WatchGuard has added support for a new lineup of Wi-Fi 6-enabled access points to its WatchGuard Cloud portal in a move that allows partners to administer wireless security hardware through the same interface they use to manage WatchGuard’s firewalls, endpoint protection products, and multifactor authentication software for the first time.
“Providing centralized cloud management for all WatchGuard products, including Wi-Fi, is of utmost importance for WatchGuard, says Brendan Patterson, WatchGuard’s vice president of product management. “It simplifies how our partners purchase, deploy, and manage Wi-Fi solutions, and find all the information they need in one spot.”
Key features in what WatchGuard officially calls Wi-Fi in WatchGuard Cloud include access to data on signal strength coverage, bandwidth consumption, and other operational metrics; visibility into network failures, anomalies, and connectivity issues; and use of a custom-branded captive portal that prevents guest devices from connecting to a network until users accept the provider’s terms and conditions.
Built-in security safeguards include support for WPA3 encryption, protected management frames, RADIUS authentication, and VPN tunneling.
Technicians use a separate console named WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud to manage most of WatchGuard’s access points. That system doesn’t include features such as site configuration templates and integration with RMM solutions that come with WatchGuard Cloud.
The new access points introduced today—named the AP130, AP330, and AP430CR—are the first three APs supported along with the rest of WatchGuard’s portfolio by the consolidated WatchGuard Cloud interface, which will support all future access points as well.
Giving partners a single multitenant tool for buying, deploying, managing, and reporting on all of the WatchGuard assets they oversee, the company says, lowers operational overhead by improving technician productivity. Fully 95% of MSP executives believe that switching between multiple interfaces to manage security decreases productivity and efficiency, according to research published by WatchGuard earlier this year in partnership with social research technology platform Pulse.
In addition, centralized access to a full suite of security products helps MSPs grow revenue as well, WatchGuard says, by cost-effectively covering multiple security needs, including Wi-Fi-as-a-service.
The three Wi-Fi 6 access points introduced today are designed to cover a range of use cases. The AP130 is optimized for low-density indoor environments like small offices and remote work sites. The AP330 is meant for mid-density environments and the AP430CR is suited for high-density environments both indoors and outdoors.
WatchGuard has been gradually adding solutions to WatchGuard Cloud since the portal’s launch in 2018. The company added policy management, MFA, and threat analysis features to the portal in February and endpoint security products in June.
The Wi-Fi Alliance expects 2 billion Wi-Fi 6 device shipments in 2021, rising to 5.2 billion in 2025.