Aruba has announced significant advancements to Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform), with new functionality in Aruba Central to enable organisations to keep pace with rapidly changing business requirements. The new Aruba Central NetConductor allows enterprises to centralise the management of distributed networks with cloud-native services that simplify policy provisioning and automate network configurations in wired, wireless, and WAN infrastructures. Central NetConductor enables a more agile network while enforcing Zero Trust and SASE security policies. Aruba also revealed the industry’s first self-locating indoor access points (APs) with built-in GPS receivers and Open Locate, a proposed new industry standard for sharing location information from an AP to a device.
Digital acceleration driven by remote/hybrid work, new business models, and the demand for improved user experiences highlights the need for a more agile, flexible network. Aruba provides a comprehensive set of cloud-native services to deal with the complexity of multi-generational architectures with their attendant operations and security challenges. Traditional VLAN-based architectures require significant manual configuration and integration, are slow to adapt to new business connectivity requirements, and introduce potential security gaps.
A modern, agile network employs a network “overlay” that seamlessly stitches together existing VLAN segments with cloud-native policy and configuration services that enables users and devices to make secure and reliable connections from anywhere. To help customers accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, Central NetConductor uses AI for management and optimisation, implements business-intent workflows to automate network configuration, and extends Aruba’s built-in security with cloud-native Network Access Control (NAC) and Dynamic Segmentation for fabric-wide enforcement. Because Central NetConductor is based on widely accepted protocols such as EVPN, VXLAN and BGP, it can be adopted in a seamless manner that preserves investments based on the ability to operate with existing Aruba networks and third-party vendor infrastructures.
“In today’s business world, flexibility is paramount. Enterprises need to be able to shift gears, turn up new services and offerings, and serve new customers seemingly overnight. Because the network underpins everything, enabling critical connectivity and data-driven intelligence, it’s got to have the flexibility built-in,” says Maribel Lopez, founder of Lopez Research. “Organisations today should look for standards-based solutions that give them technical flexibility and the ability to protect their investments and adopt new technologies at their own pace, but also options when it comes to consumption models.”
Three key principles of network modernisation
Static networks no longer meet growing business demands or support changing security requirements; therefore, organisations must be in a process of continuous network modernisation based on three main principles:
- Automation: Simplified workflows and AI-powered automation to reduce the time and resources required to plan, deploy, and manage networks that support remote, branch, campus, and cloud connectivity
- Security: Increased threat detection and protection with built-in identity-based access control and Dynamic Segmentation that are the foundation for Zero Trust and SASE frameworks
- Agility: Unified, cloud-native, standards-based architecture for investment protection and ease of adoption with NaaS consumption models to optimize budget and staff resources
Aruba Central NetConductor accelerates the deployment, management, and protection of modern, fabric-based networks by mapping capabilities to the three network modernisation principles:
- Automation: Intent-based workflows with “one-button” connectivity and security policy orchestration
- Security: Pervasive role-based access control extends Dynamic Segmentation for built-in Zero Trust and SASE security policy enforcement
- Agility: Cloud-native services for a single point of visibility and control. Standards-based for ease of migration and adoption to preserve existing investments
Innovations in indoor location services
WLAN AP installation remains a manual process which is time-consuming, prone to error, and results in an unreliable reference for location-aware applications. To address this, Aruba has introduced the industry’s first self-locating indoor APs to simplify how organisations capture indoor location data and communicate information over the air to any mobile device or application.
Aruba Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E APs use a combination of built-in GPS receivers, Wi-Fi Location support for fine time measurement and intelligent software to enable highly accurate, automated WLAN deployments. Aruba’s self-locating WLAN APs provide zero-touch determination of AP location, continuously validate and update location, and provide a set of universal coordinates that may be transposed on any building floor map or web mapping platform.
Accurate location of the WLAN infrastructure creates an anchored reference that is shared using Open Locate. Businesses can use the universal coordinates and anchored reference of Aruba’s self-locating indoor APs to easily develop or enhance asset tracking, safety/compliance, facility planning, venue experience apps or other location-aware services.
“Location is core to many app experiences and accurate indoor location unlocks many new and innovative enterprise use cases,” says Sean Ginevan, head of Global Strategy and Digital Partnerships for Android Enterprise at Google. “With Android 10, Google was first to fully support Wi-Fi RTT to enable precise indoor location on mobile devices. Aruba’s self-locating network infrastructure and the Open Locate initiative will help realize the vision of accurate, indoor location for our developer community and make it much easier to deploy these networks at scale. We can’t wait to see what developers build.”
“Enterprises have shown tremendous resiliency in the face of major disruptions and tectonic shifts within their businesses over the past two years, and it’s become clear that business agility is now top-of-mind for our customers,” comments David Hughes, Chief Technology and Product Officer at Aruba. “The advancements introduced today will help customers evolve their approach to a ‘services orientation’ using AI-powered solutions, strengthening security and accelerating the move to a cloud-centric network architecture, which are all hallmarks of a modern network.”