Technology Blog

Five new Wi-Fi technologies that mimic self-driving cars


Living in the Bay Area, it’s not unusual to see Google’s autonomous cars humming along on the commute to work.  Personally, I cringe at the thought of turning the wheel over to a robot. I’m even holding out on the move to an automatic transmission. But a recent car crash that may (or may not) have resulted from me taking off my car’s traction control had me thinking… robots are probably way better, safer, more law abiding drivers than us feeble humans.


The reality is, robots are awesome. And automation is usually about saving us from something we don’t really want to do anyways.


Such is the case with Wi-Fi. Yes, there’s a quiet dignity to the countless hours we spend manually tweaking and retooling VLANs, ACLs, SSIDs, and RF settings. But with the advent of #GenMobile, its now nearly impossible to keep up with these tasks. It’s like me losing control in my car, thinking I could control traction on my own, while pretending to be Michael Schumacher. If a robot car had passed me, it surely would have chuckled to itself, “silly human”. And just like my car, Wi-Fi networks are ending up in the ditch.


But now there’s a better way.


This week, Aruba introduces Mobility-Defined Networks, a new architecture that makes the all-wireless workplace a reality, even in a #GenMobile world where our devices and apps are second nature. It does this by putting mobility first, constantly evaluating the mobile environment and using this information to automate security and network actions. The major innovation here is automation, which finally makes the all-wireless workplace a smartphone and tablet-friendly place and lets IT focus on making the network more strategic to the business by introducing new policies and workflows


Here are some of the new features that comprise Mobility Defined Networks.


1. Next Generation Mobility Firewall

As you’re taking a #selfie of you and your hot Tinder date on the way to TGI Fridays, your autonomous car pulls to the side of the road to let an ambulance pass.


This is the same concept behind a major enhancement to Aruba’s Policy Enforcement Firewall. We’ve upgraded it to a full Next-Gen Mobility Firewall with Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) for identifying over 1,500 apps, even apps that are encrypted or try to hide as web traffic. But it’s not just visibility. This Next-Gen Mobility Firewall gives you full control over individual apps or predefined groups of apps, including QoS, bandwidth contracts, traffic redirect and even blocking entirely. You can apply these policies globally, to individual users or to groups of users.


2. Unified Communications Dashboard

You’re heading to a friends bbq, instagramming your latest soaring sparrow tattoo, when your autonomous car notifies you of a St. Patrick’s Day parade that’s causing a road closure along your route. Never fear, the car checks county records for the parade timing and route and offers a detour.


Correlating live information is exactly what AirWave’s new unified communications dashboard can do. Only AirWave offers a live view of users on a building floor plan where each user is color-coded for Wi-Fi connection health and unified communications app health.


And that means you’ll never have to jump back and forth between your unified communications server and network management system to pinpoint unified communications issues. It’s all right there in one convenient, consolidated view.


3. ClearPass Exchange

As you’re dipping a gluten-free biscotti in your macchiato on the way to work in your autonomous car, it gets a blowout. But fear not, because the car has already called a tow truck and sourced the new tire.


Now imagine that same principal on your network and you’ve got ClearPass Exchange.  ClearPass Exchange automates what used to be separate manual tasks. It gives you the keys to unlock ClearPass with REST-based APIs. These simple, common language APIs let you tie ClearPass into whatever systems and apps you already have in place.


Someone keeps failing network authentication? Use ClearPass Exchange to automatically generate a new helpdesk ticket for that user. One of your employees keeps trying to access a secure area of your network with their personal iPad? Prevent access with ClearPass and then have ClearPass Exchange send them a notification message through your MDM system. You get the idea. Now you can automate workflows by letting your network and the rest of your infrastructure talk.


4. Auto Sign-On

You just finished knitting a Christmas hoodie for your cat as your autonomous car pulls up to a tollbooth. The car sends your PayPal account to the toll and you’re on your way.


This is the basic concept with new ClearPass Auto-Sign On. Except in this case, the network vouches for you, so you get immediate access to your apps. You no longer have to type in your username and complex password on a tiny keyboard each time you want to access a work app.


Instead, a user’s Wi-Fi login can now be used to automatically authenticate that user to single sign-on-enabled apps. ClearPass becomes a full-fledged SSO Identity Provider (IdP) or can front-end an existing SSO implementation like Okta and Ping. Bottom line, it just got a lot more convenient to get secure access to work apps.


5. AirGroup for DLNA

As you’re waxing your soul-patch goatee on the way to a Summer Solstice drum circle, your autonomous electric car starts to run low on juice. No problem. Your car displays the 220-volt charging stations that are closest to you and that work with your car.


This kind of filtering and optimization of shared resources is what AirGroup does best – but for projectors, printers, TVs and other media appliances that are accessed by mobile devices. Users don’t get overwhelmed sorting through hundreds of devices. AirGroup filters the list based on a user’s role, location and time of day. Then it optimizes the traffic on your network.


This kind of magic has been available from Aruba since 2012 for Apple devices that support Bonjour services like AirPlay and AirPrint. Now we’ve stepped up our game by supporting nearly 20,000 DLNA and UPnP devices. Google Chromecast? Check. Sony television? Check. Panasonic projector? Check. AirGroup has all your devices covered.


The All-Wireless Workplace

While autonomous cars are still mostly science fiction, Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks are here now and they’re solving some of the biggest problems IT has had to deal with over the past several years.


#GenMobile has prompted a sea change toward more adaptive networks and IT is answering the call by creating an all-wireless workplace where networks are always on, always secure, always easy to use, and always optimize app performance.


To learn more about Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks and assess your #GenMobile score, visit

Aruba Employee

very insightful and a keen way to look at our products

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