Meru is rolling out an enhanced integrated WLAN solution that includes Smart Connect, which enables employees to securely connect their mobile devices to the corporate network with a single click.
Meru Networks is offering its own
solution to help businesses deal with the rising tide of WiFi devices tapping
into the corporate networks, part of a larger release of products that includes
new WLAN controllers and 802.11n access points.
With Smart Connect-an optional software
module unveiled Oct. 24 that enables corporate networks to identify a wireless
or wired device trying to connect and then apply appropriate management and
security policies-Meru joins a growing number of vendors looking to help businesses
deal with the expanding bring-your-own-device
that is putting tremendous pressure on enterprises IT staffs.
Businesses can no longer hand out
company-issued smartphones and other mobile devices and assume workers will be
satisfied, according to Kamal Anand, senior vice president of product marketing
for Meru. Now workers are coming in with their own devices and demanding access
to the corporate network, creating management and security headaches for their
"It means a lot of the burden gets put
on IT," Anand said in an interview with eWEEK
The trend will only continue, as more
workers go mobile and more of them accumulate mobile devices. Anand quoted
analyst reports that indicate that by 2014, 1.9 billion WiFi devices will be
hitting corporate networks, and those devices will only grow in number and
complexity. About 59 percent of enterprise IT staffs now support employee-owned
smartphones, he said, adding that the turnover-or "churn"-of the devices is
going up to 25 to 50 percent a year, increasing the pressure on IT staffs.
Meru's Smart Connect is designed to
simplify the process of identifying and authenticating mobile devices-including
smartphones and tablets-that are trying to access the corporate WiFi network, a
process that currently is labor-intensive and time-consuming. According to
Anand, if an employee wants to gain access with his or her own mobile or wired
device for the first time, Smart Connect checks to see if it is owned by the
employee or company.
The software then temporarily
configures the device to meet corporate security and management policies,
authenticates the device and connects it via WiFi. The solution essentially
takes what is now is a multistep process for employees and enables them to do
it all with one click.
"All the complexity is hidden from the
user," Anand said.
After that, when the device tries to
gain access to the network, it can log on and have the management and security
policies restarted automatically.
Smart Connect currently supports
Apple's iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as devices running Google's Android
mobile OS and Microsoft's Windows. It also supports a range of wireless protocols,
from WPA and WPA2 to 802.1x, WPA-PSK and WPA2-PSK. Plus, it can work in multivendor,
Smart Connect is part of Meru's
Identity Manager offering and a larger integrated WLAN solution from the
vendor. Meru also unveiled System Director 5, a new release of its operating
system, which can now identify unified communications solutions such as
Microsoft's Lync. With its Air Traffic Control technology, System Director 5
enables thousands of devices and applications to access the network at the same
time and ensures proper levels of service. The software puts the network-not
the device-in charge of network connectivity, according to Anand.
Meru also is rolling out the AP400 line
of access points, with all access points having up to three 802.11n radios that
each support three data streams, giving each radio a data rate of 450M bps. One
model, the AP433is, also uses one radio as an RF sensor.
System Director 5 also powers Meru's
high-capacity controllers, the MC3200 and MC4200, which are powered by Intel
processors and offer enhanced performance.