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Juniper taps Mist Systems for wired, wireless LAN analytics

Juniper Networks is using its Mist Systems acquisition to provide cloud-based analytics for a wired and wireless LAN built with Mist and Juniper hardware.

LAS VEGAS -- Juniper Networks is providing the option of using the same cloud-based analytics platform for monitoring the performance of the vendor's wired and wireless LAN.

Juniper announced this week that it added telemetry from its EX Series wired LAN switches to the AI-powered analytics platform developed by Mist Systems. Juniper acquired Mist, a wireless LAN provider, this year for $405 million.

Combining Mist with EX access switches lets Juniper customers monitor the performance of the wired and wireless sides of a campus network. Also, users get automated fault remediation tools to help ensure networks are performing optimally.

However, Andrew Froehlich, president of consulting firm West Gates Networks, cautions that the latest features apply only to Juniper network infrastructure. Therefore, the artificial intelligence the Mist platform uses to automate the identification and resolution of common networking problems won't be fully available with other vendors' products.

"Both the wired and wireless AIOps features are proprietary in nature," Froehlich said. "For businesses that run a mixture of enterprise networking technologies, a vendor-agnostic platform will be the only way to achieve end-to-end network performance visibility."

The Mist Systems platform

The Mist cloud-based platform analyzes every packet traveling through a Mist access point. The software draws data from EX switches through the telemetry interface found in the hardware's Junos operating system.

The platform uses the collected data to provide anomaly detection and root cause analysis. It can also fix some problems automatically by readjusting Mist access points or correcting switch port misconfigurations.

The Mist analytics subscription service is available to EX- and Mist-only customers, as well as companies that use both products.

Before acquiring Mist, Juniper had ranked below the top 10 in the enterprise WLAN equipment market, according to Gartner. However, the company was the No. 6 provider of campus switching, giving it a reasonably large number of potential customers for Mist.

The leading sellers of wired and wireless LAN equipment are Cisco, Extreme Networks and Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, according to Gartner.

Contrail Insights

Juniper launched the Mist-EX integration at the company's NXTWORK user conference. Other news from the show included the introduction of Contrail Insights for cloud computing environments in private data centers. The on-premises software provides network, server and workload monitoring and troubleshooting.

Contrail Insights' features are similar to VMware's vRealize Insight and Cisco's Network Assurance Engine, Shamus McGillicuddy, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, said.

"Juniper customers will be interested in this capability," he said. "It should enhance the value of a Juniper-based data center network."

Dig Deeper on Wireless LAN (WLAN)

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Are cloud-based analytics for the wired and wireless LAN mature enough for most enterprises? Why or why not?
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