What Xirrus Means for You: Run Secure Wi-Fi Networks from a Simple Cloud-Based Console


There’s big news in the world of Wi-Fi: Riverbed recently acquired Xirrus, a provider of next-generation Wi-Fi network infrastructure. Xirrus already runs in the cloud and its approach to networking matches what Riverbed customers expect. Here's what you need to know:

  • Xirrus’ access points are very easy-to-deploy and use patented technology to handle truly stunning user loads
  • Xirrus Wi-Fi networks are managed by a single control console based in the cloud for total flexibility and scalability
  • Xirrus is already aligned with the values of Riverbed SteelConnect's networking philosophy, and Riverbed's product roadmap has Xirrus integrating with Riverbed SteelConnect™ in the future

We spoke to Bruce Miller, vice president of product marketing at Riverbed, to get more details.

No ordinary Wi-Fi routers

Xirrus access points are no ordinary Wi-Fi routers. "We build most of our own hardware and design our own antennas," says Miller. "We have products that are uniquely built for high-density spaces."

Xirrus offers a range of solutions to handle different loads: "We go from really low-cost access points that might go into a hotel or a small business, all the way up to bigger ones that would run in large venues with lots of people connected to them."

But just because these access points are specially engineered doesn't mean they're hard to use. With simple cloud control, most of the hard work is done behind the scenes and high-level policies can be applied in a simple, centralized way.

A console in the cloud

At the heart of the Xirrus experience is the Xirrus Management System (XMS), which can control tens of thousands of Xirrus access points in one network. Unlike many network management solutions that require an on-premise server, XMS is available in the cloud or on-premise, providing flexibility to the customer to choose what is best for them.

The combination of XMS and Xirrus access points makes network rollouts easy. "We set it all up in the cloud," says Miller, "All customers have to do at the install site is plug the access points in to the network. They'll automatically discover back to the cloud and download their configuration. If I'm the IT person, I can just watch the green lights on the cloud console and say, okay, this site’s up, that site’s up, everything looks good."

And once everything is up and running, it's easy to manage application-based policies from XMS, giving higher priority to traffic from specific apps. For example Microsoft Office or Oracle traffic can be prioritized over YouTube or Facebook traffic, ensuring the Wi-Fi network is providing a rock solid experience for the applications that matter most to the business.

The future is SteelConnect SD-WAN with Xirrus Wi-Fi

So in summary, Xirrus Wi-Fi networks consist of easy-to-configure appliances controlled by a central console where you can apply high-level policies instead of getting bogged down in the details of physical network infrastructure. Sound familiar?

That's the same philosophy that Riverbed applies to SteelConnect, and Xirrus currently offers a great addition to the SteelConnect portfolio. Miller says, “Xirrus turbocharges Riverbed’s existing Wi-Fi capability and complements our SD-WAN solution. The integrated solution can provide unified connectivity and orchestration across the entire network fabric.”

Riverbed will continue to provide Xirrus' core offerings as a standalone Wi-Fi solution. And our future roadmap shows Xirrus being integrated into the suite of capabilities in SteelConnect.

"Imagine a scenario where you want to prioritize Oracle database traffic everywhere," says Miller. "SteelConnect’s gateways have application policies that can control that over the WAN; Xirrus has the same policy capabilities to do it on the LAN." In a future integration scenario, "SteelConnect will be able to push a common policy down to both the Xirrus Wi-Fi and Riverbed gateways — in the WAN, in the LAN, in the datacenter —all easily managed via the cloud."

The great news is that if you’re looking for a Wi-Fi solution today, you can already get all the great benefits from Xirrus that we've discussed, along with an upgrade path to the converged SteelConnect vision of the future.

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