Net-Ctrl Blog

Palo Alto Networks Provides a New Breed of Intelligence to Detect and Prevent

August 8th, 2014
Taken from the Palo Alto Networks Blog.

Back in June, Microsoft patched 59 Internet Explorer vulnerabilities and Palo Alto Networks (PAN) discovered 21 of them, all rated critical. Then in July, we released findings about evolved Nigerian 419 scammers from Unit 42, the new Palo Alto Networks threat intelligence team.

The way we perform cybersecurity research is opening the door to a new breed of intelligence that I predict will reshape how organizations gather and share cyber intelligence while converting it to actionable indicators.

The reason is evasive applications.
I won’t go into exact numbers, but we have teams dedicated to knowing everything there is to know about enterprise applications and how attackers use them. You’ve seen that every year in PANs annual Application Usage and Threat Report and it’s something we stress in all of our research efforts. In addition, we’ve invested serious resources to create a scalable cloud infrastructure for our security researchers so they can immediately convert results from their research into actionable indicators for our customers.

What you’re going to see next is how this more comprehensive and coordinated approach creates a new breed of cybersecurity intelligence – one we can share with Palo Alto Networks customers and partners to make better-informed decisions about advanced cyber threats and how to prevent them.

When you have a chance, take a look at Applipedia, which was the industry’s first application-specific database used for actionable security intelligence. We add additional applications weekly, and continuously update evasive applications as they change. If you’re a current Palo Alto Networks customer, maybe you’ve been one of our (frequent) requests to perform one-off analysis on specific applications. It’s a service that continues to become powerful and valuable when security administrators need to control specific applications their businesses want to utilize. I can see CIOs and CISOs taking advantage of this type of service so they can remain relevant to business lines and reduce risk while embracing new applications.

Take the evasive application advantage away from attackers.
Evasive applications provide a significant advantage to attackers. To take back that advantage, companies need to control applications on their enterprise and distinguish the normal applications from the bad. All the security research performed by our experts is actionable intelligence converted back into our product for all customers so they can control applications out-of-the-box. This is in addition to continuous AntiVirus, WildFire, DNS, URLs, IPS and C2 updates across all network traffic…and yes, we do that stuff out-of-the-same-box as well.

Take some time to learn more about our new breed of intelligence by browsing the Unit 42 home page and quickly reading Palo Alto Networks new Consortium page to see their commitment to intelligence sharing.

Read the original piece from Palo Alto Networks.

Net-Ctrl is a UK based reseller of Palo Alto Networks solutions, we are also able to support your deployment with our in-house technical team.

If you would like to discuss the PAN solution range call our team on 01473 281 211, or email sales@net-ctrl.com.

Ruckus 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi Becomes Back to School Standard for Educational Institutions

August 7th, 2014
Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi Selected by Dozens of Schools and School Districts to Satisfy the Growing Need for Higher Capacity, Faster, and Smarter Wi-Fi Connectivity

SUNNYVALE, CA — August 4, 2014 — Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) announced today that its new 802.11ac products and technology have been selected by a number of schools, school districts and colleges and universities across the United States to tackle the growing demands for more reliable, faster and higher capacity Wi-Fi services needed to transform education in today’s classrooms.

“The traditional educational experience for students and teachers has gone digital and online,” said Will Kerr, technology director for the Reynoldsburg City School District, the latest school district to standardize on Ruckus 802.11ac products and technology. “Wi-Fi has become the primary means of connectivity, and it absolutely must operate as reliably as any utility. Conventional Wi-Fi technology was never really designed with this in mind.”

Located just east of Columbus, OH, the Reynoldsburg City School District has now replaced its legacy Aruba 802.11n Wi-Fi system with 405 new Ruckus ZoneFlex™ R700 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi access points. “Our existing Wi-Fi system was costly, difficult to manage and simply couldn’t keep up with the client capacities we needed to support for delivering a 21st Century education,” said Kerr. “This drove us to the R700.”

The ZoneFlex R700 is the first and only dual-band, three-stream indoor 802.11ac Wi-Fi access point (AP) for the new 802.11ac standard to integrate patented Ruckus BeamFlex+™ adaptive antenna array technology. BeamFlex+ helps to significantly extend the range and speed of indoor Wi-Fi networks, providing unmatched reliability and gigabit-class Wi-Fi performance.

Supporting more than 7,500 students and faculty across 14 schools within this 14 square mile school district, Reynoldsburg’s move to the 802.11ac standard was driven in large part by its one-to-one initiatives to provide Chromebooks to students and staff, as well as the explosive growth in the use of Wi-Fi for a variety of purposes, ranging from guest access to student information systems and back-end administrative applications.

According to Kerr, after evaluating competitive WLAN systems from suppliers including Aruba, Cisco Meraki and HP, Reynoldsburg standardized on the Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11ac R700 system. The new Ruckus 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi network replaces an existing Aruba WLAN infrastructure that was struggling to deliver the performance, capacity and stability essential for the District’s wireless requirements. Taking only three days to deploy, Ruckus ZoneFlex R700 APs have now been installed across District classrooms in 15 buildings housing pre-school (kindergarten), elementary, middle and high schools.

“After evaluating everything out there, Ruckus was the clear Wi-Fi choice as it was the only network infrastructure system that was ideally suited to address the unique requirements for Wi-Fi in education,” Kerr said.

The new Ruckus infrastructure also works seamlessly with the District’s iBoss network security system and Active Directory authentication domain to automate policy enforcement and content filtering based on user authentication. The entire Wi-Fi network for the District is centrally managed using Ruckus ZoneDirector™ 5000 controllers, located within Reynoldsburg’s network operations center (NOC).

“With Ruckus, we were able to install fewer but more industrial strength APs that could cover additional locations that I just couldn’t resolve with other suppliers. So, my original two-year deployment plan using a cloud-based Wi-Fi alternative that forced us into a subscription model could be reduced to a one-year plan, and at a substantially lower cost. This was a key deciding factor in selecting Ruckus over other cloud-based solutions we were considering,” Kerr concluded.

“We are seeing the migration to the new 802.11ac standard accelerating at a faster pace than the adoption of the 802.11n standard when it was first introduced,” said Wendy Cartee, vice president of Marketing for Ruckus Wireless. “Within our first quarter product shipments, our 802.11ac Wi-Fi systems have quickly eclipsed the run rate for three-stream 802.11n products.”

Read the full press release from Ruckus Wireless.

If you would like to discuss how Ruckus can help you achieve your wireless ambitions please call us on 01473 281 211, or email sales@net-ctrl.com.

 

GT Hill Running Educational Wireless Webinars

July 25th, 2014

GT Hill, the Director of Technical Marketing at Ruckus Wireless is running a series of free educational webinars about Wi-Fi that will go through the real facts and physics necessary to achieve better Wi-Fi.

If you haven’t heard of GT before it’s worth checking him out on YouTube, he is an extremely knowledgeable guy when it comes to Wi-Fi.

These educational webinars are designed to teach you, not sell you (too much), on the keys to creating a better Wi-Fi experience for your users. He’ll answer questions like:

• Why does signal really matter?
• How can you not only deal with Wi-Fi interference but fix it?
• Should you wait for 802.11ac Wave 2?
• Will MU-MIMO really give me 4x better performance?

Session 1 – Intro To Wi-Fi Basics and Radio Frequency
Wednesday 23rd July @ 16.00-16.45
Watch the recording

Session 2 – Exploiting Next Generation 802.11ac with smarter antennas
Wednesday 30th July @ 16.00-16.45
Register

Session 3 – Demystifying beamforming and adaptive antennas
Thursday 14th August & 16.00-16.45
Register

If you would like some information on the sessions you can read GT Hills blog post on the Ruckus Room, or visit the Ruckus website.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

NetMotion Wireless User Named as Finalist for EHI Award

July 22nd, 2014

Net-Ctrl is proud to announce that one of our NetMotion Wireless customers, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, is a finalist for an EHI Award for ‘Excellence in Mobile Healthcare’.

This award recognises the role that technology plays in facilitating mobile working for healthcare staff.

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust first contacted Net-Ctrl in November 2013 in need of a new remote working solution. The Trust had heard about the work Net-Ctrl and NetMotion Wireless had completed in healthcare through other organisations in their area that had witnessed the benefits of Mobility XE first-hand.

NetMotion Mobility® is a mobile VPN solution that gives enterprises a central control point for managing mission-critical mobile deployments. It keeps mobile workers using iPads, iPhones, Windows laptops, tablets and Android devices connected and productive.

Mobility shields them from connectivity issues as they move in and out of wireless coverage areas and roam between networks. It provides the ability to set policies to manage devices, applications access and bandwidth, and gives organisations the visibility they need to maximise their mobile investments.

The winners will be announced at a special awards evening on 09th October, we wish Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust the best of luck.

If you would like more information on NetMotion Wireless and their Mobility XE solution, please email sales@net-ctrl.com or call us on 01473 281 211.

 

New Application Usage and Threat Report from Palo Alto Networks

June 23rd, 2014

The Application Usage and Threat (AUT) Report (June 2014) from Palo Alto Networks provides a global view into enterprise application usage and the associated cyber threat landscape.

The  report provides an analysis of applications and their link to cyber threats within the enterprise. The report also summarises network traffic assessments performed worldwide in more than 5,500 organisations where 2,100 applications, 16,000 unique threats and billions of threat logs were observed.

Download the report to get the full analysis of the intertwined relationship between Cyberattacks and applications.

Watch the report video summary

Alternatively you can:

 

 

Ruckus Launches Industry’s Lightest, Smallest 11ac Outdoor Access Points – The ZoneFlex T300 Series

June 17th, 2014

Industry’s First Outdoor 802.11ac APs with Embedded Adaptive Antennas in Incredibly Lightweight, Small Form Factors that are Designed for High Density Venues.

SUNNYVALE, CA – June 17, 2014 – Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) announced today the launch of the first two models in a line of new Ruckus ZoneFlex™ T300 Series outdoor 802.11ac access points (APs), the ZoneFlex T300 omnidirectional and ZoneFlex T301n narrow band models. These are concurrent, dual-band APs featuring the industry’s smallest and lightest form factors. Both are designed specifically for high density user environments such as stadiums, railway station platforms, dense metro/urban hot zones, and other outdoor venues such as outdoor college campuses, business parks, and town squares.

The ZoneFlex T300 Series access points are the only outdoor 802.11ac APs on the market to integrate patented Ruckus BeamFlex+™ technology for optimal performance and interference mitigation in challenging RF environments as well as ChannelFly™ for predictive channel selection based on real-time capacity analysis of all RF channels.

The most ground breaking features of both the ZoneFlex T300 and ZoneFlex T301n are their lightweight and ultra-compact form factors. At just 2 and 2.1 pounds (0.9 kg and 1 kg) respectively including built-in BeamFlex antennas, the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n are significantly lighter than other outdoor 802.11ac APs. With total dimensions, including their internal antennas, of 7”w x 5.9”d x 3.4”h (18cm x 15cm x 8.6cm) for the ZoneFlex T300, and 7.6”w x 9.4”d x 4.3”h (19.5cm x 23.9cm x 11cm) for the ZoneFlex T301n, these are among the smallest outdoor 802.11ac APs in the market. Form factor is a critical requirement for many outdoor Wi-Fi applications where aesthetic considerations or minimal visual impact is required. The light-weight feature of the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n dramatically eases installation and reduces deployment time and labor costs.

“Our ZoneFlex T300 Series combines carrier-class, high-capacity, high-density outdoor Smart Wi-Fi radio technologies with incredibly lightweight and compact form factors,” said Greg Beach, vice president of Product Management, Ruckus Wireless. “Both are easy to install, and are ideal for service providers and venue owners looking to quickly deploy reliable outdoor Wi-Fi networks in environments such as stadiums, train stations, and parks. They’re 50 percent lighter, significantly smaller in overall size, and offer a much lower total cost of ownership, compared with other products on the market that aren’t nearly as feature-rich.”

Fitting Outdoor Environments to a T

The Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 is an entry-level outdoor 2×2:2 stream 802.11ac access point with an omnidirectional aggregate antenna coverage pattern, featuring a compact form factor and 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE). It can operate as a standalone AP, or be centrally managed by a Ruckus ZoneDirector™ controller, Ruckus SmartCell™ Gateway (SCG) 200, virtual SmartCell Gateway (vSCG), or FlexMaster software for maximum scalability. The ZoneFlex T300 is ideal for providing coverage over a wide outdoor area.

In addition to the features of the ZoneFlex T300, the Ruckus ZoneFlex T301n outdoor 2×2:2 stream 802.11ac access point also features internal narrow beam antennas (30 x 30 degree aggregate coverage pattern @ 2.4 GHz, 15 x 15 degrees @ 5 GHz) in order to provide narrow sector coverage for very high performance, directed coverage applications. The narrow beam antennas in the ZoneFlex T301n are ideal for very high density venues like stadiums, where RF energy must be very narrowly focused to maximize capacity. High density Wi-Fi network design typically calls for a large number of APs to get the needed capacity, but care must be taken to limit co-channel interference. The narrow beam, adaptive antennas in the ZoneFlex T301n are able to focus RF energy into a specific area while delivering flexible, directed coverage that adapts in real time to reduce interference and increase network performance. The ZoneFlex T301n is well suited for extremely high density deployments, delivering the best coverage and capacity, and is highly scalable, making it cost-effective for high density network deployments.

Both the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n are rugged outdoor APs purpose-built to withstand harsh environments. They feature IP-67 water and dust proof plastic enclosures, operating temperatures of from -4 up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit (from -20 up to 55 degrees Celsius), and wind survivability of up to 165 mph. Both models also offer flexible wall, pole or ceiling mounting options that ensure no distortion of Wi-Fi signals is introduced, delivering performance of up to 1,200 Mbps total WLAN RF capacity, with up to 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz (802.11b/g/n), and up to 900 Mbps at 5 GHz (802.11ac). The ZoneFlex T300 and T301n also include/ship with mounting brackets, and the integrated antennas in the ZoneFlex T301n eliminate the need to buy external antennas, reducing cost and making installation easier.

Both models also support up to 500 concurrent users per AP and are easy to install using standard 802.3af PoE switches or PoE injectors. They also support co-location operation with distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cell radios. The ZoneFlex T300 Series 802.11ac outdoor access points also meet stringent EN 61373:2010, EN 50121-1:2006, and EN 50121-4:2006 test requirements overseen by CENELEC, through its close collaboration with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), for use by various U.S. railway systems in their commuter train and subway stations and platforms across the country.

Superior 802.11ac Performance with BeamFlex+

The ZoneFlex T300 Series APs feature Ruckus BeamFlex+ technology, which enables their antennas to adapt to a mobile device’s orientation and location. All antennas have a property called polarization, which refers to the physical orientation of the wireless signal that each antenna is configured to receive or transmit. For best performance, the antenna polarizations of the two sides of a wireless link (e.g. AP and client) should be aligned. In practice, the respective antenna polarizations of APs and clients are seldom aligned, especially for mobile device clients that users frequently rotate and hold in different orientations (i.e. smartphones and tablets).

BeamFlex+ adaptive antennas feature a mix of two distinct polarizations (vertical and horizontal) across antenna elements. The signals received on these antennas, across the two distinct polarizations of BeamFlex+, are combined by the AP in such a way as to maximize the received signal-to-noise ratio, allowing the best possible performance. This has the same effect as if the AP were physically aligning its antennas with the client device. The adaptive nature of BeamFlex+ means that the antennas adapt to client device orientation in real-time.

BeamFlex+ can enhance the user experience by ensuring a consistent wireless signal. Without it, changing client device orientation can cause up to 2.5x performance difference. BeamFlex+ eliminates this variability and ensures optimum performance for any client device orientation, making the ZoneFlex T300 Series perfectly suited for serving mobile devices.

Cloud-enabled Technology

Offering maximum deployment flexibility and management options, the Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 Series APs support Ruckus Smart Wireless Services. These Cloud-based Smart Wi-Fi technologies include: Ruckus Smart Positioning Technology (SPoT™) service, the industry’s first Cloud-based Smart positioning location-based service (LBS); the Ruckus Smart Access Management Service (SAMs) for better enabling public Wi-Fi hotspots; and the Ruckus virtual SmartCell Gateway (vSCG), the industry’s first carrier-grade Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) solution for mobile network operators (MNOs), multiple system operators (MSOs), managed service providers (MSPs) and enterprises designed to streamline the creation of highly scalable and resilient cloud-based wireless LAN (WLAN) services.

For more information on the T300 and T301n please contact your Net-Ctrl account manager, or email sales@net-ctrl.com, alternatively you can call us direct on 01473 281211.

View the original post by Ruckus Wireless.

Be Prepared with Palo Alto Networks and Always Stay Ahead of the Game

June 5th, 2014

With the current media focus on CryptoLocker and GOZeus malware it would be worth considering how Palo Alto Networks Firewall can stop the likes of these from taking hold in the first place.

Below is a link about how Palo Alto Networks can stop CryptoLocker:

http://researchcenter.paloaltonetworks.com/2013/11/palo-alto-networks-can-stop-cryptolocker

Palo Alto Networks Firewalls address all areas of what is generally referred to as the kill chain. The kill chain being the opportunity to spot and stop the attacks before they reach their end goal.

As seen from the article above the kill chain ‘opportunities to spot and stop’ are as follows:

Phase 1 – Recon/bait End-User
Phases 2 & 3 – Exploit and Download Backdoor
Phase 4 – Establish Command and Control
That’s four phases to deal with the problem before it becomes a problem.

Palo Alto Networks firewall has visibility and control through WildFire, their anti-virus, anti-spyware and URL filtering ‘pan-db’. These elements are all used all of the time to provide you with the ability to disrupt an imminent attack.

All of the above elements are Palo Alto Network’s own engines and signatures so if something is found by WildFire for example, the URLs found within the malware ‘potentially found by another Palo Alto Networks customer’s WildFire submission already’ can then be placed into Palo Alto Networks own URL filter’s malware category for immediate use by all subscribers.

The result being that ‘for one’ the URL filter you are using will benefit from something that may have only just been found elsewhere moments ago by another automated mechanism. This means that your firewall will already know about something no human even knows is going to deliver malware or allow it to phone home.

In summary Palo Alto Networks firewalls have unparalleled visibility of applications and threats, there are many components that make up the firewall all working together in real time to alert and disrupt imminent attacks.

By Robert Needs
Senior Engineer at Net-Ctrl

Beamforming Basics for the Wi-Fi Challenged

May 12th, 2014

With every new Wi-Fi technology or standard, industry fortune tellers are quick to cast adaptive antenna arrays into an early grave. This gets a little (a lot) technical, but it’s required.

Distinctly different from chip-based beamforming, for which every vendor now claims support, patented smart adaptive antennas are designed to dynamically and continuously create unique directional RF patterns (what we call BeamFlex) proven to deliver the highest throughput for each client device at longer ranges.

This innovation, yet to be duplicated in mass, has stood the test of time and remains hugely valuable in the world of Wi-Fi.

The first attempt at dumping of adaptive antenna arrays into a death spiral happened with 11a/g and its blazing fast 54 Mbps. Yet BeamFlex survived and, in fact, thrived as the RF environment became more noisy and complex.

It happened again with the introduction of the 802. 11n standard that came with the ultra-reliability of MIMO.

And, surprise, surprise, it’s happening again with the destruction (sorta) of the gigabit barrier brought by the new 802.11ac standard. The problem is, to which history now attests, BeamFlex has only proven to add more value, not less, to these technological changes.

At the core of current speculation (that adaptive antenna switching is doomed with 802.11ac) is the notion that transmit beamforming (TxBF) with 11ac replaces the need for Smart Wi-Fi. This is due to the common misconception that smart, adaptive antennas—as proprietary Ruckus BeamFlex technology—and transmit beamforming—as a standards-based technology—are one-in-the-same. This whitepaper details the differences.

Despite some similarities (such as the goal of enhancing signal quality and the use of the word “beam”), the two technologies are fundamentally different. Here’s why:

BeamFlex and TxBF are not Mutually Exclusive.

BeamFlex is truly adaptive antenna technology by which an access point (AP) selects an optimal transmit path out of many possible options. It is fundamentally an antenna technology, combining special hardware and sophisticated software, that sits on top of all radio foundations (in a protocol-agnostic way).

beamflex-transmit-beamforming

TxBF, on the other hand, is a digital signal processing technique that occurs within the transmitting radio, and is heavily protocol dependent). It attempts to send multiple copies of the same data so as to create constructive combinations at the receiving radio. The beauty of this is that BeamFlex (antenna technology) and TxBF (radio technology) can be perfectly wed; and a happy marriage it is. Ruckus can support both of these techniques at the same time to deliver a cumulative benefit to signal quality.

BeamFlex works for all clients.

Because it is an antenna technique—and not a radio technique—BeamFlex works equally well for all clients of all capabilities. This means 802.11a/b/g/n/ac clients all benefit, and there are no special requirements for support. Single-stream, two-, three- and four-stream clients all benefit, and there is no trade-off as the number of streams increases.

No transmit beamforming and Spatial Multiplexing at the Same Time.

Because it is a radio technique, effective TxBF DOES require client support (something a lot of people fail to understand). Consequently, 802.11a/b/g/n clients miss out on the perks. And some 11ac clients do not support TxBF. Looking at the pervasive adoption of 11n, we should not expect all (or even most) clients to support TxBF even by the end of 2016.

TxBF must also trade-off with spatial multiplexing. The same transmitters cannot be used for both. In order to be effective, TxBF systems should have double the number of transmit antennas as spatial streams.

1×1 clients (this means one transmit and one receive radio chain, in Wi-Fi parlance) will be happy with even a 2×2 AP; but for a 2×2 MIMO client to benefit (in any appreciable way) from an AP’s use of TxBF, a 4×4 AP is desired. This also means that a 3×3 client sees miniscule (if any) benefit from an AP that is anything less than 6×6 (yes this means 6 transmitters and 6 receivers, can you even imagine what that looks like?).

BeamFlex does not disrupt the neighbours.

As we use 5 GHz spectrum more heavily, and especially as we expand to support wider channels (80 MHz, not 160) in 11ac, we should expect to see more Wi-Fi protocol contention from APs operating on the same channel (because neighbouring APs are more likely to operate on the same channel since we have fewer non-overlapping channels). As a result, our precious 5 GHz spectrum will soon look more like the 2.4 GHz spectrum.

The value of BeamFlex directional transmissions is paramount to preserving capacity with co-channel neighbours. It does so by transmitting with directional patterns that both maximize data rates (allow clients to get on/off wireless airtime quicker) and also avoid sending RF energy where it is undesired (towards neighbouring APs). This reduces unnecessary contention with neighbouring APs, which drags down capacity.

TxBF is often visualized as a directional steering mechanism, but it works by creating signal peaks in point space (hopefully at the receiver’s antenna), which often creates signal peaks in unintended directions, causing interference where it is undesired.

Multi-User-MIMO is gold for BeamFlex

If you’re focused on 160 MHz channels in Wave2—or other Gigabit hype —you’re focused on a spec-bloated red herring. 160 MHz is for (some) consumer networks. The biggest bang from 802.11ac comes in the second wave of products (that hopefully come by Christmas of next year) and is what’s called multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO). This is a technique by which the AP can send downlink frames to multiple clients at the same time. And this enhancement will require new hardware (yes, for everyone). It’s a lovely protocol enhancement for boosting capacity, given the plethora of very simple 1×1 mobile devices on networks. But it comes with a big catch: signal isolation.

To multiply the efficiency of spectrum with multi-user transmission, we need to ensure that each station receives its data without receiving other stations’ data at the same time (which would cause interference and make MU-MIMO not work as intended).

It’s this need for signal isolation that makes Wave2 MU-MIMO and BeamFlex a perfect complement.

BeamFlex adds directionality and signal separation (along with a boost to SNR), while the TxBF component of MU-MIMO provides additional separation at the radio level. Higher data rates per station, MU signal separation, maximum spectrum efficiency. Call it, well, the perfect storm.

Is Wi-Fi performance a commodity?

Now that we’ve further bludgeoned home the technical superiority of adaptive smart antenna arrays (BeamFlex), let’s get to the real issue.

People claim that all AP hardware is the same and 11ac commoditizes Wi-Fi performance. There are two key requirements needed for Wi-Fi performance to become a commodity:

  • There must be roughly equal—or at least “optimal”—range, capacity, throughput, optimization simplicity, reliability, and interference mitigation from all equipment suppliers, and
  • The ratio of cost-to-performance needs to be the same for all equipment suppliers.

The Ethernet Example.

If you look at Ethernet, performance commoditization is a given because both of these issues are true.

There is enough performance (Gig Ethernet has been sufficient for its application for many years), and the cost-to-performance of line-rate Gigabit switching is nearly identical across suppliers (hence, trends like NFV are occurring).

But, unequivocally, without the most diminutive doubt, the answer to the question is that Wi-Fi absolutely does not share these characteristics (and perhaps never will).

Is Wi-Fi sufficient as of 11ac, even 11ac with Wave2? Do we currently have sufficient spectrum (or spectrum efficiency) to meet all of our capacity, performance, reliability, app delivery, and network optimization needs? If the answers are no, then it stands to reason that a product supplier that enhances the Wi-Fi experience in light of these technical deficiencies could still differentiate on cost and performance alone (but no one, including Ruckus, is really doing that).

When customers start telling us that Wi-Fi performance is as reliable as it will ever need to be, there’s a surplus of radio spectrum, they have no issues connecting devices to the network and there is ample capacity to keep all users and devices happy, we will be happy to admit that adaptive smart antennas should be put to sleep.

Until then it’s simply better wireless for everyone who wants to cause a Ruckus.

To view the original article by Ruckus Wireless visit the Ruckus Room.

If you would like to speak to someone about the content of this article, please call Net-Ctrl direct on 01473 281 211, or email sales@net-ctrl.com.

Ruckus Wireless Release R300 High Capacity Access Point

April 29th, 2014

Ruckus Redefines the Wi-Fi Price/Performance Paradigm for the Small Business and Managed Service Markets

New ZoneFlex R300 Combines High Capacity and High Performance Smart Wi-Fi to Give Organizations the Ideal Entry Point into Enterprise Class Wi-Fi Services.

SUNNYVALE, CA – April 28, 2014 – Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) announced today the immediate availability of the new Ruckus ZoneFlex™ R300, one of the industry’s highest performing and lowest cost dual-band, two-stream 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi indoor access points (APs) capable of delivering an aggregate data rate of up to 600 Mbps. Aimed at the price-sensitive small business market, the R300 is also ideally suited for small venues and enterprises with many branch locations.

With Cloud computing and the proliferation of embedded Wi-Fi in all types of devices, Wi-Fi has become a mission-critical utility for small businesses. As a result, they are now replacing SOHO-class, standalone access points with more robust, enterprise-grade wireless LAN (WLAN) solutions that are simple to deploy and operate while meeting their budget requirements.

Developed to directly address these issues, the Ruckus R300 redefines Wi-Fi for the low end of the WLAN market by combining cost-effectiveness with a rich collection of enterprise functionality and enterprise-class service and support options.

“With the R300, we are enabling our channel partners and managed service providers to reach further into the ‘S’ part of the SMB market with a highly differentiated and compelling enterprise-grade solution at a disruptive price point,” said Selina Lo, President and CEO of Ruckus Wireless.

“Combined with SAMS, our Cloud controller service, the R300 provides a whole new economics model to customers and partners. They are the first in a comprehensive solution roadmap we’ve developed to expand our market reach,” Lo concluded.

U.S. Census data shows that there are more than 6 million businesses in operation today with less than 100 employees each in the U.S. alone, and according to the most recent report on the WLAN market from the Dell’Oro Group, WLAN revenues for the small business market in 2013 reached over $4.5 billion, with over 100 million APs shipped worldwide.

The Ideal Component for Cloud-Based Wi-Fi Access

The Ruckus ZoneFlex R300 is the only AP in its class to integrate patented adaptive antenna technology to extend the range, performance and reliability of Wi-Fi at one of the most attractive price points in the industry. Deployed as a standalone access point or part of a centrally managed Ruckus WLAN, the R300 is also an ideal access component for organizations looking to migrate to new Cloud-based Wi-Fi access services such as the recently announced Ruckus Smart Access Management Service (SAMS).

Supported across the entire range of Ruckus management platforms including the ZoneDirector™ and SmartCell™ Gateway (SCG), the ZoneFlex R300 gives organizations a wide range of flexible deployment options that best suit their specific requirements.

R300 Product Details

The ZoneFlex R300 is a dual-band, two-stream 802.11n access point capable of supporting up to 256 active connections. Each R300 uniquely integrates Ruckus-patented BeamFlex™, a software-controlled, high gain directional antenna array system that continually forms and directs each packet over the best performing signal path, automatically adapting Wi-Fi signals to constant environmental changes to ensure the highest levels of range, reliability and client performance.

Within a sleek, lightweight and low profile form factor that fits in the palm of your hand, the R300 is ideal for small business use. The R300 comes with a limited lifetime warranty and features a myriad of advanced capabilities not available in competitive alternatives, such as network address translation (NAT) and DHCP services, optimized video streaming, per-use rate limiting, band steering, client load balancing, standard Power over Ethernet (PoE) support and advanced quality of services support for automatic prioritization of delay sensitive traffic.

If you have any questions about the Ruckus R300 access point you can call our sales team on 01473 281 211, or email sales@net-ctrl.com.

View the original article by Ruckus Wireless.

Palo Alto Networks Positioned in Leader Quadrant Once Again

April 23rd, 2014

Palo Alto Networks has been positioned in the leader quadrant of the magic quadrant for enterprise network firewalls.

Santa Clara, Calif., April 17, 2014 – Palo Alto Networks® (NYSE: PANW), the leader in enterprise security, today announced it has been positioned by Gartner Inc. in the “leaders” quadrant of the April 15, 2014 “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls.” This is the third year that Palo Alto Networks has been recognized as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Firewalls.

According to the report, “through 2018, more than 75% of enterprises will continue to seek network security from a different vendor than their network infrastructure vendor.” The report also states, “products must be able to support single-enterprise firewall deployments and large and/or complex deployments, including branch offices, multi-tiered demilitarized zones (DMZs) and, increasingly, the option to include virtual versions.”

QUOTE

“We’re thrilled to once again be named a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for enterprise firewalls report. We believe this echoes the momentum we’ve been experiencing as enterprise organizations see the value of a truly next-generation security platform – one that safely enables all applications and proactively prevents cyber threats for all users on any device across any network.”
- René Bonvanie, chief marketing officer at Palo Alto Networks

Leading the Way in Next-generation Enterprise Security

Nine years ago, Palo Alto Networks changed the network security industry with the introduction of the next-generation firewall. This breakthrough architecture brought unparalleled control through the safe enablement of applications, and exceptional levels of protection by blocking all known threats operating across a multitude of different vectors.

Two years ago, we again changed the industry with the introduction of WildFire and a next-generation threat cloud that focuses on detecting and defending against the most advanced, unknown threats. Most recently, through our acquisition of Cyvera, we added unique endpoint protection to the platform. The combination of our next-generation endpoint technology, our next-generation firewall and our next-generation threat cloud represents the most innovative, integrated, and automated enterprise security platform in the market.

With over 16,000 customers, our momentum is a testament to our innovative approach that protects organizations based on what matters most in today’s dynamic computing environments: applications, users and content – not just ports and protocols – and protecting them from the most advanced cyber threats.

If you have any questions about the Palo Alto Networks solution contact our sales team at sales@net-ctrl.com, or call them direct on 01473 281 211.

To learn more about the Palo Alto Networks approach, visit: www.paloaltonetworks.com.

To access the report, visit: http://go.paloaltonetworks.com/gartner2014pr.