CTS 193: Fortinet @ MOBILITY FIELD DAY 4

We all know Fortinet as a security company, but they also provide wireless products. They actually started to do wireless when their customers asked them to secure their own Wi-Fi Networks. This year at Mobility Field Day 4, they wanted to talk about their overall wireless offering.

If you want to catch back with the presentations and watch them, here are the links you need:

For more insights from the other delegates, please read the following articles:

Fortinet Presenters: Chris Hinsz, Director, Products and Solutions – Wireless.

In this episode, we talk about some of the interesting topics discussed during the event.

A FortiSolution for Everything!

The Fortinet portfolio is very impressive. It feels like they pretty much do everything! Here is their offering for branch offices that they call “Extended Branch Office”:

In terms of their wireless portfolio, here is a list of some of the thing they support (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Wi-Fi 6 APs
  • Multi-Gig switched with UPoE support
  • Multiple types of controllers for the Forti-APs (FortiGate, Dedicated Controllers or Cloud)
  • FortiNAC solution
  • FortiWLM monitoring solution

I especially like the fact that you can manage the APs from the FortiGate. In smaller networks, it could be an ideal solid solution.

Wi-Fi 6 APs

Fortinet is bringing their new Wi-Fi APs to the market: FortiAP-U431F & FortiAP-U433F

And it is also their first tri-radio access point. The access point will actually be able to operate in different modes:

The last mode presented is very interesting. It would allow to use all radios to provide Wi-Fi access service (2 radios for the 5Ghz band and the third one for the 2.4Ghz band). This is something that we don’t often see offered with tri-radio APs. We typically see the third radio used to do some sort of monitoring or testing.

FortiWLM – Managing the RF

FortiWLM is a RF manager that pairs up with the wireless controller. It is used to perform complexe RF investigation. This is an optional feature but adds a lot of value for challenging and complex environments. It is sold as a VM or an appliance.

FortiWLM communicates with the FortiWLC and the FortiGate to gather the data using SNMP. The polling interval is 10mins by default but can be changed (1min is the smaller polling interval available).

Here are the main sections of the WLM interface:

FortiWLM gives you insights on the health of your Wi-Fi networks (RF, Spectrum, Assurance…). You can also do Wi-Fi packet captures.

The dashboard UI of the WLM is very nice.

Advanced Features:

  • Spectrum Data (Use the chipset data / Broadcom chipsets)
  • Service Assurance Manager (You can create a baseline test and schedule it to run)
  • Wireless IPS
  • Client locations (Wi-Fi & BLE)

IoT – FortiNAC

Fortinet also talked about IoT at Mobility Field Day4. However, their focus was on security (how surprising!). They are putting a lot of efforts in their NAC solution to be able to classify devices coming unto the network and analyzing potential threats. Their organize the NAC into the following 3 main sections: Visibility, Control & Response.

Fortinac uses flows to classify the devices and configure the network accordingly. Using inputs such as DHCP, MDM, CLI, SNMP, Syslog…

FortiNAC communicates with the network to make sure it is configure properly. It can also send policies to the FortiGate. This is very useful if you have FortiGates on your network as it will ease the configuration and management of your security solution. FortiNAC will continue to do a risk analysis as the client devices comes on the network.

Innovation

In order to close the day, Chris wanted to show us a couple of fun projects the Fortinet R&D team is working on. It was very fun to finish on that note. We even got to hang out with the FortiRobot once the presentation was over.

Here are the couple of fun wireless projects Fortinet is working on:

  • FortiRobot: use it to verify wireless coverage. Free verification of the coverage. The robot can create a map itself. It also has security cameras and can act as a security guard.
  • FortiExplorer: iOS application to help monitor and manage the Wi-Fi network
  • AI / ML for Wi-Fi: they are using it for security and are thinking of bringing it over to the wireless product line. They just want to make sure it will offer some value.
Here is the robot Rowell was talking about

You can download the slides provided by Fortinet here:

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About the Author
Wireless Network Engineer and Owner at SemFio Networks. CWNE #180. Living in London ON Canada, born and raised in Dijon, France.

One comment on “CTS 193: Fortinet @ MOBILITY FIELD DAY 4

  1. Flavien Richard says:

    Bonjour François.

    I have always been a fan of your considerable efforts in explaining so complex topics with a level that makes Wireless professionals and tech-savvy guys understand it and feel so happy they do.

    You are a reference for the whole industry and I am feeling quite proud that you highlight Fortinet in this post, as we are working hard at offering something different to customers, with the combination of all our options and a native tie-in to Security.

    Bravo for all your work and thanks for this unsollicited episode. If you need more info or if people ask you questions, you have my details now, and would be happy to help as Wireless CSE for Fortinet in INTL region (EMEAR+APJC) team.

    Cheers.

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