AI-powered wireless LAN startup Mist snags $46M in series C

The programmable cloud architecture is able to track and adapt to each user and their devices in order to deliver a reliable and consistent connection. (Mist)

Wireless LAN provider Mist has secured $46 million in funding for its pioneering AI-powered WLAN services. Founded by former Cisco executives, Mist claims its cloud-based WLAN offering for enterprise is the world’s first self-learning network, driven by the company’s proprietary AI technology, which automates much of the network’s management.

The programmable cloud architecture is able to track and adapt to each user and their devices in order to deliver a reliable and consistent connection, according to a company blogpost. It does this by tracking over 100 pre- and postconnection states for every Wi-Fi client, and then sending that information to the Mist Cloud every few seconds to be run through multiple machine learning algorithms. The solution can also calculate mobile users’ locations with low latency.

The wireless LAN offering “minimizes costs and provides unprecedented insight into mobile user experiences,” according to Mist CEO and co-founder Sujai Hajela. The company, which has raised $88 million since its launch in 2014, plans to use its new funding to further advance its AI technology.

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RELATED: Mist adds new features to WLAN platform

Mist’s WLAN service for enterprise customers has gained significant traction in a few short years, thanks to its AI and machine learning features. Verizon announced it has tapped Mist for its AI technology in Verizon’s own software-defined WLAN offering to speed deployments and reduce costs. “Innovation around management of WLANs has not kept pace,” Verizon VP of product management and development Vickie Lonker said in a release. She added AI-powered management solutions like Mist’s represent “the next step in our overall SDN strategy.”

Beyond wireless access, Mist has also launched an Asset Visibility Service aimed at indoor positioning in the industrial IoT space. The service enables users to quickly locate connected machines and devices via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Low Energy protocols. Mist claims it is more accurate than traditional indoor location services, and does not rely on battery-powered beacons.

The company’s recent series C investment round was led by Kleiner Perkins. Google’s GV, NTT Docomo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Dimension Data, and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated in the round.

Mist has also struck distribution deals with Japan-based Net One Partners and WAV, Inc. in the U.S. But the company is not without competitors. HP’s Aruba, Brocade’s Ruckus Wireless and Meraki are all targeting enterprise customers for so-called next-generation and IoT-centric WLAN offerings.

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