks,’ said Rohit Mehra, vice president, Network Infrastructure, at IDC.
‘Solutions such as the one available with Xirrus AOS 6.3 enable IT managers with the application visibility, management and policy enforcement around these applications, and will increasingly find favor in newer WLAN architectures and deployments that need to support mission-critical workloads.’
With vastly greater compute power in each array compared to traditional access points (APs), Xirrus arrays powered by AOS 6.3 enable vital services to be delivered and enforced at the network edge, outclassing approaches that centralize services on a single controller in the core of the network. Key new functionality in the release includes:
• Application Control provides full application visibility and policy enforcement at the network edge in each array. This enables prioritization, rate limiting, and firewalling of traffic by application – a depth of functionality unmatched by any competitive wireless vendor. By placing the classification and policy enforcement engines directly at the edge of the network, AOS 6.3 with Application Control allows enterprises to control bandwidth, security threats, and policies before the traffic enters and impacts the core network.
• Bonjour Director enables utilization of Apple devices on enterprise-grade networks through the filtering and forwarding of Apple Bonjour traffic. Bonjour traffic is multicast-based (multicast DNS or mDNS) and does not natively operate across multi-subnet and multi-VLAN networks. Bonjour Director propagates the discovery and usage of Apple iOS devices across subnets and VLANs, simplifying the integration of popular Apple services such as AirPrint and AirPlay.
• Advanced RF control features enable wireless arrays to support greater densities of users than competitive solutions. A new Honeypot SSID mode eliminates much of the unnecessary traffic generated by smartphones attempting to connect to the network. This capability optimizes use of the available spectrum and increases network performance and the number of devices that can connect to the network. Additionally, new power management features help to optimize coverage patterns to support dense device situations in open environments such as stadiums and sporting venues.
• Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint status was achieved from the Wi-Fi Alliance for Xirrus Arrays in November 2012. Based on the Hotspot 2.0 specification, Passpoint enables compliant mobile devices to automatically discover and connect to Passpoint-certified Wi-Fi networks without user intervention, as well as roam seamlessly between networks while maintaining a network connection.
• 802.11ac-ready deployments are possible today with Xirrus’ XR family of modular, multi-radio arrays. The AOS 6.3 release adds support for a new array model – the XR-2200 wireless array – which supports two modular access points plus two open slots supporting additional 802.11n modules or future 802.11ac modules when they become available in 2013. The XR-2200, along with all Xirrus XR arrays, enables enterprises to quickly upgrade their wireless infrastructure to greater capacity while maintaining all of their existing investment.
‘Wireless APs have become the preferred form and increasingly the only form of access onto enterprise networks,’ said Steven Wastie, chief marketing officer for Xirrus. ‘Wireless-only devices such as iPads and BYOD have thrown a wrench into the plans of IT directors. Their wireless networks were not typically designed to handle the onslaught of new devices and unknown application loads. With AOS 6.3, Xirrus puts IT directors back in control, providing new levels of visibility, flexibility, and control unmatched in enterprise wireless networks – as well as the scalability to support unpredictable new demands for network capacity.’
ArrayOS 6.3 will be available in December 2012 as a software upgrade to Xirrus XR and XN arrays.
Xirrus wireless arrays gain Passpoint certification from Wi-Fi Alliance
Xirrus unveils next generation application control at the wireless network edge