Thursday, July 30, 2015

Meru's latest update to System Director introduces "non-enforcement license" model

Among the challenges of sifting through the array of enterprise WiFi solutions available today is keeping the licensing options straight. Everyone has their own model, and while in general, you can expect to pay a licensing fee for each device from a given vendor (there are some exceptions, Ubiquiti Networks among them), exactly how that licensing is tracked varies. 

Historically, Meru's licensing structure was somewhat limiting, as a given AP's license was permanently married to it's controller. While certainly a limitation, most enterprise WiFi deployments don't require IT administrators to move their access points around. Once they are plugged in, they pretty much live there and enjoy a happy connection to their controller for the rest of their lives. But over time, this led to a serious lack of flexibility when it came time to upgrade a given controller on a Meru Network -- such a thing meant new licenses for your APs as well. 

Those days are now over with Meru's recent release of System Director 7.0 and their switch to a non-enforcement license model. An access point can now be moved from one controller to another by importing the license file in the controller. The licenses are also reusable on replaced controllers. When upgrading to System Director 7.0, this feature is automatically updated for the current APs on the network. 

With competitors like Aruba ever beating the drum of flexible deployment options, this is an important improvement to Meru's structure. While touting some of the highest capacity access points in the market with their patented single channel architecture, Cisco-Meraki and Aruba continue to capture the attention of IT decision makers. As Meru has recently been acquired by Fortinet, this development to their licensing scheme only continues to intrigue the future of enterprise WiFi offerings and competition. 

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