The 10 Hottest New Network Tools Of 2019

Networking tools are becoming more intelligent, automated and secure as enterprise networks become more and more complicated. CRN gathers up ten of the hottest new network tools Of 2019.

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IT providers -- from wireless providers, application specialists, and even telecom providers -- know that a strong network is critical for running applications and ultimately, serving end customers.

Intelligence and automation were the name of the game in 2019 as vendors flooded the market with networking solutions packed with new configuration capabilities, machine-learning features, and deeper visibility. Some providers expanded upon existing offers, while others teamed up to create networking offerings that could meet the needs of increasingly complicated enterprise networks and even mitigate risks or failures before anyone notices any trouble.

From insight and monitoring, to advancements in wireless infrastructure, here are ten of the hottest new network tools of 2019.

Get more of CRN's 2019 tech year in review.

Aruba NetEdit 2.0

Networking specialist Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard company, in October unveiled NetEdit 2.0, the second version of its switch configuration software platform that has now been integrated with Aruba's Network Analytics Engine (NAE).

The second version of Aruba NetEdit 2.0 has been strengthened with the company's NAE which gives businesses, as well as channel partners supporting customers, an easy way to visualize their switches, and control, configure, and makes changes, all in one place. Having the NAE embedded into every switch can surface new insights and drive new workflows for customers, according to the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company.

AT&T, Microsoft's Network Edge Compute (NEC) Technology

Telecom giant AT&T and tech leader Microsoft teamed up in July in a multi-year, multi-billion dollar deal to support each other in cloud and 5G as AT&T pledged to move most of its non-network workloads to the public cloud by 2024.

In November, the two companies opened up select availability for its Network Edge Compute (NEC), a technology that brings Microsoft Azure cloud services into AT&T network edge locations closer to customers. The new technology means that Dallas-based AT&T’s software-defined and virtualized 5G core; what the company calls its Network Cloud – is now capable of delivering Azure services. NEC is now available in certain parts of Dallas. The two companies plan to roll out NEC in parts of Atlanta and Los Angeles in 2020.

Cambium Networks cnPilot

Cambium Networks in August acquired Xirrus Wi-Fi products and cloud services from Riverbed Technology to boost its enterprise networking portfolio, which the company has been working to integrate Xirrus' high-density technology into the Cambium enterprise platform.

Specifically, Xirrus technology is now complementing cnPilot, Cambium's indoor and outdoor cloud-managed Wi-Fi solution for businesses. During the Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based company's Q3, Cambium launched its new cloud managed cnPilot indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi solutions, including cnPilot e505, cnPilot e510 and cnPilot e425H.

The company in 2019 increased its channel partners by 29 percent, Cambium said.

Cisco's Embedded Wireless Controller

Unveiled in November, Cisco's Embedded Wireless Controller (EWC) can be embedded directly onto the company's new Wi-Fi 6-capable Catalyst 9130 access point. With Cisco EWC, control can be placed right on the access point without the need for another controller. For business customers, Cisco EWC means an easier path to the Wi-Fi 6 network and simplifies deployment and management because it eliminates the need for a dedicated physical appliance.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco said the EWC is a good fit for distributed enterprises or businesses looking to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 with minimal IT resources.

Extreme Networks Cloud Management App

Networking provider Extreme Networks in October launched its cloud management application, ExtremeCloud IQ.

The ExtremeCloud IQ platform is based on Aerohive Networks' popular HiveManager product which Extreme acquired in August for $210 million. The platform is helping channel partners transition to MSPs because it can give partners different levels of control over the infrastructure they are managing, according to the San Jose, Calif.-based company.

The ExtremeCloud IQ platform also includes Co-Pilot, a software-based automation capability that can help businesses and partners execute time-sensitive tasks.

F5 Beacon

Application delivery specialist F5 Networks in December rolled out F5 Beacon, a cloud-native insight offering that can increase a businesses' overall visibility into every application it deploys, regardless of the environment, according to the Seattle-based company.

F5 Beacon lets end users monitor, track, and report on the availability and performance of every application. It can also integrate with any type of deployment across public and private cloud properties, F5 said.

F5 Networks in May completed its NGINX acquisition, a firm focused on application delivery software, for $670 million.

Intermedia Unite Envision

Cloud communications specialist Intermedia, which helps channel partners sell cloud-based communications to business customers, in March unveiled a brand-new analytics platform, Intermedia Unite Envision.

Unite Envision lets partners and customers monitor the performance of Intermedia Unite's UC and collaboration tools in real-time. Users and partners can use Envision to keep an eye on their voice and video call quality and identify any issues or trends that could be causing issues via a QoS Dashboard for customers and a Partner Dashboard for solution providers. Partners and users can also create customizable notifications based on quality thresholds, according to the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company.

Juniper/Mist Marvis Actions Dashboard

Juniper in November revealed that its recently-acquired Mist technology -- specifically, Mist’s AI engine, Marvis -- got an upgrade. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Juniper has been working to create a single interface for wired and wireless environments, injected with automation, and the Marvis Actions dashboard does just that. The new dashboard, a capability within Mist’s Marvis Virtual Network Assistant (VNA) Service, can identify the root cause of issues across the wireless LAN, WAN and security environment. It can automatically resolve a problem when possible or, if the issue is outside the domain of the access network, Marvis will give IT administrators recommended actions to take. Marvis can additionally provide visibility for third-party switches, proactively identifying issues, including inactive or missing VLANs, firmware compliance, or Power over Ethernet budget constraints, according to Juniper.

Juniper acquired AI-powered networking startup Mist Systems in March for $405 million.

NetFoundry Developer Platform

Cloud networking firm NetFoundry Inc. in November updated its NetFoundry Developer Platform to embed cloud networking into cloud-native applications.

Today, the NetFoundry Developer Platform offers SDKs, APIs, and Zero Trust connectors to empower modern applications with security and optimized performance, regardless of where the applications travel to and from, including mobile, edge and IoT environments, as well as service meshes, according to the Charlotte, N.C.-based company. The platform can also eliminate the need for customer VPNs to bridge private networks, NetFoundry said.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

IT management software provider SolarWinds is consistently updating its Network Performance Monitor solution, a multi-vendor networking monitoring platform that can be easily scaled, the company said.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is a platform that's customizable and can automatically discover network devices. Deployable in an hour, the platform offers visibility over an entire network with an intuitive user interface, according to the Austin, Texas-based company.

In April, SolarWinds announced it acquired Canadian password and documentation management firm Passportal to boost security for its MSP customers around the world.