10 Innovative New Networking Products That Are Turning Heads

2017 Networking Products

Network vendors big and small are racing out of the gate in 2017 with new innovative products and revamped solutions, some from the likes of Cisco, VMware and Dell. Smaller networking companies such as Aerohive Networks and Cato Networks are also bringing fresh ideas to the market with software-defined WAN solutions and new Wave 2 access points.

With Dell-EMC's massive open network push in 2017, VMware's new software-defined networking product NSX-T, and Cisco's new version of Tetration, this year is shaping out to be a memorable one as the cloud continues to make vendors think outside the box.

Here are eight products launched in 2017 that are turning heads.

Dell's Multi-Gig Campus Switches

Dell launched into the new year with a pair of new open networking switches: the N3132PX-ON and N2128PX-ON, featuring multi-gig Ethernet ports. In addition to enabling multi-gig 2.5/5GbE, Dell said the switches bring open networking to the campus with support for third-party operating systems as well as shipping with Dell OS6.

Both the N3132 and N2128 switches offer up to 32-ports providing 60 watts of Power over Ethernet (PoE), with 40 GbE uplinks on the N3132.

"Customers are looking to move away from traditional networking," said Dell EMC networking boss Tom Burns in an interview with CRN. "They want to do something different, and Dell EMC and VMware are the visionaries."

Cisco Tetration Reloaded

Cisco has enhanced its breakthrough data center analytics appliance, Tetration Analytics, which was launched in June. The device can be installed in any data center with any servers, and with any network switches. The newest version of Tetration has enhanced capabilities to enable channel partners to turn visibility into action, according to Scott Mohr, director of Data Center/Cloud for Cisco's Global Partner Organization.

"The enhancements will enable channel partners to expand their customer engagements into network analytics with new deployment options, and provide customers with greater transparency and visibility into their data center environments to quickly make informed operational decisions," said Mohr, in a statement. "The enhanced Cisco Tetration Analytics allows partners to deliver application consulting services to customers and help create customized applications that run on the platform using a variety of methods, including restful APIs, push notification, and Tetration applications."

The new version provides the industry's first consistent security policy enforcement applied holistically across each application, regardless of the environment it resides in, according to Cisco.

Aerohive Connect, New AP's

Aerohive Networks introduced a new cloud networking solution that delivers enterprise connectivity and centralized management: Aerohive Connect. Connect provides cloud-managed networking to customers starting at the price of $229 per access point.

Together with Connect, the networking vendor also launched its new enterprise-grade 802.11ac access point: the AP122. The access point has a price tag of $229 and is a dual radio 802.11ac with built-in Bluetooth low energy technology, designed for coverage-focused environments as well as Internet of Things and location-based services.

’With Connect, we're looking forward to expanding our footprint and giving more customers a path to discover the full value of Aerohive's Wi-Fi and cloud networking solutions.’ said Aerohive CEO David Flynn, in a statement.

Cato Cloud SD-WAN Service

Cato Networks launched a new software-defined WAN service: the Cato Cloud. The solution converges networking with security to reduce the cost and complexity of existing networks, according to Cato. The Cato Cloud extends the WAN with policy-based routing, an SLA-backed global backbone, enterprise-grade network security as well as cloud and mobile support that reduces reliance on MPLS services.

Cato said the solution eliminates the need for additional firewalls, web filters, VPNs and other security products required by traditional SD-WAN deployments. By embedding security into the network fabric, Cato Cloud enables secure Internet access from branch locations without the need for backhauling or distributed security appliances, said the company.

"Cato Cloud is the blueprint for transforming the enterprise WAN for the business of the future," said Shlomo Kramer, co-founder and CEO of Cato Networks, in a release.

VMware NSX-T

VMware has expanded its software-defined networking solution, NSX, with a new version targeting non-vSphere environments: the NSX-T. Rajiv Ramaswami, COO, Products and Cloud Services for VMware, told CRN that its new NSX-T product enables networking and security management for new application frameworks and architectures that have diverse endpoints and technology stacks.

"NSX-T is very focused on non-vShpere environments – for example, a developer cloud where people are working on KVM and OpenStack for instance. For those environments, we expect initial adoption of NSX-T," said Ramaswami. "From a channel partner perspective this year, the focus will continue to remain very much on the NSX product, not on NSX-T." He said NSX-T is hypervisor agnostic and compatible to work on any hypervisor, not just vSphere.

Riverbed SteelHead

Riverbed launched a new line of SteelHead SD models, which combines SteelConnect and industry-leading WAN optimization into a streamlined single-device solution, providing network-agility and one-click connectivity into Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Servicers for application and cloud performance. SteelConnect is Riverbed's software-defined WAN solution that provides a simplified approach to designing, deploying and managed distributed networks via the cloud.

The new line of SteelHead SD -- models 570-SD, 770-SD & 3070-SD -- integrates SD-WAN and WAN optimization services into a streamlined single-device offering. Additionally, Riverbed unveiled a new SteelConnect SDI-5030 Data Center Gateway Appliances simplify the deployment of SD-WAN for large-scale global networks.

Revamped Big Switch Cloud Fabric For VMware, Dell, Red Hat

Big Switch Networks revamped their flagship Big Cloud Fabric solution to include new networking support for hyper-converged solutions powered by VMware vSAN as well as virtual desktop and application solutions for VMware Horizon. Big Switch increased the fabric's performance, scale and deployment flexibility targeting the software-defined data center market. The fabric now supports 25G/100G open networking switches from the likes of Dell and Edgecore.

Additionally, the revamped Big Cloud Fabric has API integration for Mesosphere DC/OS container orchestration, Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes managing Docker containers and the ability to deploy heterogeneous container environments on the same physical fabric, according to a release.

Polycom New Video Conferencing Products

Video conferencing specialist Polycom launched a pair of new products: Immersive Studio Flex and EagleEye Director II, aiming to improve the virtual meeting room experience.

The Immersive Studio Flex solution consists of high-definition audio along with an 18-foot video wall made up of three 4K UltraHD display screens. The meeting room solution supports content sharing as well as Microsoft Skype for Business functionality.

The EagleEye Director II camera is an enhanced version of Polycom's voice tracking technology. The camera automatically hones in on a speaker in the room and can pan out when additional people join the discussion.

Cisco Spark Board

Arguably one of Cisco's coolest products ever, the networking giant's new Spark Board integrates 4K ultra-high-definition cameras, microphones, audio with voice-tracking technology, Spark APIs and an interactive whiteboard all into a 55-inch touch screen with messaging, conferencing and Telepresence capabilities.

With a price tag of $4,990 and a $199 monthly software subscription model, Cisco partners are calling Spark Board a revolutionary collaboration product that will open the door to new markets. The product will automatically connect to any laptop, PC, Mac or mobile device with no Wi-Fi, network connection or Bluetooth required, using instead what Cisco calls "new ultrasound wireless pairing."

Juniper Expands SDSN

Juniper Networks is significantly expanding its Software-Defined Secure Networks (SDSN) platform by forming multiple technology partnerships with several vendors across a variety of critical areas including endpoint security, cloud access security, and network access control.

The new vendors joining Juniper's alliance are Carbon Black, Netskope, CipherCloud, ForeScout and Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. These companies will leverage Juniper's APIs to integrate their security capabilities into Juniper's SDSN platform. Juniper's platform enables customers to create cohesive security infrastructures with managed and deployed best-in-class products for advanced threat intelligence sharing and prevention, according to the company.