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IoT User Interface Authors: Elizabeth White, AppDynamics Blog, Gary Kaiser, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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Xirrus First to Deliver Application Control at the Wireless Network Edge

Next-Generation Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) Provides Full Visibility and Control of Applications on Mobile Devices to Reduce Network Costs, Contain Security Risks, and Protect Business-Critical Application Performance

THOUSAND OAKS, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 11/14/12 -- Xirrus®, the leader in high-performance wireless networks, today announced a wireless industry first: comprehensive Layer 7 application visibility and control directly at the wireless network edge. Xirrus Application Control builds on the power of next-generation Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology to provide rich information about applications accessing the network, allowing Xirrus Wireless Arrays to prioritize critical applications, restrict usage of bandwidth-heavy applications, block restricted applications, and detect new threats to the network. Application Control enables management of wireless traffic where you need it most -- at the network edge before it enters the core network -- to provide full control to network administrators to manage the exploding usage and unpredictable nature of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

This announcement establishes a new paradigm for wireless network administration, improving on traditional approaches that utilize centralized gateways to provide visibility and enforce policies. The new Xirrus offering utilizes a distributed approach to controlling applications, placing the classification and policy enforcement engines directly at the edge of the network where bandwidth, security threats, and policies can be controlled before the traffic enters and impacts the core network. This functionality is enabled by the unique Xirrus Array architecture which employs from two to six core processors per Array to deliver the compute performance required to execute full DPI, unlike the one core processor designs of most traditional Access Points (APs) that rely on centralized controller models.

"When we first enabled Application Control, it was a revelatory experience for us to see what was actually running on our wireless network," said Scot Hollingsworth, Technical Supervisor of the Rankin County, Mississippi School District. "We have been a Xirrus customer for several years, and this capability allows us to optimize the network to an even greater extent. With Application Control at the edge of the network, we have been able to improve student attention to coursework by limiting access to social media games and applications during school hours. Further, we have been able to preserve network bandwidth for blackboard-type e-learning streaming video applications by blocking non-relevant internet-sourced streaming videos, such as sports broadcasts. The granular ability to do this at the edge of the network -- not at the gateway or the firewall -- has proven to be invaluable to our wireless deployment."

"Over a period of just months, network capacity planning, traffic management, and security have become orders of magnitude more challenging as the BYOD craze continues almost unabated," said Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst, ZK Research and Yankee Group Affiliate. "The influx of new smartphones and tablets into the enterprise has exposed the network to new, non-managed devices and applications that can bring a wireless LAN to its knees. Xirrus helps to eliminate that risk by giving network directors deep insight into applications, users and devices to optimize the wireless user experience."

With the new Application Control offering, Xirrus takes DPI beyond rudimentary port-based, protocol-based, or regex classification schemes to provide best-in-class deep detection of packet data. Where other DPI implementations stop, Xirrus takes application classification to the next level using multiple inspection techniques, including surgical pattern matching, conversation semantics, heuristic behavioral analysis, and future flow awareness. These multi-layered techniques provide superior accuracy and coverage of more types of applications. For example, Application Control will not just identify Facebook traffic, but the Farmville game operating inside Facebook.

Application Control answers the critical need for increased control of application activity on corporate and campus networks. For example:

  • Higher Education. Network managers can control application usage by location, such as allowing P2P file sharing applications in dorms but not in lecture halls.
  • Large Public Venues. Event IT personnel running high user density wireless networks can shape traffic to manage Internet uplink usage and monitor users for potential malicious activities.
  • Healthcare. IT directors can prioritize life-critical applications and systems such as voice traffic or wireless clinical equipment over patient/visitor Internet traffic.

Xirrus Application Control delivers seamless, linear scalability, increasing DPI scope and compute power as new Wireless Arrays are added to the network. The distributed deployment of DPI across Arrays is also more resilient because it is executed on each Array as opposed to a centralized system that can become a choke point or single point of failure.

Enables Intelligence-based Bandwidth Assignment and Policy Setting

"Managing wireless network traffic with intelligent application-based policies has been a dream of network administrators for years," said Shane Buckley, CEO of Xirrus. "First-generation approaches identify applications at a high level but stop short of providing the granular visibility or control needed to finish the job. Application Control from Xirrus provides quantum-level improvements, enabling identification of end devices, users, and applications, plus 'applications within applications.' Arming themselves with this kind of intelligence puts network administrators back in command."

Application Control uses a simple graphical interface to enable network personnel to manage the Xirrus wireless network, delivering real-time graphical views of application traffic across network segments and users. Historical reports run over any time period deliver network analytics to monitor usage trends and enable future capacity planning. Application Control integrates with the Xirrus Array policy engine to add application context to the firewall/filter manager.


Xirrus Application Control will be available in December on XR Wireless Arrays. For more information, contact Xirrus at [email protected].

About Xirrus, Inc.

Xirrus is the leading provider of high-performance wireless networks. Xirrus' Array-based solutions perform under the most demanding circumstances with wired-like reliability and superior security. The Xirrus wireless solutions provide a vital strategic business and IT infrastructure advantage to the education, healthcare, government and enterprise industries that depend on wireless to operate business-critical applications. Headquartered in Thousand Oaks, CA, Xirrus is a privately held company that designs and manufactures its products and solutions in the USA. For more information please visit: and follow us on Twitter: @Xirrus.

Xirrus and XMS are trademarks or registered trademarks of Xirrus. Other trade names used in this document are or may be the property of their respective owners.

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