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HP is injecting cloud management and SDN capabilities into its wireless LAN portfolio this year at Interop 2014 in Las Vegas. It added a new cloud-managed access point series, unified wired and wireless controllers, two new 802.11ac access points and its HP Cloud Managed Network offering for the simplified management of wireless infrastructure.
HP WLAN updates include cloud, 802.11ac
Similar to Aruba's Instant Access Points and Aerohive's Cloud Services, HP's new Cloud Managed Network offering will work in tandem with the vendor's new HP WLAN cloud-managed access point 300 series -- a product family that will be available in both 802.11n and .11ac. The platform will allow businesses to manage their network from the cloud, rather than invest in an on-premise controller -- a great fit for small-to-midsized customers with limited internal IT expertise, said Steve Brar, manager of global product marketing for HP.
Cloud-based management tools are not only a plus for smaller businesses, but are also creating opportunities for value-added resellers, said Andre Kindness, senior analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.
"Making wireless a primary connection requires IT talent that some smaller companies may not have, so these cloud-based offerings are really making it easy for someone else to build that environment and hardware isn't needed on-site," he said.
In addition to its new 300 line, HP is also introducing two new WLAN access points -- the HP 560 and 517 -- the first purpose-built 802.11ac-enabled access points from the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company.
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Both the 560 and 517 access points rely on a central WLAN controller, but the HP 517 is playing to more prospective 802.11ac customers with legacy hardware, Brar said. The wall jack form factor allows the 517 access point to fit over existing Ethernet infrastructure, a great fit for hospitality and education environments -- hotels that might have legacy wired infrastructure within each hotel room -- or dorm buildings, Kindness said.
"By combining wired ports and wireless onto a single device and by offering a simplified converged model, this form factor could really help simplify deployments of 802.11ac for certain customers and environments," HP's Brar said.
Just like the vendor's switches, HP's new 560 access point will also be OpenFlow-enabled, which will allow customers to adopt SDN-based applications without needing to upgrade their networks. While SDN is not widely adopted by enterprises, it's an important future-proofing move that will allow IT to have more control over traffic patterns, Kindness said.
HP WLAN/wired infrastructure management updates: New controllers, MDM added
Deepening its bring your own device (BYOD) support, HP is adding mobile device management to its Intelligent Management Center (IMC) platform by partnering with Citrix and MobileIron. "MDM will add an element of security as part of the overall unified wired and wireless network strategy," Brar said.
HP has also enhanced its unified wired and wireless capabilities first introduced last year. HP's two new controllers, the HP 870 Unified Wired-WLAN Appliance -- first introduced in February -- can support up to 30,000 devices and the HP 850 Unified Wired-WLAN appliance, unveiled at Interop, supports up to 10,000 devices.