Wireless Field Day 3 - Juniper Networks

Wireless Field Day 3 - Juniper Networks

By CWNP On 09/14/2012 - 27 Comments

Juniper Networks claims to have the best performing AP in the industry. Whether that is true or not depends on real-world results and independent analysis; however, they do offer controller-based WLANs that redirect data transmissions directly to the LAN and not through the controller. This can provide improvements in performance in certain scenarios with congested LANs and may provide improved performance as WLANs are more heavily used.

While statement of "best performance" are debatable, here are the facts:
 
  • Juniper Networks acquired Trapeze and their software and intellectual property
  • They offer a range of APs from low end to outdoor 450 Mbps 11n APs
  • Their architecture is based on controllers, but without data passing through the controller
 
5GHz antenna has 7 dBi gain while the 2.4 GHz antenna has 3-4 dBi gain in an attempt to provide similar ranges to 5GHz radio as 2.4 GHz radios. They put more amplifiers on the 5 GHz than the 2.4 GHz. The APs are designed way outside the reference design according to Juniper.
 
For the implementer, the mounting brackets for their APs are very convenient. Do the purchasers really care about this? Probably not in most scenarios; however, the implementer often has influence in the buying decision and these mounting brackets are convenient.
 
One thing is clear, local switching (not routing data through the controller) is the primary focus of Juniper Networks offerings. This feature is considered in everything from roaming to feature availability. They are sold on it and it certainly has its advantages that each organization will have to evaluate for themselves.
 
One of the key features offered is in-service software upgrades. This is provided as long as you have a primary and secondary controller and some number of member servers. The primary is updated while the secondary keeps operations going, next the secondary is updated with the primary back online and then the member controllers are updated. APs can be updated in this way as well, as long as another AP is available to which to handĀ over clients.
 
The presentation eventually moved towards RingMaster, one of the older site survey and planning tools available and part of the Trapeze acquisition at Juniper Networks. Load a CAD drawing (floorplan) into the application, provide material details, and start dropping APs. You can color code APs so that you can see their predictive signals within the application visually. It is, however, more than a site survey tool. It is really the management tool for the network. They are in the process of moving it forward into the next generation.
 
Finally, they demonstrated their options for handling BYOD and guest access. They do device identification by monitoring DHCP requests. They effectively identify the device type by looking at unique signatures in the way they format the DHCP requests and so forth. This is very similar to the way tools like NMAP identify devices by looking at the responses they give to certain requests.
 
Under closed doors and NDA verbal agreements, they showed us some very interesting things they're doing for the future. This is definitely a product line and company to watch in the 802.11 space, so watch for more from them in the future.
 
Frames Are Food, Tom Tagged with: tom carpenter, WFD3, wireless field day, juniper networks

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