No, I’m not talking about the Grinch or a Marvel superhero. AI is probably one of the hottest trends in the technology world today. It seems that its application is limitless, and networking is no exception. Many solution providers tout AI’s ability to automate, validate, self-heal, and in general make connectivity smarter. This raises several questions. What really differentiates AI offerings in an increasingly crowded market? What are the practical and most impactful results of applying AI to networking? I believe Aruba has answered these questions, with its recent announcements focused on power management.
Green in more ways than one
Earlier this month, Aruba launched a new family of wireless access points and switches that seek to extend the company’s “mobile-first” mantra and its commitment to delivering exceptional digital experiences. Support for the 802.11ax, now referred to as “Wi-Fi 6,” promises to deliver stronger encryption and simpler IoT security configuration. Bluetooth 5 and Zigbee capabilities should also support new IoT use cases and user-aware indoor location capabilities.
However, I believe the most compelling new feature is the addition of “Green AP” to NetInsight. NetInsight is Aruba’s management console that delivers analytics and network assurance through an easy-to-use web interface. What I’ve always liked about NetInsight is its intuitive ability to detect issues—providing visibility to root causes and recommendations for remediation. The Green AP feature takes things to another level by employing AI to monitor user traffic and dynamically power down access points when user devices are not present. The resulting value is immense, extending the life of hardware through intelligent power cycling and reducing overall operating expenses tied to electricity consumption. And then, of course, there’s the positive environmental impact. Aruba’s Intelligent Power Monitoring (IPM), available through the company’s AOS 8, compliments the Green AP feature by actively measuring access point power consumption and dynamically adapting to available power resources. It does so by disabling user-defined features when exceeding a pre-defined power budget. The new version of NetInsight supporting Green AP should be available by calendar 1Q 2019.
Aruba applies its intelligence to the 2018 Ryder Cup
I had the opportunity to attend HPE’s signature European event in Madrid following the Thanksgiving holiday. I always enjoy hearing Chief “Aruban” Keerti Melkote talk about the company’s progress towards its goal of providing the very best mobile digital experiences. Keerti pointed to the 2018 Ryder Cup as a proof point, citing Aruba’s ability to support up to 150,000 visitors with a scalable and responsive wireless networking infrastructure. What’s really compelling is the intelligence behind the network. It links disparate overlays like scoring, wired, and operational tasks (such as ticketing and concession management) into one more manageable topology. When it comes to the fan experience, Aruba shines in its ability to determine crowd densities and make recommendations for improving access to concessions (like reducing that queue time for a beer). Additionally, it can identify which players are attracting the largest crowds so that television and social media coverage can be modified on the fly. Certainly, this level of networking intelligence also brings green to the event’s cash registers!
With its widespread embrace in the technology industry, there’s been an abundance of AI whitewashing as of late. Fancy algorithms aside, in order for AI to be applied meaningfully there has to be a large dataset used for training purposes. I believe Aruba has not only the AI technological capabilities but also a 16+ year track record with millions of access points and associated products shipped. That’s a pretty deep data lake and customer set to glean insights from and deliver meaningful networking capabilities. Aruba continues to deliver an exceptional mobile experience and its Green AP feature further extends the company’s leadership.