Meru Networks introduces context-aware MobileFLEX Wi-Fi architecture

New architecture gives education, healthcare and hospitality the ability to overlay, segment and scale mission-critical, enterprise-grade and consumer-grade apps over existing wired and wireless networks

Meru Networks introduces context-aware MobileFLEX Wi-Fi architecture

Meru Networks has introduced a new virtualised wireless LAN architecture called Meru MobileFLEX architecture. MobileFLEX features the company’s new context-aware application layers (CALs), Apple Bonjour support, enhanced multi-vendor policy enforcement, cloud and 802.11ac readiness. 

MobileFLEX gives 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. Meru’s MobileFLEX architecture takes a big step in that direction by delivering an agile, flexible mobile environment.’

Highlights of the Meru MobileFLEX architecture

FLEX Access provides flexibility through multi-channel, single channel, virtual cell and CAL deployment modes to tackle the increasing density and mobility issues brought on by BYOD.

  • New context-aware application layers (CALs) 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. CALs can be overlaid on existing wireless LAN networks from competing vendors. This gives IT departments a seamless path for migrating mission-critical applications still running on wired networks to Meru CALs.
  • For example, Meru’s 'Uninterrupted Care Network' (UCN) solution, announced at HIMSS 2013, applies CALs to enable hospitals to offer dedicated support for a variety of life-critical, mission-critical and consumer-critical healthcare devices and applications.
  • Continuation of Meru’s 802.11ac investment-protection plan that allows customers that purchase Meru AP332s today to upgrade to a future 802.11ac-capable access point from Meru. 

FLEX Control provides the flexibility of centralised, distributed and VMWare cloud-ready deployment options to support campus, remote and home-office deployments and features the following:

  • With significant deployment flexibility, the new 802.11ac-ready systems director (SD) 6.0 is scheduled for beta release in Q2 2013. SD 6.0 will feature enhanced, centralised, distributed and VMware cloud-ready virtualised controller options, IPv6 support for greatly enhanced client scalability and enhanced device fingerprinting for more accurate and secure BYOD onboarding.
  • Attractive entry-level virtual controller bundles, featuring a VMware-based controller and 10 AP licenses.

FLEX Policy defines and enforces network access policies across any wired and wireless networks and features the following:

  • 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.
  • 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.

FLEX Management provides single pane of glass management, security and troubleshooting across the entire access network layer and features the following:

  • Full SolarWinds integration provides a single pane of glass for wired and wireless network management.
  • New E(z)RF 4.0, currently scheduled for release in Q2 2013, features flexible spectrum management capabilities that allow supported access points to simultaneously support wireless services and on-demand wireless monitoring. This helps identify Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi interference sources such as Bluetooth devices and microwave ovens.

FLEX Solutions greatly simplify Wi-Fi roll-outs with leading education, healthcare and hospitality applications and feature the following:

  • Proven Microsoft Lync integration in real-world deployments for unified communications and collaboration.
  • LanSchool integration for classroom management.
  • The Meru Education-Grade (MEG) solution), driving Uninterrupted Learning, designed to solve colleges' and universities' BYOD issues and support their learning-essential applications.  

New controller and access points

Meru has 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 Meru MobileFLEX architecture is designed to provide a unified approach to addressing both ends of the spectrum by giving IT the unprecedented levels of flexibility and scalability to address the challenges triggered by BYOD,’ said Rai.

Rob Leggett, director of sales at Siracom UK, a Meru Platinum sales partner, commented: ‘With Meru's MobileFLEX architecture, wireless has come of age, delivering enterprise networking to a world of wireless consumer devices. Enterprises demand security and control, reliability and application integrity, performance and scalability, without increased demands on IT services teams. 

‘Consumerisation delivers new classes of users, new classes of devices and high densities of highly mobile users. Meru MobileFLEX meets the demands of each, delivering the ultimate wireless experience, under the full control of the enterprise.’

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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