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Juniper Networks secures IoT management

Juniper Networks' latest Mist AI-enabled product uses private pre-shared keys to secure IOT devices and unify their management. Juniper also launched two 6 GHz access points.

Juniper Networks has added IoT security to its cloud-based Mist AI network management software.

IoT Assurance, announced this week, creates, assigns and manages private pre-shared keys (PPSK) for IoT devices. PPSKs function similarly to passwords, allowing the device to connect securely to a wireless LAN.

IoT Assurance uses PPSK to assign a unique key to each device. That lets the cloud-based software identify devices individually while helping IT departments discover the location of network problems.

IoT Assurance also ties policy rules to each PPSK, which keeps devices from accessing unauthorized parts of the network. For instance, IoT Assurance would prevent VoIP phones on a sales floor from accessing data on a point-of-sale system through a shared network connection.

PPSK also provides IoT Assurance functionality for devices that don't support network access control technology, Juniper said. The capability will likely interest companies in retail and warehousing.

Juniper has connected IoT Assurance to the Mist AI machine learning platform to automate recurring IT tasks and provide insight into network functionality problems. Mist draws network data to refine the algorithms used for monitoring and troubleshooting problems. Bob Laliberte, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said Mist's network visibility should help speed up locating and fixing network performance issues.

Juniper Networks acquired Mist in March 2019. Since then, it has become a central feature of its business. IOT Assurance will join existing Mist AI offerings such as WAN Assurance, Wi-Fi Assurance and Wired Assurance. Mist competitors include Cisco Meraki.

Juniper also announced the release of two 6 GHz access points (APs). The AP45 is the highest-performing AP in Juniper's lineup. The AP34 is a mid-range product.

The 6GHz access points are for a new Wi-Fi frequency band that offers increased transmission speeds and reduced latency compared with existing 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Juniper Networks expects widespread adoption of the frequency to begin in a year. The APs will offer four spatial streams and continue to support existing 2.4 and 5 GHz connections.

Juniper plans to release both products in the first quarter of 2022. The company did not release pricing.

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget

Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Science, as well as covering community news for Boston Globe Media. She is a 2021 graduate of Northeastern University, and originally hails from Missoula, Mont.

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