Aruba’s EdgeConnect Microbranch aims to simplify remote-work networking

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) subsidiary Aruba Networks has announced a new offering, called EdgeConnect Microbranch, designed to simplify the complexity of work-from-home networks for businesses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to change the way they use their networks as they had to support an increasing number of users and devices connecting from remote locations. During the pandemic, the number of workers working remotely for businesses increased, reaching 72% of the total workforce, compared to just 38% before COVID hit, according to an IDC survey. The survey also showed that companies expect more than half of their employees to work remotely in one way or another, indicating the need for a long-term change in network architectures.

SD-WAN and SASE for the home office

Aruba’s new package, offered as part of its network infrastructure package called Edge Services Platform (ESP), builds on the company’s existing services to provide a remote office experience through remote access points ( RAP) by adding SD-WAN capabilities without the need for additional on-premises hardware, the company said.

These SD-WAN capabilities, which include policy-based routing, tunnel and path orchestration, SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) integration, and enhanced WAN visibility, are designed to enable enterprises to mimic and deliver a full range of services from connectivity in the office and campus. to remote workers, with no gateway, agent, or new hardware required at the remote site, according to Aruba. The goal is to simultaneously increase productivity and safety, the company said.

While the policy-based routing feature will enable enterprise IT teams to deliver application performance and security based on service level agreements or user types, the tunnel and route orchestration feature, depending on the enterprise, enables enterprises to optimize network performance by choosing the best VPN tunnel for the task depending on load and other factors.

The enhanced WAN visibility feature is designed to enable IT teams to monitor remote locations and troubleshoot in real time while providing an eagle’s eye view of network utilization, latency, jitter, and other connectivity issues.

Routing capabilities protect application traffic

Aruba’s EdgeConnect Microbranch adds more granular capabilities for IT and network workers to secure application traffic for remote workers through policy-based routing and advanced routing orchestration, according to Brandon Butler, research manager at IDC for business networks.

“The integration of SASE with ZScaler will also accelerate the time-to-market for organizations to build secure connections for remote workers,” said Butler.

“We have seen many SD-WAN vendors, from Cisco / Meraki to VMware / VeloCloud and Palo Alto Networks, all come up with solutions that allow organizations to leverage the capabilities of SD-WAN to support remote workers. Merakis’s Z3 and Palo Alto Networks’ Okyo Garde are very similar to Aruba’s solutions, ”he said.

Aruba’s EdgeConnect Microbranch, generally available in March 2022 to any AP (access point) running the Aruba10 operating system with a Foundation AP license, is expected to help contact center workers in particular, Butler said.

“Contact center workers need highly reliable connections that are secure in dealing with personally identifiable information. Other classes of workers that we hope will support ‘branch of one’ architectures include developers, financial traders, telehealth workers and executives, “said Butler.

The “branch of one” architecture is a term used to describe new networks being planned in the aftermath of a pandemic that require or require improved connectivity, security and collaboration while offering a managed “out of the box” office. through the cloud.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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