Meru Targets Cloud-Based Wireless, Mobility Controls

Meru Networks unveiled several additions to its wireless LAN portfolio, including a low-cost wired and wireless access point intended for remote or mobile workers and a line of virtual wireless controls that can be deployed on-premise, in virtualized environments or as subscription-based hosted applications.

Meru's virtual mobility controllers are VMware-based virtual appliances that operate on x86 platforms and use Meru's System Director software. Meru also said its E(z)RF services and Meru Identity Manager guest access products can now be deployed as hosted services.

The new access point, AP110, is designed to replace VPN infrastructure by offering secure, virtualized Wi-Fi access to corporate networks for remote offices and teleworkers. It's a two-stream 802.11n wireless point that integrates with Meru's various controllers, management products and System Director software and includes built-in TLS-VPN encryption. It can support up to 10 devices simultaneously, according to Meru, and lists at $149.

"Wireless is becoming so much more important to the mobile enterprise. People want access to their resources anywhere, anytime and securely," said Kamal Anand, senior vice president of product management. "What we're seeing is an evolution of networking architecture. It won't happen overnight but for certain applications there's a definite trend now toward cloud-based services."

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Anand stressed that Meru would sell all of the cloud-based versions of the services through the channel and intends for partners to add monitoring and other services on top of Meru's cloud offerings as a package. About 15 percent of Meru's partners are set up to leverage the Meru services using their own data centers, Anand said.

In terms of hypervisor configuration, Meru confirmed only VMware for its releases, though Anand said the company hasn't ruled out Citrix, Microsoft and other virtualization partnerships.

"From a technology perspective, there's no limitation here," he said.

Meru has been steady in its product and platform updates in the past year, including updates to System Director last fall and the launch of new security products following its acquisition of Identity Networks in September.

The company also has steadily expanded its channel community and recently hired Gary Abad, a veteran of Kaspersky Lab, Polycom and F5 Networks, as its new vice president of channel sales.

Executive changes have been frequent at the company. Meru hasn't yet named a successor for CEO Ihab Abu-Hakima, who said in October that he will transition out of the company as soon as his replacement is found.