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Aruba AirGrou first to let IT departments differentiate among shared, local and personal WLAN services

Aruba Networks, Inc., announced the AirGroup solution, which identifies access network users’ individual roles and their locations to make services like AirPrint and AirPlay available to their mobile devices. Adding to the recent introduction of the ClearPass WLAN solution, AirGroup will continue to strengthen enterprises’ ability to deliver reliable and secure wireless network service as well as provide zero-configuration networking to mobile end users.

Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager, a component of the Aruba AirGroup solution, enables end users and IT administrators to self-register shared, local and personal WLAN services. ArubaOS software for wireless and wired LANs delivers these services to mobile devices based on security policy and device location. AirGroup is available at no cost to licensed users of Aruba Mobility Controllers and Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager.

The BYOD phenomenon in the education sector is becoming prominent in Hong Kong. "The incredibly rapid and diverse proliferation of mobile devices and applications on university campus, especially when concentrated in areas like residence halls, offers a lot of benefits, but also creates a lot of confusion and contention for resources," says Gary Jackson, Vice President, APJ, Aruba Networks. "Imagine hundreds of students with hundreds of wireless devices and wireless dongles and receivers, all within range of each other. Chinese University of Hong Kong, for example, has deployed Aruba Networks’ WLAN solution to manage mobile devices and maintain its network with a centralized platform, making the on-board and management of devices a hassle-free process. And now to ensure that each user gets what they want, Aruba’s AirGroup solution allows us to turn these services on for the users, individually or as groups, based on their role, device and location, giving them a personal network experience without overwhelming the network."

Enabling service discovery across different IP networks can compromise wireless network performance by generating excessive discovery traffic. With AirGroup, IT organiSations no longer have to block the availability of WLAN services. In addition, the Aruba AirGroup solution delivers the following:

  1. Context-based access control: Takes the end user’s role within the organization (e.g. executive, manager, accounting, marketing), her mobile device type (e.g. iPad) and location (e.g. conference room) into account before the services are made visible to her mobile device
  2. Self-registration of services: Enables the end user or the IT administrator to register the available services and define user- and location-based access privileges 
  3. Zero-touch installation of services: Does not require any changes within the existing Aruba network infrastructure such as new SSIDs, VLANs, IP subnets or MAC filters

The AirGroup solution solves a number of network service usability issues, including the following:

  1. Enables students and workers to gain access to conference room TVs during presentations, based on group-based access privileges and proximity
  2. Automatically identifies the closest AirPrint-enabled printers
  3. Lets teachers project to a TV in a classroom using their laptop, based on group-based access privileges, while student access is prevented
  4. Gives students exclusive access to their TVs in their individual dorm rooms, based on personal access privileges, while access by other residents is not allowed

"Just as we have seen with the bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, phenomenon, people expect to use applications and network services that are commonplace in the home, like AirPlay, AirPrint and iTunes, in the office or classroom," says Gary Jackson, Vice President Asia-Pacific Japan for Aruba. "Aruba AirGroup makes this possible by allowing mDNS-capable services to be made available in enterprises and education institutions."