Juniper Networks is looking to simplify the control of enterprise networks by expanding the AI-driven conversational interface of its cloud-based Mist management system and adding a new security access control service.
Juniper is integrating the ChatGPT AI-based large language model (LLM) with Mist’s virtual network assistant, Marvis. Marvis can detect and describe myriad network problems, including persistently failing wired or wireless clients, bad cables, access-point coverage holes, problematic WAN links, and insufficient radio-frequency capacity.
By adding ChatGPT capabilities, Juniper is expanding the role of Marvis and augmenting its documentation and support options to help IT administrators quickly get the necessary assistance with problems or challenges, said Jeff Aaron, vice president of enterprise marketing at Juniper.
“As part of Marvis’s core functionality, we have always offered a natural language-based conversational interface (CI), whereby you can get real-time answers from Marvis to a variety of questions, like ‘list any unhappy users right now’ or ‘troubleshoot Bob’s team call,’” Aaron said. “ChatGPT augments the CI capabilities within our Marvis VNA by making it easier to query documentation and historical knowledge-base data. Questions like ‘how do I configure a virtual chassis for my [Juniper] EX4400s?’ or ‘What do the LED patterns mean on my AP45?’ are sample queries that benefit from this LLM integration,” Aaron said.
“With ChatGPT integration, we are able to understand the nature of the request and provide natural language replies, with easy pointers to where to go for additional information,” Aaron said.
Juniper also expanded Marvis’s capabilities to help with video problems by adding support for Zoom calls. Marvis can now pull data from Zoom clients and the Zoom cloud and correlate it with network-specific insights to determine the root cause of a bad video experience, Aaron said.
In addition, Marvis learns what causes poor Zoom experiences over time, allowing it to understand trends and identify anomalies for proactive and predictive root-cause identification and correction. This gives IT teams an edge in reducing the mean time to repair Zoom issues, and, in many instances, it can reduce Zoom support tickets entirely, according to a blog from Juniper’s senior director of product marketing Christian Gilby.
ChatGPT and Zoom integration support is available now with a standard Marvis VNA cloud subscription.
In addition to expanding Marvis, Juniper added a network access control (NAC) security service to Mist called Access Assurance. Juniper Mist Access Assurance includes network admission controls using the secure 802.1X standard and looks at user/device identity, role and location context to allow for identity-based micro-segmentation and policy assignment.
With Access Assurance, customers can enforce secure network authentication and authorisation without the challenges associated with the typical on-premises NAC that can require hardware and lots of administration, said Sudheer Matta, group vice president of products at Juniper.
“Network administrators often fear their own legacy NAC solutions because they are built using on-premises overlay hardware, which makes them brittle, complex to deploy and operate, and inherently lacking in both scale and resiliency,” Matta said.
Juniper Mist Access Assurance solution solves this issue by natively integrating NAC into the network infrastructure, and by leveraging AIOps and a cloud-native architecture to set up and operate access management, policy creation and enforcement from anywhere via a familiar interface, Matta said.
Access Assurance will let customers automatically add features, security patches and updates without interruptions or service downtime, just like the rest of Juniper’s Mist cloud services, the vendor stated. Juniper has also deployed cloud instances of Access Assurance in multiple regional locations to direct authentication traffic to the nearest instance for optimal response time and low latency.
Access Assurance works with Juniper’s other cloud-based Assurance services, including its Wi-Fi Assurance offering, which measures performance and service-level metrics for wireless networks; Wired Assurance, which taps into Juniper's network routers and switches to gather telemetry data that measures network performance; and WAN Assurance, a cloud-based service that will gather telemetry data from Juniper WAN gear.
Mist Access Assurance stems from Juniper’s acquisition of WiteSand’s cloud-based NAC security technology in 2022. Juniper has integrated WiteSand technology in the Mist cloud service to provide users a full suite of access control features, including a simple authorisation policy framework for onboarding guest, IoT, BYOD and corporate devices.
Pricing for Mist Access Assurance will be based on the number of active clients, and it will be available in the first half of 2023.