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Aruba ClearPass Device Insight IDs more IoT devices

Aruba ClearPass Device Insight discovers more IoT devices on the IP network than the company's previous product. The software collects better data from the network to ID hardware.

LAS VEGAS -- Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, has launched cloud-based software that is better than the company's previous product for identifying IoT devices connected to a wired and wireless IP network.

Aruba introduced ClearPass Device Insight Tuesday at the company's Atmosphere customer and partner conference. Aruba is aiming the product at schools, retailers and healthcare organizations. Hospitals, for example, often struggle to track medical devices ranging from kidney dialysis and X-ray machines to heart monitors and MRIs.

ClearPass Device Insight, a stand-alone product, is a rebuild of Aruba's previous device identification system, ClearPass Universal Profiler. Aruba decided to develop a new product because the latter had "some real limitations" in profiling many IoT devices, said Paul Kaspian, senior product marketing manager for security at Aruba.

"This is a pretty dramatic shift from the approach that we initially took," Kaspian said.

How ClearPass Device Insight works

A significant change is in placing ClearPass Device Insight in the Aruba cloud. Aruba is feeding aggregated device data from customers into its machine learning algorithms to build a cloud-based database of IoT devices. Through the database, Aruba can identify more hardware for customers.

Also significant is the deep packet inspection (DPI) approach Aruba uses to gather details that can help the vendor categorize hardware with more accuracy. Information sent to the Aruba cloud comes from an on-premises appliance that extracts device data from packets sent to it from a customer's network packet broker or SPAN port.

Data collected by the appliance, which Aruba offers as hardware or software, includes the hardware's manufacturer, model and operating system, as well as information on its communication protocols and the other devices it's talking to.

"With this [DPI] capability, you have a much larger library of known devices," said Rohit Mehra, an analyst at IDC. "From an IoT perspective, I think this has value."

ClearPass Device Insight has a starting price of $1,260 for a one-year subscription covering up to 100 devices. Companies can integrate the product with ClearPass Policy Manager, which lets organizations set policies to control the network access of IoT and mobile devices.

Aruba's latest access points

Aruba also introduced at Atmosphere its latest Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax, access points. The 530 and 550 series have three wireless connectivity options: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Zigbee. The last named is often used to connect home devices, such as thermostats and lighting, to the internet, while retailers use BLE to deliver location-based services to shoppers.

Analysts expect many companies to use Wi-Fi 6 eventually to connect IoT devices, as well as traditional computing gear, to the wireless network. That's because the latest standard provides faster speeds and can support many more devices.

The list price for the APs is $1,495 for the 530 Series and $1,895 for the 550 Series.

Aruba's main competitors in the wireless LAN market are Cisco, Extreme Networks and Ruckus, an Arris company. Outside of the United States, Chinese company Huawei is also a significant competitor.

The vendors are battling for companies adding surveillance cameras, smart locks, lighting and other noncomputing devices to the network, as well as traditional mobile gadgets -- laptops, smartphones and tablets.

IDC predicts worldwide spending on IoT technology will reach $745 billion this year, an increase of more than 15% from 2018.

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