Alcatel-Lucent Tackles BYOD with Help from Aruba Networks

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Alcatel-Lucent is enhancing its enterprise networking portfolio with new software updates designed to meet the needs of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) world.

Alcatel-Lucent is updating its core AOS Linux-based operating system and providing an integration with the Aruba Networks ClearPass system. Aruba first announced the ClearPass system back in 2012 and updated it earlier this year.

The ClearPass virtual appliance will now work with Alcatel-Lucent AOS-powered switches as an alternative Radius authentication server. While Aruba is well known as a wireless vendor, Alcatel-Lucent is using ClearPass to manage both wired and wireless client devices. The ClearPass Access Management System enables an enterprise to provision and manage a converged wired and wireless network.

“You can think of it as a replacement for Radius, or it can can work as a proxy with an existing Radius server,” Heitor Faroni, converged campus expert at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, told Enterprise Networking Planet.

For both wired and wireless devices, the 802.1x protocol acts as the key control mechanism. 802.1x provides port-based access control that is controlled over a network. In an Alcatel-Lucent network using ClearPass, when a device tries to connect to the network, the device sends an 802.1x packet to ClearPass. ClearPass in turn validates whether the device is authorized on the network and, if so, determines what access profiles to apply.

“Profiles have configuration information about how to treat Quality of Service (QoS) and what access should be granted,” Faroni explained.

Faroni added that many organizations understand access control on wireless devices but run into challenges with access control on wired devices.

“Most enterprises leave the LAN totally open, so anyone that can plug in gets access,” Faroni said.

The challenge on the LAN has long been that setting up wired 802.1x access control is usually a very complicated, non-trivial exercise. The updated AOS operating system on Alcatel-Lucent switches, in combination with ClearPass, provides an automated onboarding process for those wired LAN devices.

“We’re bringing LAN security up to par with wifi security,” Faroni said.

From a go-to-market perspective, Alcatel-Lucent is now reselling the Aruba ClearPass solution. As such, an enterprise can acquire switches and the ClearPass BYOD control from a single source.

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

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