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Juniper launches wired access switches, leveraging cloud and AI

By Catherine Knowles
Fri 15 Jul 2022

Juniper Networks has released its new EX4100 series of enterprise-grade wired access switches, which leverage a modern microservices cloud and Mist AI to deliver improved performance, ease, flexibility and security for all enterprise access layer switching environments, including campus fabric architectures.

In addition, Juniper has expanded its Wired Assurance, Wireless Assurance and Marvis cloud services with more AI-driven insights to maximise end user experiences and minimise wireless management costs.

This includes new automated AP placement/orientation verification and new prescriptive actions to address common Microsoft client, DHCP and wired authentication issues.

Juniper group vice president product management, AI-driven enterprise Sudheer Matta says, “Juniper has become a leader in wired and wireless access thanks to our innovative cloud-native, AI-driven and session smart platforms, which save time and money and maximise user experiences by proactively solving real-world problems.

"These latest enhancements to our AI-driven Enterprise portfolio expand our value proposition to even more campus and branch environments while also doubling down on Juniper's unique AI-driven advantages across the entire network lifecycle, from installation and configuration to operations and troubleshooting.”

The new EX4100

The EX4100 is the latest addition to the Junipers EX Switching portfolio, bringing performance, bandwidth, port density and other key features to a variety of enterprise campus and branch environments, the company states.

Like the previously launched EX4400, the EX4100 is optimised for simplicity and scale with native cloud-based operations, and it enables improved user and IT experiences with Juniper's AIOps.

For example, Mist AI expedites deployment times with zero touch provisioning and automated workflows, and it delivers rapid troubleshooting with full stack event correlation, proactive anomaly detection and self-driving network actions.

The EX4100 also enables IT teams to design an EVPN-VXLAN network fabric that extends to distribution and access layers, coupled with security capabilities such as MACsec AES256 and standards-based micro-segmentation using group-based policies (GBP) for growing needs of IOT devices.

In addition, specific versions of the EX4100 support Power over Ethernet++ (802.3bt), making the switch a good fit for customers looking to transition to Wi-Fi 6E technology, the company states.

Automation for access points

According to Juniper, many enterprises struggle during WLAN deployments to ensure that the placement and orientation of wireless Access Points (APs) match the planned AP design.

To address this, Juniper Mist already supports a one-click ingestion of floor plans from tools such as Ekahau and iBwave. Going further, the Juniper Mist solution now automatically validates the actual placement and orientation of APs post install against desired plans and highlights any misplaced APs for quick correction.

This is achieved via the Juniper Wireless Assurance service, which utilises patented virtual Bluetooth LE (vBLE) antenna arrays coupled with patent-pending algorithms that leverage channel state information and 802.11mc FTM/RTT.

With this service, Mist APs (Wi-Fi 6 and 6E) are automatically placed on a map and auto-oriented in the Juniper Mist dashboard, with the distances between AP pairs calculated and shown to eliminate deployment errors.

By quickly and accurately validating the placement of Mist APs in both greenfield and brownfield environments without requiring any other external technologies like GPS Juniper simplifies AP deployment and reduces overall WLAN installation costs, according to the company.

New Marvis AIOps actions

Juniper has added several new enhancements to Marvis, the company's AI-driven virtual network assistant, to improve troubleshooting and insight across the wired and wireless domains.

This includes a Marvis Windows Client (in addition to the previously released Android Marvis Client) which is installed on Windows OS devices to offer enhanced information and network visibility from the clients perspective.

This information is relayed to Mist AI so that Marvis can make more informed and actionable recommendations to remediate any user issues.

Marvis clients get valuable client-side data with no additional hardware or software. In addition, the Juniper Mist Wired Assurance service now provides insight to locate and correct the source of DHCP failures (i.e., server, VLAN or client), and delivers new wired authentication actions that provide administrators the ability to identify devices and users who are failing to authenticate continuously on wired devices due to client-side issues.

Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst, ZK Research, says, "AIOps and cloud-hosted operations continue to be the biggest benefits to IT departments in the campus and branch.

"By embedding these capabilities natively into all of their access solutions, and constantly expanding them to solve the most common wired/wireless deployment, troubleshooting and management issues, Juniper continues to set the tone for enterprise networks that put user experiences first."

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