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Intelligent Networks Require Intelligent Solutions

By Richard McIntosh, Blog Contributor
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TLDR: A user should be able to visit any of your locations and know they are going to have the same experience without having to set expectations or connect their devices differently. Not only does consistency in your configurations allow a better user experience and operator workflow, but also it enables your team to automate tasks across your organization.
Man working on a laptop in the jungleI work in an industry where new locations are constantly opening. It feels like every time our team has a meeting, we start discussing the next branch office. Most often these are small facilities that have a few access points and a switch or two. While these sites are relatively small and easily managed by themselves, things get a bit messy when it comes to managing more than 90 locations. That is, unless, you have a unified central management platform for network operations and analytics like Aruba Central.

For me, it becomes a matter of consistency. A user should be able to visit any of your locations and know they are going to have the same experience without having to set expectations or connect their devices differently. The same measure should be followed for network operators. Having to spend time discovering how a particular site is configured, before you can begin troubleshooting a problem is obnoxious and a waste of time. Not only does consistency in your configurations allow a better user experience and operator workflow, but also it enables your team to automate tasks across your organization. Instead of having to write scripts to update QoS_Florida and Uplink_QoS_Policy and default-policy, centralized consistency empowers you to update only one QoS policy and deploy it across all your sites instantly.

This becomes even more critical when you add SD-WAN into your environment. It is imperative to have a centralized platform if you truly want to make use of both an MPLS circuit and an Internet circuit with VPN to interconnect your sites. There is a decision process that must take place in order for the best path to be chosen. That process requires real-time performance metrics and coordination.

In a typical dual-link environment, we could either fail-over or load-balance equally over the two links; regardless if a circuit was underperforming. With centralized SD-WAN we are able to measure link quality and set preferences based on the types of traffic we are sending. Not only are we afforded the ability to have voice traffic prefer our expensive MPLS circuit for its low latency, but also we can automatically flip to use the internet with VPN when there is a problem within the MPLS network. Previously, this voice traffic would have only used the Internet circuit if we manually made a change or if the MPLS network was down.

What about your daily tasks? How do you monitor and improve locations where a technical resource may rarely, if ever, visit? Skipping past the old method of waiting for users to complain, now you can let your Central dashboard alert you when something is out of the ordinary. Once devices are deployed, your environment is continuously being monitored. Central can then alert your team that a link on your SD-WAN is having a problem, or that all your access points at your Albuquerque store are seeing a high level of interference. This gives your team a chance to fix problems, before they are caught off guard by trouble tickets in your queue.

Aruba Central opens the door to easily deploying and maintaining that consistent experience from anywhere to anywhere. The platform has continued to evolve, grow, and provide ways to manage these vast networks. You can give Aruba Central a try for 90 days by signing up for an test drive. Take it for a test drive and see if you’re able to improve your customers experience as well as remove some of the technical challenges that comes with running a large network.

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