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Aruba Upgrades Wireless Controller To Curb Apps

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

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Aruba Networks promises to stop users clogging your network up with mobile tat

Enterprise wireless LAN provider Aruba has upgraded its network controller to take a firm grasp on the apps which users bring in on their own mobiles, tablets and laptops.

Aruba says its 7200 controller will address the explosion of networked applications on phones and other kit users bring into the office under “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies. It includes what Aruba calls AppRF technology, which uses deep packet inspection and other techniques to identify applications by their signatures and either block them or ration their access to the network.

Get apps under control

The underlying technologies have been established for some time, but Aruba has positioned them behind a web front end with tools designed to address particular problems emerging in the more fluid environment in today’s offices, said Chis Kozup, senior director of marketing for EMEA with the company.

“These apps are not sanctioned or delivered by the enterprise, and we see that as a problem,” said Kozup. “IT has lost control.”

The new controller will allow IT staff to block applications like NetFlix for instance, while giving priority to latency-critical applications such as office communications.

The controller is also labelled as”ready” for the forthcoming faster Wi-Fi protocol, IEEE 802.11. Since this product is a centralised controller, which manages discrete access points throughout the building, this promise amounts to saying that it has enough capacity to handle the speed increase when 802.11ac controllers emerge in business.

As with previous new generations of Wi-Fi, the arrival of 802.11ac is coming first in consumer products. There are about five available which comply with a draft of the new standard, which has not been fully ratified by the IEEE standards body, or certified by the Wi-Fi Aliance, which handles branding programmes for Wi-Fi standards.

Aruba is the big success from the wave of Wi-Fi controller vendors that emerged around the year 2000. It has extended its reach to manage wired connections as well as Wi-Fi, and is now second to  Cisco in market share of business-grade Wi-Fi access points. It should not be confused with the Italian ISP of the same name, of course.

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