Juniper Debuts First New WLAN Product Following Trapeze Acquisition

Juniper on Wednesday took the wraps off new switching, mobile security and wireless networking products, including its first new wireless offerings since acquiring Trapeze Networks for $152 million last November.

The new products are grouped under a Juniper portfolio called "Simply Connected," designed to address simpler wired networks and the management of mobile devices in the enterprise. Juniper's vision for those things includes switches that can leverage virtualized data center fabrics, and stronger mobile security controls to help customers in the BYOD (bring your own device) era of varied smartphones and tablets.

"This is a pretty profound set of challenges," said Alex Gray, senior vice president and general manager of Juniper's campus and branch business unit. "There's more traffic, more devices per user, and the net result is that the load these new devices place is what frequently constrains these networks."

New to the Juniper product set are three new Ethernet switch lines: the compact EX3300, the wall-mountable EX2200-C, and the modular, chassis-based EX6200. The 2200-C, specifically, is fan-less, and according to Gray meets a need for situations that require lots of wireless access but a small form factor and near-silent operation, such as in hotels.

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"We've gotten surprisingly many requests for micro-branches in places like hospitality," he said. "But it is not a low-entrant, small switch. It's full on Junos Space."

The EX3300 includes Juniper's Virtual Chassis fabric technology, which according to Juniper enables several interconnected switches to essentially operate as one device

"Virtual Chassis is sometimes dismissed as another variation of racking, but it's actually a fabric technology," Gray said. "Going beyond the management simplification, it also allows the switches to be in physically different locations, separated by as much as 80 kilometers."

The EX3300 and EX2200-C are available already, and the EX6200 ships in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Also new as of Wednesday is Juniper's WLC880 Wireless LAN Controller, the first new Juniper wireless product since it acquired Trapeze from previous owner Belden nearly a year ago. Juniper will be continuing to re-brand some of the Trapeze wireless LAN products, Gray said, but the WLC880 is a new product, intended for extending WLAN services to branch offices from enterprise sites.

The controller supports up to 256 access points and includes Juniper Networks Spectrum Management, which detects and manages RF interference, Gray explained.

The other new piece of Simply Connected is an update to Juniper's Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite, which includes secure network access controls, anti-malware and anti-theft capabilities and remote management for mobile devices. Apple mobile products like iPhone and iPad are now covered under the suite, meaning users can remotely lock and wipe lost or stolen devices, set and manage policy, provision VPNs, and perform other security functions.

Juniper has also made available full layer 3 SSL VPN and automatic application revocation and malware removal for "select" Google Android-based mobile devices.

NEXT: Juniper's Embrace Of The WLAN Channel

Trapeze was perhaps Juniper's most significant acquisition in a year full of them; in 2010, it bought Ankeena Networks, SMobile Systems, video storage and delivery assets from Blackwave, and virtualization security ace Altor.

At the end of the year, Juniper executives told CRN that the integration was being managed deliberately, and four months later at Juniper's Americas partner conference, Gray and other Juniper executives told partners it was time to continue to expand their core Juniper capabilities into areas like wireless.

Six months later, Gray said interest among Juniper partners in selling Juniper-branded wireless has picked up. Out of Juniper's sales theaters, he told CRN, Americas has been growing fastest for Juniper's wireless LAN business. Juniper has also retained the majority of Trapeze partners that were not already Juniper partners before the acquisition, Gray said.

Gray added that Juniper recognized many of its top solution providers already have established wireless LAN practices behind companies like Cisco, Aruba Networks and Meru Networks. One thing Juniper is doing to incent those partners to look more closely at Juniper is making it easier for them to certify with Juniper for wireless LAN sales.

"If someone already has a successful [wireless] practice, we will grandfather them in and accredit them," Gray said. There are some requirements and time to pass some competency exams, but if they've got the essential skills, it's an easy transition, he explained.

Based on the proliferation of mobile devices, wireless is something networking and data center VARs can't afford to ignore any longer, Gray said. Juniper isn't requiring partners to wholly embrace the Simply Connected portfolio, but they should think of Juniper's design for it as an architectural play, he said.

"We're fine if customers choose to pick among the Simply Connected elements," he said. "But the value is really accentuated when the architecture is deployed as a whole. It's a really good story for our partners to go to market with a specific vision."