Mist Systems is a subsidiary of Juniper, and HCD Consulting GmbH is one of the company’s first sales partners in Germany. Mist is pursuing a revolutionary approach to the management of wireless networks, in which the focus is on agility and flexibility.
The Mist approach casts doubt on previous conventional methods of network organisation and links Cloud-based services with artificial intelligence. Furthermore, Mist links wireless access points with high-performance Bluetooth antennas to enable indoor navigation, asset tracking and proximity notifications with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). And Mist also offers crucial advantages to operators of IoT devices.
Five features that make Mist stand out from other manufacturers
Mist is the first manufacturer to pursue completely new approaches in the construction of wireless networks. The key to this strategy is a move away from traditional hardware controllers towards a modular system with microservices.
Legacy hardware controllers have – among other weaknesses – the disadvantage that they run monolithic firmware that makes them complicated and prone to error. Even newer, Cloud-based wireless systems use all-encompassing firmware for management tasks; the only difference is that the hardware controller was replaced by a software controller. The disadvantages of this approach include long development cycles for updates and features, and vulnerability to software bugs. Mist too uses management through the Cloud – but by microservices and not by conventional standard firmware.
Firmware has been divided into its functions, which act independently of one another as microservices. All microservices are linked via a real-time bus, which is responsible for communication of modules with one another. The Mist Cloud monitors all modules and scales the various services according to needs. Each service is managed by a dedicated team of developers and is completely autonomous. That means only those features that are really needed will run on the devices.
Besides delivering a lean system, this also has further benefits: updates and new features can be made available independently for each microservice without having to heed fixed release cycles. However, the greatest advantage is the autonomy of microservices during operation. Bugs in other microservices, failures of individual microservices or updates do not affect the overall system.
To meet the requirements of German and European data protection laws and the DSGVO, Mist offers a cloud environment hosted in Frankfurt. This is completely separated from the American cloud and cannot be transferred.
AI for IT
But Mist’s greatest innovation is the utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI). However, instead of subsequently imposing these functions on an existing system, at Mist AI is the starting point of development and therefore deeply integrated within the system. Mist can collect metadata from over 150 client states and therefore characterise network utilisation and adapt it to the needs of its users.
The use of data science techniques opens up new insights into a company’s own network, which helps to avoid errors and enhances quality. Mist has developed Marvis, a virtual assistant, to make these tools available to the user in the simplest way possible. Marvis acts as a translator between man and machine. Instead of you having to laboriously extract data from the dashboard yourself, Marvis presents the correct data to your questions – in natural language.
Bluetooth Low Energy
Mist’s Bluetooth Low Energy integration provides added value that goes beyond Wi-Fi. In addition to Wi-Fi antennas, Mist access points feature 16 high-performance Bluetooth antennas, whereby Mist has not merely included Bluetooth antennas in its access points but utilises its lead in machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide the most accurate and scalable location service in the sector. The patented “virtual Bluetooth LE” enables virtual Bluetooth beacons to be positioned that require no manual site surveys. This lowers both costs and complexity for Bluetooth-based indoor positioning systems and asset tracking.
Mist also offers IoT integration into its access points. The possibility of connecting IoT devices directly to the access points via an 8-pin interface takes the possible uses way beyond those of normal access points. The Mist AP43 also features integrated temperature, humidity and pressure sensors, which can also be accessed via the interface.
The Mist API contains a series of tools that enable the building of software and applications that interact with the Mist Cloud. The interface is a well-documented RESTful API available to every Mist customer, which means integrating the Mist wireless solution into existing systems and automation is no problem at all.