Fortinet Debuts Universal Access Point

FortiAP benefits from Fortinet's Meru acquisition and provides both on-premises and cloud management options.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Aug 29, 2016
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Fortinet is expanding its wireless access portfolio today with the introduction of the FortiAP Universal Access Point. The new FortiAP is being positioned by Fortinet as a solution that enables AP control and policy management from different controller modalities.

John Maddison, SVP of Products and Solutions, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that the FortiAP Universal Access Point is all part of his company's multi-year effort on enabling a secure access strategy that provides security for all kinds of devices. Fortinet announced a new security fabric in April, that can enable an end-to-end security posture for organizations.

With the new FortiAP Universal Access Point, Maddison said that it can find and attach to a controller, be it in the cloud or on-premises.

"Just install it and it will find the nearest one," Maddison said.

Initially, Fortinet has a pair of new devices in the Universal Access Point Series, the FAP-U421EV and the FAP-U423EV. Both access points are 802.11ac Wave 2 access points that offer the promise of up to 3.5 Gbps of wireless throughput. The U421EV includes 8 internal antennas and two radios. The U423-EV in contrast also has 8 antennas though they are externally attached. Both devices are also capable of supporting up to 16 simultaneous SSIDs and both include a Bluetooth Low Energy radio as well.

Maddison said that the additional UAP devices will be announced in the coming months. He added that that UAPs are currently being positioned as supplemental to the existing Fortinet wireless AP portfolio and are not directly replacing existing devices.

The move toward supporting both an on-premises and cloud model for wireless controllers, benefits from Fortinet's 2015 acquisitionof Meru Networks for $44 million. Maddison said that Fortinet has multiple operating systems and they are all coming together in support of the Universal Access Point effort. He also noted that the Meru Networks team is now a fully integrated part of Fortinet.

With the Universal Access Point and the broader Secure Fabric platform, Fortinet is now aiming to enable organization to more easily segment and control networks for security. Maddison said that what he has seen is 'segmentation sprawl' in recent years with multiple types of technologies each offering their own take on how to slice up a network. Fortinet's goal is to both integrate with other vendor's, including VMware's NSX as well as providing a higher level of segmentation control for physical, virtual and wireless access.

"Our overall goal is to help enable segmentation all the way through the network," Maddison said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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