Aruba unveils portable business LAN

Aruba Networks is shipping its Mobile Edge, a portable WLAN AP which will allow business travelers to plug in a bubble of corporate WLAN wherever they are. Aruba's Keerti Melkote posited Aruba's solution as an alternative to Cisco's effort to sell upgrades to the network for the purpose of supporting wireless, security, and VoIP. Aruba's approach is different: "Mobility, security and VoIP are all at layers 4 to 7 of the network model, so they can be delivered as an overlay."

The new Mobile Edge is an outgrowth of Aruba's grid-points. The WLAN switches (or as Aruba now calls them, mobility controllers) support WPA2 security and 802.1x authentication and add site-to-site VPNs. There are two APs in the new line--single radio AP-41 and dual-radio AP-65. The AP-65, a three-inch square box, can produce an "instant office" anywhere when plugged into the Internet through an Ethernet socket. The business traveler may then use laptops, WiFi phones or similarly equipped gear to connect to the office LAN through an encrypted tunnel (Aruba 6000 controller can handle up to 7 Gbps of encrypted traffic). "Users can throw out their VPN servers," Melkote said. "They have already moved from traditional IPsec to SSL VPNs, but neither of these support voice."

For more on Aruba's new solution:
- see Peter Judge's Techworld report

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