Digital disruption is the new normal. Organizations of all sizes in all industries are embracing digital technologies to meet the needs of a changing workplace and customer base. Mobility, the internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, big data, social media and digital transformation are prime catalysts for this new era. Taken together, they deliver a message that is clear and powerful: There is no more business as usual these days.
That characterization—no more business as usual—also applies to the underlying networks that support and enable this new era. Legacy network architectures built for the client-server era were not designed to meet the needs of today’s mobile/IoT/cloud-enabled organizations and their customers. Where do they fall short? Practically everywhere: Performance, visibility, agility, bandwidth, security and complexity.
Users—and that category increasingly includes IoT devices—don’t care whether they are on a wired, wireless or mobile network: They care that they have unfettered and secure access at any time from any location using any device, with zero tolerance for downtime, latency or any other gaps affecting their ability to do what they want, when they want to do it.
Why a New Networking Approach is Needed
The architecture of most campus networks was defined in the client server era, when the primary need was to increase wired access speeds and internetwork more locations. Today’s challenges are much different.
Mobility has changed the nature of access, requiring support for multiple devices per person with unpredictable locations, new traffic patterns, unknown devices on the network and a more sophisticated threat landscape without a trusted perimeter. Cloud computing has also changed the nature of applications toward centralized architectures, shifting user application traffic from client-server to app-cloud.
In today’s environment the campus network must take on three roles:
- Access IoT
- Wireless backhaul
The old client-server model is ill-equipped to handle all of these roles, and is particularly brittle in the core of the network. In modernizing the campus network, strategists and architects need to focus on three key areas:
Modernizing Network Design and Architecture
Modern network design and architecture should start with the seamless integration of the wired and wireless networks. Network teams should be able to integrate wired and wireless solutions for simple deployment, provisioning and management, leveraging advanced visibility, troubleshooting and automation capabilities across the entire network.
The network should apply uniform security and access policies to users in headquarters, branch offices and on the road, and users should be able to securely access the network regardless of physical location, whether wired or wireless, with an always-on, consistent experience.
Choosing the Right Provider
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, has designed its campus network solution to serve as the foundation for the digital workplace. With solutions such as the Aruba 8400 Switch Series, ArubaOS 8, Aruba Mobility Master, Aruba 802.11ac Wave 2 access points, Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager, Aruba AirWave, and cloud-based Aruba Central, Aruba offers a modern approach to the digital workplace that unifies wired and wireless networks and delivers innovations in visibility, troubleshooting and innovation. Key elements of the Aruba portfolio include:
- Aruba 8400 Switch Series: This core and aggregation switch combines a fully programmable operating system with carrier-grade hardware. It incorporates an industry-first Network Analytics Engine to easily monitor and troubleshoot network, system application and security issues.
- ArubaOS 8: This is the operating system for all Aruba Mobility Controllers, Virtual Mobility Controllers, Mobility Master and controller-managed wireless access points. It delivers unified wired and wireless access, seamless roaming, enterprise grade security and an always-on network with the required performance, user experience and reliability to support high density environments.
- ClearPass Policy Manager: ClearPass solves today’s security challenges across any multi-vendor wired or wireless network by replacing outdated legacy AAA with context-aware policies. It delivers visibility, policy control and workflow automation in one cohesive solution.
- Aruba Mobility Master: This is a new component of the Aruba architecture that enables customers to take advantage of advanced features that require central coordination and for networks to scale due to increased demand for mobile and IoT devices. It provides automatic RF optimization and enables hitless failover in the event of a controller outage.
- Aruba AirWave and Aruba Central:Aruba’s network management solutions deliver granular visibility and predictive analytics for small businesses to large enterprises— locally or in the cloud.