The vendors are offering new capabilities that make it easier for IT administrators to identify employee-owned smartphones and tablets that are on the corporate networks.
Alcatel-Lucent and AirTight Networks are rolling out
offerings designed to address the growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend
that is putting increasing pressure on corporate networks.
With the rapid growth in the use of smartphones and now
tabletsparticularly Apples popular iPademployees and C-level executives are
increasingly demanding access to corporate networks and data through their
personal mobile devices. While its proven to be a productivity boon for
employees, the BYOD
has forced IT and data center administrators to reconsider everything
from network security to bandwidth capacity.
In particular, they have to figure out how to enable
employees to get onto the network without opening up security holes and without
slowing down network speeds with bandwidth-siphoning applications. Networking
vendors are coming out with products aimed at helping businesses handle the
trend. Most recently, Extreme Networks on March 7 introduced its new Intelligent
Mobile Edge solution
Alcatel-Lucent is adding what company officials are calling
an application fluency capability to its Converged Network Solution offering.
Essentially the feature enables the network to identify not only which device
is on the network, but also who is using it and what applications are being
run. The network also can recognize whether the application being run is critical
to the businessand requires a high quality of service and a lot of
bandwidthand which applications are less critical and can be given what
officials are calling best effort treatment.
helps enterprises keep their employees satisfied and productive, while reducing
the capacity-sapping impact of personal services and devices on their networks,
Stephane Robineau, vice president and general manager of Alcatel-Lucent
Enterprise Network Business, said in a statement. As importantly, by building
application fluency capabilities into the network, we are also making it
possible for enterprises to ensure that employees who need guaranteed service
quality for bandwidth-heavy applications, like video conferencing, can get it
when they need it.
At the same time, the new feature also makes it easier for
corporate networks to accommodate new services from the outside, such as those
coming in from cloud computing environments, Robineau said.
Alcatel-Lucent jumped into the network fabric fray last year,
joining such rivals as Cisco Systems, Avaya and Juniper Networks.
Alcatel-Lucents Converged Network Solution includes everything from
high-bandwidth wire-rate core switches to support for 40 Gigabit Ethernet,
100GbE and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).
As part of the solution, the company also is adding the OmniSwitch
6450 Ethernet LAN switch, a 1GbE device that offers network access and can
include 10GbE uplinks. The switch will be available in the second quarter.
For its part, AirTight on March 14 introduced new device
fingerprinting capabilities in its SpectraGuard Enterprise Wireless Intrusion
Prevention Services (WIPS) and AirTight Cloud Services offerings. The new
features are designed to make it easier to identify devices that are coming
onto the network and ensure that they comply with corporate policies, according
to Jatin Parekh, vice president of product management for AirTight.
"AirTight uses correlation of information from
over-the-air and on-the-wire packets," Parekh said in a statement.
"This method produces accurate information about all smart devices (including
iPhones, iPads, Androids and BlackBerrys) connected to the network to enable
automatic classification and policy enforcement of 'approved' vs. 'unapproved'
The new capabilities also include a patent-pending workflow
to simplify BYOD management, a method to quarantine unapproved mobile devices
and authorized mobile WiFi hotspots, automatic pinpointing of the physical
location of any WiFi device on premise, a BYOD management API that can
integrate with any mobile device management (MDM) solution, and BYOD reports
that are sent the managers inbox.
Industry observers have talked about the pressure the BYOD
trend is putting on corporate IT departments, and the pushback from some
businesses to employees wanting to use their personal devices on the network.
However, a study by Avanade in January found that most companies
are embracing the BYOD trend,
rather than fighting it.
According to the study, about 60 percent of businesses are
adapting their IT infrastructures to accommodate employees who want to use their
smartphones and tablets, and that 65 percent of C-level executives consider the
BYOD trend a top priority for their businesses.
"Despite the notion that business leaders are resisting
the shift, we found that companies are investing in staff and resources to
enable the consumerization of IT and have many of the resources that are needed
today," Avanade Global CTO Tyson Hartman said.