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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Extreme Networks has kicked off an extensive product refresh that will continue into next year and bring more intelligence to software used to secure IoT devices on the wired and wireless LAN.
During last week's Extreme Connect customer conference, executives gave attendees a peek at upcoming releases of access points, switches and software that fall within the Extreme Smart OmniEdge product portfolio for the campus and the branch office.
Extreme Networks products under development include an IoT device profiler. The software identifies groups of similar IoT devices by extracting traffic flow data unique to the hardware. Extreme based the IoT profiler's machine learning algorithms on those developed by Google for understanding natural language, said Eric Broockman, CTO at Extreme, in an interview.
"We had a theory that you could take network flows and, essentially, that they would follow similar statistics of natural language, but we had to prove that," Broockman said. "We spent a year on field trials with lots of equipment, our own internal network and, as it turned out, it's remarkably similar."
Once the IoT profiler establishes the normal behavior of devices, it can then detect and alert network managers to anomalies worthy of further investigation. Broockman claimed the software requires less computing power than other applications used for threat detection in IoT devices.
"If you can know the natural statistics that go along with these devices then all of a sudden, it dramatically reduces the amount of CPU and effort it takes to be able to do a really good job of anomaly detection," Broockman said.
The IoT profiler will feed information to Extreme Defender for IoT, which lets network managers set security policies for groups of connected hardware, which could include medical devices, surveillance cameras or point-of-sale systems.
Extreme will connect the IoT profiler to the customer's network using the vendor's Fabric Attach technology. If the customer doesn't have an Extreme fabric, then the IoT profiler will use an encrypted Layer 3 connection, Broockman said.
Containers on Extreme hardware
Other planned software would provide support for containerized network services and applications on Extreme switches and appliances. The company planned to build into its Extreme Management Center a Kubernetes-based orchestration application for deploying and managing containers.
Also, Extreme expected to release to select customers this year the beta version of an online catalog for deploying Extreme and third-party applications and network services from the Extreme cloud. Customers would run the software on the Ubuntu Linux operating system in Extreme switches and appliances, Broockman said.
Extreme applications the company is likely to make available in the store include the AirDefense wireless intrusion prevention system, the Network Access Control application, and the Virtual Packet Broker and Virtual TAP.
New Extreme Networks products include switches, APs
Executives at Extreme Connect also discussed upcoming hardware. By early 2020, Extreme plans to introduce access points (APs) and switches that fall into two categories: entry and value. The products in each category, respectively, include the X435 switch and 300 series AP and the X445 switch and 400 series AP. Extreme also plans to ship a midtier switch called the X455.
Switches in series further up the ladder have more multirate gigabit throughput and more PoE ports, while the APs have more radios and options.
Extreme also plans to introduce eventually a premier line of APs called the 700 series. Extreme was still developing the AP and had not decided on the feature set, Mike Leibovitz, senior director of product management at Extreme told attendees.
"We want to be able to offer something from a flagship perspective that's a little more than just Wi-Fi," he said. "Something else to bring into the product portfolio -- some different wireless technology."
Refresh of ERS line
Along with upgrades to the OmniEdge portfolio, the company promised a refresh of its Ethernet Routing Switch (ERS) line that customers can deploy within a stackable chassis system for a wired or wireless LAN. Extreme's BOSS network operating system is used to manage ERS switches, while OmniEdge hardware uses the company's EXOS NOS.
"We're still investing [in ERS]," Leibovitz said. "There's a heavy roadmap in terms of more software, more features, more hardware coming on the ERS product portfolio as well."