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Aruba Targets Wired World

Wireless LAN switch startup Aruba Wireless Networks has developed new hardware intended to extend its wireless security capabilities to the wired world.

The firm contends that parts of wired enterprise infrastructure -- particularly conference rooms and other areas frequented by multiple users -- could benefit from the advances in 802.11 security over the last couple of years, which assume that mobile users could connect to many different parts of a network over the course of a workday.

"[LAN] Perimeter security is really where the action is," opines Keerti Melkote, VP of product marketing at Aruba. "We want to be able to leverage the policy engine we built for wireless for wired security as well."

To do this, the firm has developed something akin to a wired access point, the $150 Aruba 2E, which is intended for installation in the wall just like wireless APs in the Aruba "grid" system. The 2E allows network managers to apply user authentication, rogue lockdown, and virus quarantine policies in the policy engine to wired users.

To ease the leap into overall LAN security, Aruba is also adding a high-capacity 6000 series switch -- a.k.a. "grid controller" -- to handle extra wired connections. In fact, the firm says that the new controller can support up to 512 "grid points" and 4,000 users.

So, Unstrung wonders, with this new emphasis on the wired world, is Aruba now a security play rather than a wireless LAN startup?

"Security, mobility, and wireless continue to be the three major areas of focus for us," insists Melkote.

Aruba is certainly not the first player in the wireless world to look at extending its capabilities to the wired world. Vernier Networks Inc. made a similar move earlier this year, as it brought yet another new CEO onboard (see Vernier's New New CEO).

But, however Aruba choses to define itself, it has one major rival in either market. And its name is Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). [Ed note: You may have heard of them.]

As Cisco has done with its Network Access Control (NAC) program, Aruba is hoping to beef up its home-grown security products with specific third-party offerings that can plug into its grid platform (see Aruba Grids Up and Cisco Leans on AirDefense). For a kickoff, the firm has teamed up with Fortinet Inc. and Sygate Technologies Inc. for additional anti-virus protection.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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freetoair 12/5/2012 | 1:04:36 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World Perhaps this is an indicator that they are making little to no money in WLAN.

Which has been the speculation for some time with them as well as thier competitors.

Alot of noise being made over small deals that are not adding up to the revenue needed to justify the level of investment already made - as well as required in the future?

Is this a desperation move? or just more noise to get attention?
consultantwireless 12/5/2012 | 1:04:23 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World We have been urging our corporate clients to stay
away from Aruba for a while. Aruba has been pretty
stagnant on wireless features. We had recommended
them before since they had one of the best
integrated products. Others have caught up
since.

I never bought their security story. I have been
working in the networking space for more than 20
yrs and I don't buy their their hair-splitting
argument of expensive centralized vs free
distributed encryption. Security is something
everyone wants AND everyone has. All WLAN switch
vendors have more or less the same set of
security features.

Aruba was never a leader in wireless features.
We were guessing they wd come out with better
features and plans for new wireless products.
Hmm.. looks like they have given up on WLANs
and decided to spread too thin too soon, not
to mention the crowded and more established
security market.

Any ideas on why Aruba is giving up? I thought
they had raised some money recently and hired some
high-profile CEO. Why are they making such a
(suicidal, IMO) move?

My clients are very concerned about buying
wireless gear from a company that has no clue
on what the customers want. Having already
fallen behind Airespace, the resurgent Trapeze
and Extreme on wireless features and with
this new focus on a different market, Aruba
may not last long as a WLAN switch player.

What do the competitors think? If I were a
competition, I wd probably be very happy to
see this coming out of Aruba. One less competition
to worry about?
lrmobile_wifiguy 12/5/2012 | 1:03:51 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World
I don't much care about the specific wireless vendors, but your comments are so one sided and illogical I have to respond.

1. Have you compared the prices of the wireless network vendors out there? What brings you to the conclusion that centralized encryption is "expensive"

2. "Leader in wireless features"? What wireless features are you refering to exactly? They all appear to have the same features.

3. Have you bothered looking at their website? Its pretty silly to say they are "giving up".

4. I have actually seen a cross section of Aruba's customer list recently, and while you may be advising your clients one way, you would be shocked by some of the big names and verticles they have penetrated.

5. You obviously are a wireless competitor or have something to gain by working against Aruba.

*plonk*
wififried 12/5/2012 | 1:03:17 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World Wifiguy

Its look like consultantwireless is an Aruba reseller or partner is telling it like it is. Word on the street is that Aruba is taking there deals direct and blowing past their resellers (thanks for the lead, so now fxxx off) and maybe that is why people are pissed off or confused about doing business with them.

Consultantwireless: tell us more.
WF_TOP_GUY 12/5/2012 | 1:03:10 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World Problems in Aruba world........Walt Foss (Central regional manager)....one of Don Lebeau's (CEO) boys is no longer with Aruba.
Walt even put some of his own money into Aruba!!
Wonder what's up with that???
WF_TOP_GUY 12/5/2012 | 1:03:10 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World Problems in Aruba world........Walt Foss....one of Don Lebeau's (CEO) boys is no longer with Aruba.
Walt even put some of his own money into Aruba!!
Wonder what's up with that???
WF_TOP_GUY 12/5/2012 | 1:02:58 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World Is this the same David Callish who quoted back in March that the then VP of Software and VP of Harware were reassigned in the company when they were actually fired!!!
I don't believe a word of it. Walt Foss was being groomed for and wanted the VP of NA Sales position and when they hired Mike Kirby that all changed.
How do you promote a guy when he has the worse preforming territory in the company. He lost deals to everyone from Cisco, Chantry and Airespace.
I think there is still fire there!! Big time!!!
lrmobile_wifiguy 12/5/2012 | 1:02:49 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World eh, even if the guy sucked and they got rid of him, what the hell. It shows they aren't going to sit there and let a mistake get bigger. Kirby was a huge guy at Cisco and has a reputation for being a ball buster. I imagine that as a sales org grows someone to kick their ass may be quite appropriate.
lrmobile_wifiguy 12/5/2012 | 1:02:49 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World Nice, well thought out answer. I appreciate your attention to detail and clarification of your earlier blathering.
mobilewireless 12/5/2012 | 1:02:30 AM
re: Aruba Targets Wired World Rumor has it that last quarter sales in Japan for Airespace/NEC were shockingly low. Talk is that the relationship has been on the rocks for at least the last year and that NEC is busy building its own wireless LAN switch.

And now Aruba announces that an enterprise VOWLAN solution based on Aruba and the NTT DoCoMo N900iL (made by NEC) dual-mode handset will be sold by a company in Japan.

Would have expected Airespace to be way ahead on this one. What is happening in the land of the rising sun?
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