Wireless Field Day 3 - Juniper Networks

Wireless Field Day 3 - Juniper Networks

By CWNP On 09/14/2012 - 28 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 hand 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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10/23/2012 at 01:49am
[...] At the “independent IT influencer” event known as Tech Field Day, technical WLAN delegates engaged with networking vendors in an open forum for education and feedback. In focused sessions, Juniper demonstrated the advantages and capabilities of our WLAN products through whiteboard talks and live demos. See how we addressed issues surrounding BYOD, performance, clustering, antenna design, AP mounting and guest access in these Juniper sessions and blog post. [...]

10/12/2012 at 05:40am
@Gavin Tobin:

i think a big part is the relationship between lancom and hirschmann and of course the customer now know these products - when you change the hole system a lot of components will not work together anymore.

09/19/2012 at 16:52pm

Funny thing is that Trapeze were formerly owned by Belden and at the same time Belden owned Hirschmann and still do.  Hirschmann produce WLAN infrastructure for industrial installations like chemical plants etc and even though their parent company owned Trapeze they had a third party, LANCOM make their WLAN components.

Question is why did Hirschmann not use Trapeze to make their APs? 

Were they not good enough?

09/17/2012 at 12:16pm
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the recap. 


Regarding the 5GHz antenna gain, page 26 of their doc says:

"The WLA532 access point has six internal, multiple input multiple output (MIMO)
antennas, with three antennas for each of the access point's two radios. The antennas
support spacial, polarity, and pattern diversity as well as cross-chain and cross-band
isolations for maximum performance. The antennas provide a maximum gain of 3-dBi
at 2.4-GHz throughput and 5-dBi at 5-GHz throughput."

Did they give you the wrong info regarding the gain of the 5GHz antenna?  I saw the tweets about "7 dBi" that everyone was saying that they said during WFD3.



09/17/2012 at 12:04pm
Meru networks does have the option of setting the AP to bridged mode which means that tha data packets are not forwarded to the controller and the AP takes care. So, there's nothing new with juniper advertising this as a differential point.

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