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Performance Management Extension For Wireless Networks

Meru Networks : 27 May, 2010  (New Product)
A set of analysis, security and compliance services are being planned at Meru Networks to bring performance management service improvements to mission critical wireless network installations
Meru Networks has unveiled its plans to offer a powerful suite of wired and wireless management, spectrum analysis, and security and compliance services that are designed to optimize Wireless LAN (WLAN) application performance and accelerate the migration to an All-Wireless Enterprise. Integrated directly with the Meru Service Assurance Platform, these new management, security and diagnostic tools are designed to deliver IT organizations the ability to predictively and proactively manage and optimize the end-to-end performance of the entire WLAN infrastructure - anticipating and resolving performance, interference and security issues. As a result, IT organizations will have the ability to offer users reliable and seamless mobility, despite the constant strain that an increasing number of applications and devices have placed on wireless environments.

"Wireless networking has infused virtually all aspects of the enterprise, as users from the remote office to the manufacturing floor have come to expect predictable yet untethered access to data, video and other applications services from their device of choice," said Ram Appalaraju, senior vice president of marketing at Meru. "We believe these expectations have placed considerable pressure on IT to create a networking environment that will be flexible and reliable, yet operationally efficient. With these new network management applications integrated into the Meru Service Assurance Platform and powered by our underlying Virtual Cell technology, we believe enterprises will be able to offer their users a consistently productive experience with the ability to proactively manage and mitigate application performance issues."

The Meru Service Assurance Platform is designed to deliver an integrated suite of proactive diagnostic, security and management tools. Existing service offerings, including Service Assurance Manager, E(z)RF Network Manager and E(z)RF Location Manager, are complemented with a new set of security and diagnosis applications, Spectrum Manager, Intrusion Prevention, Compliance Manager and Wired and Wireless Management.

We believe Meru is leading the transformation of the all-wireless environment with the only virtualized WLAN solution in the marketplace, delivering Wireless-like-Wire. Meru is able to confidently offer enterprise these performance assurances because of its virtualized WLAN architecture, which makes use of Virtual Cell technology. Because the Virtual Cell pools radio resources into a seamless layer of coverage, Meru avoids the artificial boundaries that legacy WLAN systems impose. As a result, all Meru Access Points (APs) use the same radio channels and appear as one, letting client devices move freely throughout a network without disruptive handoffs.

"As WLANs rapidly become the default and even primary (and certainly preferred) network access technology, IT and network-operations organizations must be equipped with the tools needed to optimize WLAN and application performance," said Craig Mathias, principal at Farpoint Group. "I believe the new additions to the Meru Service Assurance Platform, making use of Meru's virtualized WLAN approach, will allow enterprises to get the best possible performance out of their wireless network via enhanced security, management and spectrum-analysis services - all must-haves for enterprises as a mission-critical role for WLANs becomes common."

Meru's Wired and Wireless Management solution is designed to deliver a proactive set of performance monitoring products that run across both wired and wireless networks. Through the partnership with SolarWinds, Meru will be able to offer two complementary network management solutions that, when used in conjunction, give IT managers granular, centralized management and reporting for the majority of network devices and elements on the enterprise network.

IT organizations will be able to use Meru's E(z)RF Network Manager and SolarWinds Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM) together to increase efficiency in the initial deployment and ongoing operation of their entire network. In addition, when issues do occur, IT departments will be able to evaluate the business impact of the issue within minutes, across the entire wired-wireless network infrastructure. Without this complete visibility, this same process could cost organizations enormous time and expense. The combination offers a level of visibility that many legacy vendors are unable to offer.

As new devices and applications are added to the WLAN, there has been an increasing number of wireless interference issues and resulting performance degradation. Meru intends to offer spectrum analysis through a Proactive Spectrum Manager (PSM), a standalone system that is separate from the AP but located on the WLAN to help IT detect and avoid interference and "noisy" channels.

As part of the Meru Service Assurance Platform framework, Meru will offer a fine-grained Spectrum Manager that is designed to work with the PSM to enable enterprises to proactively and precisely detect, analyze and locate the source of interference. Unlike competing solutions that only enable users to "isolate" interference issues to a particular location after the problem has occurred, Meru's solution is designed to offer real-time and historical detection of RF interference sources based on automated and proactive spectrum management.

Spectrum Manager is designed to enable enterprises to find and classify the sources of interference such as cordless phones, gaming controllers, Bluetooth devices, microwave ovens and other non-Wi-Fi devices. Once IT has the information relating to the interference such as type and source, a decision can be made as to whether or not to remove, adjust or work around the source of the issue. By revealing the various congestion points on the wireless spectrum, IT can take the necessary actions. Through location mapping, IT can pinpoint the issue and resolve it before there has been an impact on the WLAN. Spectrum Manager can also determine channel quality and channel utilization from both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi interference on all channels, eliminating potential threats before they become a problem.

Meru offers a comprehensive security management solution for virtualized WLANs. It combines the proactive protection of a wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) with comprehensive monitoring and verification, offering peace of mind to organizations of all sizes. With Meru's multi-layered security model, which spans from the virtual layer to the physical layer, the wireless network is protected and secure for managing sensitive data.

Through WIPS, Meru is adding new capabilities designed to monitor the radio spectrum for the presence of unauthorized APs. Included in this new service are predefined signatures and support for customizable thresholds. With these new enhancements, IT managers have the ability to detect an intrusion and take countermeasures if someone is illegally entering the network. Specifically, WIPS offers protection against denial of service attacks, backdoor attacks, password cracking, physical layer attacks, spoofing, and hacking tools.

Meru also intends to add new capabilities for managing credit card data through its Compliance Manager. All organizations that handle credit card data must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a set of security best practices intended to protect credit card numbers and customers' personal information. Compliance Manager is designed to continually check the network's security posture against best practices and policies, enabling organizations to improve security on an ongoing basis. With Meru's Compliance Manager, IT has automatic discovery and archival of wireless assets and configurations and historical and on-demand reporting of PCI & DSS 2.0 compliance for consistent security and policy actions.
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