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Wireless network provider Aruba has introduced cloud-based analytics that helps organizations evaluate Wi-Fi performance based on metrics gathered from peers with similar hardware and coverage areas.
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, introduced its subscription-based Aruba NetInsight product this week at the vendor's Atmosphere conference in Las Vegas. NetInsight provides managers with lots of data for determining whether the configurations of mobile controllers and access points (APs) are providing maximum network performance.
The latest product is valuable to Aruba Wi-Fi customers but doesn't place the vendor at a competitive advantage to rival Cisco Meraki, said Bob Laliberte, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, based in Milford, Mass. Indeed, Meraki this month introduced a troubleshooting tool called Insight.
"I am sure if you spoke to each of them, they would claim they are unique as would be expected," Laliberte said. "Each has their strengths, but for the most part, you would be correct in assuming they are both very capable Wi-Fi vendors with very strong solutions."
Aruba NetInsight users get peer comparisons on Wi-Fi performance
NetInsight's standout feature is in comparing a company's Wi-Fi performance to that of organizations with similar architectures and coverage areas, said Trent Fierro, director of software marketing at Aruba. The software looks at comparable information to provide a rating on a scale from 1 to 100.
If a company's score is lower than that of similar sites, then the former's managers can compare their configurations for Aruba APs and mobile controllers and consider NetInsight suggestions. "We will only give you a recommendation if we believe that there's going to be a 15% or better improvement in how the network is performing," Fierro said. Only anonymous data is gathered from organizations.
Along with recommendations, NetInsight provides a before and after picture of the network following configuration changes. The software also looks for anomalies that could hamper network performance.
Aruba NetInsight data sources
NetInsight collects data from Aruba APs and mobility controllers and from DHCP servers, which can tell the software whether an IP address or domain information is arriving within an acceptable timeframe. NetInsight also gathers data from Aruba's AirWave network management system and the ClearPass access management tool.
AirWave, for example, has a component that shows the layout of APs, which is helpful in determining whether their locations are providing maximum coverage. ClearPass contributes data on whether there's timely authentication of user passwords or device certificates.
NetInsight funnels all data to its on-premises data collector, which compresses the information and sends it through an IPsec tunnel to the Aruba analytics engine. The cloud-based software uses machine learning to produce intelligence from more than 400 network attributes and displays the findings on a web-based graphical user interface.
Aruba is selling NetInsight under a one-, three- or five-year subscription. Pricing per device under management -- typically Aruba mobile controllers and APs -- is $50, $33 and $30, respectively. The price includes the data collector and support.