Aruba Networks Brings 'Network Virtualization' to Enterprise

Citing the movement of office workers outside the office and the increasing use of personal wireless devices in the enterprise, executives from Aruba Networks remarked recently that they are determined to address enterprise wireless network needs, at a fraction of the usual cost.

Dubbing its offerings as "virtualization" of the network, executives from the wireless networking firm said their devices can replace expensive VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) often used in multi-branch companies.

"VPN cannot be implemented in a company with hundreds of branches, it's impossible," Albert Tay, general manager for Southeast Asia, Aruba Networks, told Computerworld Philippines in an interview. "All transactions are being processed at the headquarters or data center anyway, so why put VPN [at the branch site]?"

Aruba's remote access point offering, the Aruba RAP-2WG, is an enterprise-class indoor remote access point that delivers secure user-centric network services and applications in remote branch offices, as well as home office workers and telecommuters.

Essentially, users would just have to use the device to access the corporate network a-la VPN, where it is centrally managed at the headquarters using an Aruba Controller, giving them an "inside network" experience, even outside the site.

This simplifies network deployments, especially on the equipment aspect, according to Tay. Firms would just have to deploy a mobility controller and the needed number of access points, centrally managed through AirWave Network Management.

A software application replaces expensive appliances for delivery of network services, such as content security and application acceleration, he added.

Aruba's new enterprise offerings comes on the heels of an increasing number of office workers moving out of the office, bolstered by the pressure to cut costs and the use of personal wireless devices for work.

When employees used to be tied down to their desks in the past decade, Tay said workers are now moving out of the office and into their branch offices, home offices or on the road. "Ethernet cannot address [this] need for mobility," he explained, adding that WLAN is perfect for this setup.

Aruba's unified access architecture for distributed enterprises addresses the access layer, especially on the wireless side, an aspect of networking that core network providers don't address, Tay claimed.

Because the access layer is addressed, Tay said they "are able to manage wireless and wired clients," giving reports of who uses what, and have individual policies drilled down to the packet level.

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