Extreme Networks announces universal wired and wireless platforms

Extreme also announces refreshes in the middle and lower parts of their portfolio as well as the addition of five applications to their ExtremeCloud IQ Pilot Subscription.

Extreme Essentials App

Today, Extreme Networks is kicking off its Extreme Connect Virtual event with a pair of important product announcements. They are announcing universal platforms for their switching and wireless portfolios, making them the first networking vendor to bring this kind of platform to market at the enterprise infrastructure level. As part of that announcement, they are also announcing a refresh of their ExtremeSwitching 5520 Series and ExtremeWireless AP300C and AP400C Series wireless access points. The second announcement is the addition of five applications drawn from elsewhere in the Extreme Networks portfolio, to the ExtremeCloud IQ Pilot Subscription, at no cost to the customer.

Having universal wired and wireless platforms makes management more flexible and less complex, and also has the advantage of simplifying ordering, licensing, and warranty management.

Mike Leibovitz, Extreme’s Head of Americas, Office of CTO

“When we talk about the ability to manage unified wired and wireless together, where we see the value is the ability to have multi-personas,” said Mike Leibovitz, Extreme’s Head of Americas, Office of CTO. “These are not different features in an OS, but the ability to run different OS on the same pieces of hardware. Being able to automatically change that persona is a unique value proposition unlike any of our competitors out there.”

Leibovitz emphasized the added flexibility is important in addressing different use cases.

“One size doesn’t fit all,” he said. “A large retailer is not the same as a stadium or a health care customer. Our competitors design products for a main use case and fit that into other scenarios. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

This flexibility is a major asset to channel partners.

“With the universal platform, you have confidence that you are absolutely selling the right piece of hardware, and also have the advantages of easier licensing associated with it,” Leibovitz noted.

The new switches and access points being announced simultaneously are part of Extreme’s rolling refresh of their product line.

“We have been refreshing and ‘cloudifying’ our products, and with these we have refreshed 90% of our portfolio to the newest products,” Leibovitz said. “The ones we are announcing today cover our entry to mid-tier products, which serve the middle to low part of our portfolio.”

The 5520 Series is a family of high-performance, feature-rich universal edge and aggregation switches, which includes 24- and 48-port 1 Gigabit models, 1/2.5/5 Gigabit multi-rate models, and a 24-port 10 Gigabit model. The series also offers multi-watt power over Ethernet [PoE] capabilities, making it an ideal wired backend for wireless APs or support for next-gen powered Ethernet devices.

AP 305C

The refreshed wireless products are the AP300C and AP400C series universal access points, both of which are now Wi-Fi 6 compatible. The AP300C series are indoor enterprise APs based on a new system-on-chip (SoC) that has two built-in dual-band radios, with options for models with either internal or external antennas. The Wi-Fi 6 delivers data rates up to 2.4 Gbps concurrently on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios.

“The AP400C series has three radios, which gives them higher levels of sensing and security,” Leibovitz said. “The third radio profiles devices and provides higher levels of security.” This includes the ability to scans for rogue devices full time, protecting the network from vulnerability or attacks. It delivers data rates up to 4.8 Gbps in the 5 GHz band and concurrent 2.4 Gbps in the 2.4 GHz band.

“These models both fit nicely in education market, retail, and some health care environments,” Leibovitz said, noting that some other health care environments were higher end.

The Extreme Switching 5520 Series family will be available in November 2020, and the AP300 and AP400 series will be available in January 2021.

The other Extreme Networks announcement is the addition of five applications at no additional cost to ExtremeCloud IQ Pilot cloud management subscribers. These are: ExtremeAirDefense, which delivers over 55 threat vectors for Wireless Intrusion Prevention (WIPS); ExtremeLocation, which delivers proximity, presence, and location-based services for advanced contact tracing; ExtremeGuest delivers exceptional guest Wi-Fi access capabilities coupled with advanced network analytics for retail, hospitality, and large event venues; ExtremeIoT delivers simple and secure onboarding, profiling, segmentation, and filtering of IoT devices on a production network; and ExtremeCompliance, which provides automated and comprehensive compliance testing for PCI, HIPAA, and GDPR.

“These five technologies are all ones that we had historically in the Extreme portolio,” Leibovitz indicated. ExtremeCloud IQ is newer to the Extreme portfolio, and is a rebranding and upgrading of the technology acquired a year ago with Aerohive Networks, which is why it did not already have the newly-added capabilities.

“The top line here is that they are being added at no additional cost,” Leibovitz said. “We are democratizing ExtremeCloud IQ, infusing these applications because we think every customer requires these. That’s why we call them the Essentials, and consider them part of the price of admission.”

The new Essential applications are available to customers in the Pilot tier, the top tier in the three-tier Extreme Cloud IQ model. Leibovitz pointed out, however, that approximately 90% of Extreme’s customers have Pilot licenses.

Over the next 90 days, customers and partners with a Pilot subscription can access the new services. Extreme is also offering a free ExtremeCloud IQ mobile app, providing IT departments with the ability to quickly and conveniently onboard new devices from anywhere and at any time. It will be available October 1, 2020, from mainstream app stores.