Juniper’s Mist adds WiFi 6, AI-based cloud services to enterprise edge

By | August 23, 2019

Mist, today a Juniper Networks company, has rolled out an artificial-intelligence, cloud-based machine and a WiFi 6 entry point that collectively aim at helping users deploy clever, high-density wireless networks.

Probably the rollout is the Mist Edge appliance that extends Mist’s cloud solutions to the branch and lets businesses handle the distributed Wi-Fi infrastructure from a central location.

The Mist Edge apparatus features the company’s artificial-intelligence engine which will help automate tasks like adjusting Wi-Fi signal strength and troubleshooting. According to Mist, any other possible use cases for Mist Edge include:

Seamless roaming for large campus sites via on-premises tunnel termination of visitors to/from access points.
Extending virtual LANs (VLANs) to distributed branches and telecommuters to substitute distant virtual private network (VPN) technology.
Dynamic visitors segmentation to get IoT devices.
The ability to split tunneling to maintain guest corporate and access traffic independent.
The company states a software-only variant of Mist Edge is going to be available in the future.

Mist’s strength is its own AI-based wireless system that makes Wi-Fi predictable, dependable and measurable. Mist is also exceptional in how it’s delivered applications via cloud microservices and containers which could be appealing to business users looking to reduce wireless operational costs, experts say.

Mist’s cloud-based system provides patented dynamic packet capture and machine learning technology to automatically identify, adapt and fix network issues, Gartner wrote in a recent Magic Quadrant report. The Mist system is delivered and handled via cloud providers.

“Mist’s AI-driven Wi-Fi offers guest access, network management, policy software and a digital network helper as well as analytics, IoT segmentation, and behavioral analysis at scale,” Gartner stated. “Mist offers a fresh and one of a kind approach to high-accuracy location services via a cloud-based machine-learning engine that uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-based signals from its own multielement directional-antenna access points. The identical platform can be used for Real Time Location System (RTLS) usage scenarios, stationary or zonal applications, and participation use cases like wayfinding and proximity notifications.”

Juniper bought Mist at March for $405 million to this AI-based WIFI technology. For Juniper the Mist purchase was important since it had depended on arrangements with partners like Aerohive and Aruba to provide wireless, according to Gartner.

Mist, too, has partners and recently declared joint product development with VMware that incorporates Mist WLAN technologies and VMware’s VeloCloud-based NSX SD-WAN.

“Mist has focused on large enterprises and has won some very well-known brands,” said Chris Depuy, tech analyst with the 650 Group. “The [Mist/Juniper] combination is a great match because both product lines are focusing on bigger enterprises and over time, we hope Mist AI is going to be used to gain the entire Juniper campus portfolio”

The other area of the organization’s rollout is a WiFi 6 (802.11ax) access point, the Mist AP43, a cloud-managed WiFi 6 access point with integrated support for Mist’s AI automation and manageability.

“The new access point gets Juniper into 802.11ax on the same time frame as other significant competitors like Cisco,” said Depuy. “Juniper could not address clients who were upgrading wireless and wired at the exact same time without Mist. Together with 802.11ax, we expect new switches to be necessary because 1 GB is not quick enough to encourage these new APs. Thus, Juniper is now able to update customers to 802.11ax and MultiGig switches instead of earning a different vendor. ”

WiFi 6 is designed for high-density private or public environments. But additionally, it will be valuable in web of things (IoT) deployments, also in offices that use bandwidth-hogging programs like videoconferencing. Products promising WIFI 6 service have been rolling out across the business with HPE, Cisco, Arista and many others recently tossing their hats into the ring.

The enterprise WLAN is now dominated by the 802.11ac standard, which makes up 86.4% of dependent access point (AP) shipments and 93.1percent of venture WLAN dependent AP earnings. The next iteration of this standard, 802.11ax or WiFi 6, will rise on the market throughout the remainder of 2019 and into 2020. In the consumer WLAN market, the 802.11ac standard accounted for 58.0% of shipments and 79.2percent of revenue in 1Q19, according to IDC’s most recent Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker report.

“The WLAN market continues to see steady, moderate growth as businesses invest in wireless connectivity to support the continuing demand for access technologies,” said Brandon Butler, senior research analyst, Network Infrastructure at IDC from the report. “Meanwhile, the forthcoming Wi-Fi standard will be a major driver of growth in the WLAN market in the coming years, particularly in the advanced enterprise segments of the market.”

The AP43 lists at $1,585.

Mist additionally announced a strategic relationship with ForeScout to automate management and security control of Wi-Fi client and Web of Things (IoT) devices. The Juniper and Forescout mashup enables customers track and profile apparatus and mobile customers such as tablets tablet computers, laptops, robots and IoT apparatus (HVAC systems, safety devices, displays, sensors, lighting ) based on their network traffic patterns. Then if anomalous or threatening behaviour is detected, customers can launch difficulty tickets, remediate software on devices as required or quarantine apparatus.