This morning, Meru Networks is debuting Meru Center and Meru App Store, the new software platform that offers users a central network application provisioning engine and dashboard, as well as applications created by the company for software-defined networking (SDN).
Claimed to be the wireless industry’s first application platform for IT to create more open and agile networks, Meru Center provides a network dashboard that gives users a system overview, as well as intelligent alerts and a single-sign-on. Four Meru-developed apps come preinstalled:
- Network Manager: provides visibility and control for a unified wired and wireless network
- Meru Connect: assists with device onboarding and guest access
- Service Assurance Manager: offers predictive troubleshooting and site surveying
- Spectrum Manager: helps with interference detection
Prior to Meru Center’s release, all four applications were sold independently, but now, they will be consolidated and use a common interface and dashboard.
The app store will feature not only Meru-developed applications, but also those created by third parties. Currently available are Meru Collaborator for Lync and Personal Bonjour. The former is aimed at helping prioritize Microsoft Lync traffic by telling devices to give a certain amount of bandwidth to help direct Lync traffic, while the latter limits the “chattiness” of Bonjour, and empowers users to group their own Bonjour devices while blocking out others’.
A number of higher learning institutions have turned to Meru for its SDN-enabled WiFi and unified management, as the company noted a growing number of colleges and universities are looking to build “intelligent campuses.” When asked how Meru Center and App Store will continue to help coeds, Director of Product Marketing at Meru Dennis Huang pointed to what he calls the “move-in day blues.”
“When people come back to school in August or January with new devices, everyone wants access to the network, which is typically wireless,” said Huang. “It’s around this time we see huge spikes in tickets to IT. With Meru Connect, it dramatically simplifies this problem.” Huang noted that in one particular use case, using Meru decreased IT tickets by 90 percent for one university.
He went on to say that 70 percent of traffic in university dorms comes from Bonjour (you know, running Apple TV or Airplay during long hours of “studying”), and because its a broadcast protocol, it limits the network’s ability to work effectively. With Personal Bonjour from Meru, the clutter of everyone else’s devices (Huang said in higher education environments, there can be up to seven devices on the network for just one user) is removed by a user’s ability to group together only their devices and limits the scope to only what a user wants connected.
The Meru Center will be made generally available in the fourth quarter, and the company will continue to seek ways to build out its ecosystem to incorporate other third parties and their apps.