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Aruba Gets Into Wired Network Management

When it comes to managing an enterprise network, should it matter whether a user is wired or wireless?

For Aruba Networks (NASDAQ: ARUN), the answer is no. The wireless networking vendor is now integrating the management of both wired and wireless networking as part of its Airwave 7 product release -- the latest iteration in a networking management suite that previously had been tasked primarily with managing wireless networks alone.

"The networking management systems that we have were great when the office computer was hooked up to the wall, but now we have users that are roaming our halls and are coming through remote networks, " Bryan Wargo, general manager of Aruba's Airwave division, told InternetNews.com. "We really need a management system where the core DNA is mobility. "

Wargo added that with Airwave 7, Aruba is moving beyond wireless access points and controllers to handle management of switches and the rest of the wired network.

The real goal of the wired integration, according to Wargo, is to enable IT administrators to quickly identify the root cause of an issue, whether it's wired or wireless.

Airwave 7 is available as a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service offering as well as a Linux-based software appliance. Wargo noted that Aruba uses the Red Hat clone CentOS as its underlying operating system for the Airwave software appliance.

Wargo noted that Airwave's wired management would also support switches from HP Procurve as well as Cisco.

Airwave 7 will provide details on firmware versions as well as be able to drill down to bandwidth by port. That detail will help network managers to identify where their wireless access points are plugged, so that if an access point goes down, it will be possible to determine if the wired network is the cause.

Aruba had previously only limited awareness of the wired network with prior Airwave releases. Wargo said that now with Airwave 7, there is a comprehensive monitoring and management capability for edge network switches.

A degree of wired network management was also something that Aruba included with its Linux-based remote access control solution, which it announced in May.

In addition to the wired networking enhancements, Airwave 7 improved wireless management with its mobile device manager, which provides management for handheld devices like barcode scanner as well as peripherals such as wireless printers.

Aruba has also improved its Visual RF module for Airwave that enables an administrator to see where access points and wireless usage is coming from. With Airwave 7, Visual RF now has an offline planning function, so users can figure out where access points should belong.

For the wired network, the planning feature can identify cable runs as well as where switches are deployed.

For future releases of Airwave, Mike Tennefoss, Aruba's head of strategic marketing, told InternetNews.com that Aruba will continue to expand its efforts to make wireless networks even more pervasive and reliable to use.

"Everything is focused on the delivery of the network and ensuring its reliability," Tennefoss said. "Our network right-sizing program is focused on using wireless everywhere you can and wired only where you must. "

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the internet.com network.