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Aruba controllers get WAN intelligence for the branch office

New Aruba controllers for the branch office provide WLAN management, WAN intelligence and a firewall in one appliance.

Aruba Networks has introduced a cloud-based wireless LAN controller that includes WAN intelligence and firewall capabilities in a single box for the branch office.

Aruba unveiled the 7000 series Cloud Services Controller at its Atmosphere conference a day after Hewlett-Packard announced its intent to acquire Aruba. The company plans to conduct "business as usual" until the deal closes, Ben Gibson, Aruba's CMO, said.

The latest controller consolidates IT tools and services and provides branch offices with functions that may have not been deployed because of cost and complexity, said Forrester Research analyst Andre Kindness. 

The appliance can help overcome latency and boost the performance of cloud applications and unified communications with WAN optimization and acceleration. The product also includes policy-based routing and traffic encryption.

The controller has built-in WAN intelligence and doesn't require a private MPLS connection. It also supports two Ethernet broadband WAN connections and a 3G or 4G LTE backup link, which can help keep costs down.

Once plugged into an existing Power over Ethernet supply, the controller provisions itself by downloading the WAN, wired and WLAN configuration from the centralized controller in the data center, said Ozer Dondurmacioglu, Aruba's senior director of product marketing. 

In addition to WAN intelligence, the controller offers unified management of wired and wireless infrastructure, and security through integration with Aruba partner Palo Alto Networks' firewall, which extends threat protection to the branch without additional hardware or software.

"The new [series] are wireless controllers, a firewall client, a switch and a router, and a WAN-facing networking appliance, all in one," Dondurmacioglu said.

Wi-Fi technology, now with WAN optimization

Of the 65% of enterprises that use WAN optimization, only a quarter are willing to take on the additional cost to have it in branch offices, Kindness said. Businesses that would normally skip the technology may find the 7000 series appealing, because of the reduced cost in having optimization, security and WLAN management in a single appliance.

"These services can't be discreet anymore; they have to be interconnected," he said.

The 7000 series, which replaces the 6000 series Mobility Controller, is the first product from Aruba to offer WAN intelligence. Pricing was not disclosed.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Gina Narcisi, senior news writer, and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter. 

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