Aruba launches EdgeConnect Microbranch solution for SOHO setups in larger organizations

The new solution extends Aruba’s longtime support for the SOHO market by extending SD-WAN and SASE security services through a single Access Point without the need for a gateway or an agent.

EdgeConnect Microbranch provides IT teams with visualizations of connectivity status from AP to ISP, to enhance and accelerate troubleshooting

Today, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is announcing their new EdgeConnect Microbranch solution, a home office and small office networking solution for hybrid work environments of enterprises. The solution is part of Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform), and is comprised of APs a new suite of SD-WAN services, and extended SASE capabilities. It provides remote personnel all of the traditional services workers receive in-office through a single Wi-Fi access point, without the need for a gateway, agent or additional hardware at the remote site.

Aruba has served this market for over a decade, but the EdgeConnect Microbranch solution offers much more flexibility than was available before.

“EdgeConnect Microbranch will enable organizations to deliver in-office connectivity to any remote worker, anywhere,” said Eve-Marie Lanza, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager for Edge, IoT, and Hybrid Workplaces for Aruba. “It lets them determine what business outcome they want – for small office, home office and ad hoc locations. Lanza indicated that the new solution is also well suited to multiple newer use cases – like contact centres, where they estimate 45% of workers will be home-based by 2024, telehealth, IT/Developer support and retail pop-ups, including kiosks.

Lanza said that EdgeConnect Microbranch builds on the Remote Access Point [RAP] solution that Aruba has had for over 10 years.

“Remote Access Point served this market before – and those still stay,” Lanza said “What we now do is take into account how on-campus networks have evolved and what needs to be provided for the home office, so there can be a level playing field. This solution allows delivery of all these services to these new locations – through Aruba Central.”

This includes the SD-WAN services, which were never available through this method before.

“The SD-WAN services were available via an on-prem gateway, through SD Branch,” Lanza indicated. “Now for a branch office that’s not a big deal, but when you have those kinds of services in the home office, that’s an imposition. An SD-Branch deployment is more robust, but it’s for branches. Now all of these are delivered through the Aruba AP. This gives IT teams flexibility in what they deploy to home offices, and it gives partners more options on what they recommend for their customers.”

Also new is a SASE integration which provides secure connectivity to cloud security services, starting with Zscaler, directly via the AP and with Aruba Central providing orchestration of tunnels and unified configuration management

“This SASE integration of the SASE hasn’t been available before,” Lanza said. “On Day 1, Zscaler APIs will be integrated within Aruba Central, without the need for endpoint agents.”

Lanza emphasized that the fact that no additional hardware is required beyond the AP, and that the AP delivers all the services, are important differentiators in space-constrained environments.

“This is well-suited to the needs of large enterprise, particularly its ability to manage at scale, automated onboarding, and unified visibility,” she added.

Lanza also stressed that EdgeConnect Microbranch will be a valuable new offering for channel partners.

“It is a very differentiated solution that allows partners to provide consultative perspective around business outcomes,” she said. “It’s not just a box, and has minimal hardware footprint.

EdgeConnect Microbranch will be available in early access by mid-December, for any Aruba AP running AOS 10. GA is slated for March 2022. The cost of the solution is the access point, which varies by model. and the Aruba Central License, which is $145 per AP.