Aruba ClearPass, Access Point Updates Tear Down IoT Security, Connectivity Barriers


Aruba on Tuesday unleashed a new ClearPass offering and series of access points to help enterprises and channel partners wrangle Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints and mobile devices.

Aruba's two new 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6-capable access points, the Aruba 530 and 550 series, are the latest editions to the company's 802.11ax-ready product line that are breaking through IoT security and connectivity hurdles, solution providers told CRN.

"Aruba is playing on the IoT explosion," said Philip Wegner, president of SecurEdge Networks, an Aruba partner. "Customers are asking about how to build the right infrastructure to support IoT and how to secure IoT, and Aruba is already on that path."

Charlotte, N.C.-based SecurEdge Networks specializes in subscription-based WiFi services and it is using Aruba technology to build its platforms. "We've looked at every [wireless vendor] but we continue to go back to Aruba because we think they are the most secure platform," he said. That's because Aruba's technology is built on top of a firewall, Wegner said.

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The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company also introduced Aruba ClearPass Device Insight, a "profiler combined with AI," according to partners. The ClearPass Device Insight interface uses machine learning to automatically discover and fingerprint all connected devices and IoT endpoints across any wired and Wi-Fi network, regardless of vendor.

Before now, businesses could see devices on their networks, but they often could only see its operating system or behavior, not whether the endpoint was specifically a security camera or a smart watch, for example. Using Device Insight, businesses can make decisions based on what part of the network or servers that a device should have access to and what it should be blocked from to prevent hacking, partners told CRN.

Cloud-hosted ClearPass Device Insight gives customers a single vantage point of all endpoints connected to their network, including typical devices such as workstations or iPhones, or more "exotic" devices, such as barcode scanners or medical devices, Paul Kaspian, senior product and solutions marketing manager for Aruba's enterprise security business unit, said.

"Customers have had very poor visibility into what was on their networks and they couldn't manage the risk associated with that," Kaspian said. "This is a big problem that our partners are interested in solving, and this tool can give their customers very quick visibility in everything across the network."

ClearPass Device Insight can help partners like SecurEdge can serve up more actionable business intelligence to its clients, Wegner said.

"The question everyone wants to know is what is really on their networks," he said. "The problem with IoT is that no one really knows what it there because there are so many different kinds of connected devices."

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, in November unveiled its first line of Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax-capable access points and switches, the Aruba 510 Series access points and 2930M access switches. The company also introduced the latest version of Aruba's NetInsights artificial intelligence software to power a new generation of IoT and edge computing solutions. Aruba's latest access points, the 530 and 550 series, are joining the product family.

Aruba's "solid" Wi-Fi 6-capable access point line focuses more on efficiency, as opposed to speed, said Wally Alicea, senior solutions architect for Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based solution provider and Aruba partner.

The extended 802.11ax access point line, which support WiFi 6, BlueTooth 5, and ZigBee, a standard used by low-powered IoT devices, will also simplify wireless deployment for partners, Alicea said. "Because [802.11ax] makes wireless more efficient, you're able to get more throughput than you did before."

The Aruba 530 and 550 Series AP are available this month in the U.S. with a base list price of $1,495 for the 530 Series and $1,895 for the 550 Series. ClearPass Device Insight will also start shipping this month via a one-year subscription starting at $1,260 USD for 100 devices, according to Aruba.