Monday, March 18, 2013

Juniper: Virtual Controller = Physical Controller (100% Software Feature Parity!) #WFD4


Jonathan Davidson opened up WFD4 at Juniper and explained that Juniper tends to focus on the near future 6-9 month futures when defining their market strategies. Their 'single pane of glass' management vision is operationally focused instead of task focused.

Juniper is hiring/expanding their wireless staff to aggressively pursue the wlan marketplace. They have development centers in the US and India - and they're having difficulty filling wireless positions with qualified employees. 

The JunosV App Engine (announced last fall) runs on their MX portfolio that allows any app at any time to be put on the best selling routing portfolio. (The JunosV App Engine requires the addition of the AS-MLC line card in a MX Series 3D router, or implementation of a VSE Series Virtual Services Engine appliance along with a MX Series 3D Router.)

Jonathan Davidson and Tamir Hardof Introduce the Juniper Session at WFD4 from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

Juniper is continuing to invest in the Pulse product line. Pulse is transitioning from an MDM tool to a security feature to secure the endpoint.

Building Mission Critical Wi Fi Networks with Juniper from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

Bruce Alexander filled us in on the advancements in the wireless product line. The 532e now has three external antenna connectors (it has been out for a few months). The new Juniper controller (WLC880) supports up to 32 access points.

SmartPass Connect is now on the Juniper price list and is shipping. SmartPass Connect has been integrated into the Juniper portfolio and is no longer a bolt-on addition. New devices are on boarded easily with a captive portal and authentication is redirected to the SmartPass Connect server. The SmartPass server pushes a small software supplicant to the new mobile device in order to accept credentials and pass this information to the AD/LDAP server. Certificates and configurations are pushed to the clients and then the software that was originally installed is removed once the authentication/association is completed. The SmartPass connect certificate is pushed to the client and is SCEP-like, but is not SCEP. A Microsoft infrastructure and SCEP certificates are a bit problematic due to permissions set within Active Directory.

Juniper's access points and controllers all do local switching. The data flow from the access point doesn't go all the way back to the controller. Juniper has customers with over 4500 locally switched access points. Up to 32 controllers can be managed in a cluster and each controller can control up to 512 access points per controller. The locally switched factor does not affect the number of APs that can be managed. Juniper is attempting to integrate wired and wireless. Juniper is using IF map to integrate information from the client into the management platform.

Juniper Unified Management: Introducing Network Director from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

Tim McCarthy, Bruce Alexander and Rajesh Patil covered the features/functions/future of the Junos Space Network Director.

The Junos Space Network Director is the successor to RingMaster. It will be launched soon in a phased delivery. The first release of the software will not have feature parity with the current RingMaster software version. Junos Space Network Director will eventually be virtualized in the same way as all the other Juniper applications and the data engine will display data in HTML5, not flash or java. The initial release does not have the RF planning/floor plan heat map or location tracking functionality at first ship of 1.0 of Junos Space Network Director. When discovering clients, it's not possible to search via wildcards, but you can enter an IP range. The licensing for wireless devices is per access point and for wired devices is per device for wired switches. JSND can support up to 2000 devices and 15,000 access points.

Juniper Network Director Demo from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

The network can be viewed by the logical or physical connectivity. Device upgrades can be done per building as a result. The version first shipping has about 60% of the features needed to configure your wireless infrastructure when compared to the functionality currently present in RingMaster. When updating software versions on managed devices, hardware images are manually uploaded to the Junos Space Network Director by browsing to the file on your local machine instead of downloading from Juniper's website.

Juniper High Density Testing from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

Tim McCarthy presented how Juniper field tests its wireless hardware. In order to perform wireless client testing, Juniper utilizes a testing facility which seats 3000 people. Testing devices are connected to AC power during testing, and the devices are set to be 'always on'. Juniper engineers can book the testing facility for two weeks at a time, testing setup takes one day, teardown is half a day and they use 300 wireless client devices during testing. During the wireless testing, SmartPass Connect is used to quicken the device on-boarding/configuration.

Future Wi-Fi Innovations from Juniper from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

Daniel Wade then jumped into talking about the WLC 100 (supports 32 access points and 800 wireless users). The WLC 100 has a USB console port, storage port for convenience purposes. It is intended as a replacement for the WLC 2 and WLC 8 products. The WLC 100 is fanless in design and the red ports are PoE+ (at power) ports.

The Juniper virtual controller has 100% of the software features of a physical controller. Juniper developers have been using the virtual controller for feature testing for at least ten years. The software for vWLCs was developed on their desktop machines so there is not loss in feature parity, and does not require a ton of memory as a result. Utilizing a virtual controller allows developers to scale the data plane independent of the control plane. There will be a direct download from the Juniper website for the Juniper virtual controller. It can be run on an esxi server and will support up to 256 access points and 6,000 clients. VM requirements for a high end scale (256 APs/6k clients) have not been defined yet. For a low end deployment 256Mb of DRAM should be allocated to the VM. Scaling up, the high end wlc ships with 1GB of DRAM.

Steve Grau closed out the Juniper session by presenting an overview of 802.11ac and Bonjour services. Juniper does not currently have an 802.11ac capable access point, but per Bruce their controllers are 802.11ac ready because most of their customers are already doing locally switched wireless networks rather than tunneling everything back to a centralized controller. Their controllers will only need their firmware upgraded to support 802.11ac access points.

Juniper wireless networks still have issues with sending Bonjour messages across VLANs, what services you see should be based on where you are (building specific), but there isn't a timeframe for feature support to overcome the problems with Bonjour.

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