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Aruba Extends Mobility Management Beyond WLAN

Wireless vendor Aruba Networks has released a major update to its Airwave wireless management tool.  Airwave 7 boasts a significant number of features that push the product beyond pure WLAN management and farther into both the mobility and wired networking realms. AirWave 7 will be available as a server install, an appliance, or using Aruba's hosted AirWave OnDemand (AoD) software-as-a-service (SaaS) option.  

Airwave 7 builds on its predecessors with support for the newest wireless products, customizable dashboards and interfaces, and enhancements to its XML API capabilities. What is more interesting, however, is the new support for devices historically beyond the scope of a WLAN management suite.  Surprisingly, Airwave 7 now offers management support for Cisco and HP edge switches. Wired switch support may seem an odd inclusion for a company pitching WLAN as the primary source of access, but even the utopian wireless enterprise needs edge switching to link the wireless components together.  For these types of environments, Airwave 7 can serve as the central management platform.  

Similarly, the new Mobile Device Manager (MDM) module supports mobile devices at three levels.  Any device that connects to the wireless network can be monitored, collecting a history of WLAN associations and location information. On the next tier, Airwave will interface with vendor-specific devices, such as wireless printers, to not only collect network client data, but also push firmware and configurations updates to these agent-less devices.  At the top end are Windows-based clients, which Airwave offers the highest level of control.  Using a small installed MDM agent, Airwave can collect monitoring information from the client, push configuration or firmware changes, as well as allow administrators to remotely control and even reboot the device.   

Enterprise mobility has deepened beyond the wireless infrastructure, and clearly Aruba is positioning Airwave 7 to take advantage of the continuing evolution. In terms of the wireless enterprise, managing and tracking all of the components associated with the WLAN is the next logical progression for the management suite. Whether it is the mobile devices that attach to the WLAN or the wired gear that connects it, the ability to see and manage the flow of data across the wireless infrastructure is key to building reliable, high performance networks for mission critical applications.