Fortinet Named a Visionary in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure

Wired and Wireless networks are foundational to the user and application experience that drives today’s digital innovation. But complexity has made today’s dynamic networks difficult to support and secure. Too often, we see siloed access layer purchases and design decisions that have been made without consideration for how the access layer will be secured. This often leads to complex security designs that have to be “bolted on” after the fact rather than integrated into the access layer. 

Security-driven Networking – the Definition of Visionary

There is another way. At Fortinet, we believe in a Security-driven Networking approach that puts security at the heart of the network. It begins by converging security and network access into a single system to reduce complexity while securing the LAN Edge.

Gartner defines a visionary as, “A vendor in the Visionaries quadrant demonstrates an ability to increase features in its offering to provide a unique and differentiated approach to the market. A Visionary will have innovated in one or more of the key areas of access layer technologies within the enterprise (for example, security, management or operational efficiency). The ability to apply differentiating functionality across the entire access layer will affect its position.” Fortinet believes that our Security-driven Networking approach networking reflects a new vision for this market – and that our placement in the Visionary Quadrant of the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure is reinforcement of that belief.

Fortinet’s Security-driven Networking strategy delivers a unique and differentiated approach to the market. We offer customers increased features without the need for licenses, security by design and not by add on, and integration into a platform that supports digital transformation, from the LAN Edge to the WAN Edge to the Cloud Edge and beyond. 

Converging Networking with the Fortinet Security Fabric

We deliver ethernet switches and Wi-Fi access points deliberately engineered and architected to integrate into the Fortinet Security Fabric. This enables organizations to realize the vision of a unified and integrated network that can expand and scale to meet evolving business demands without sacrificing security, visibility, or control. We believe our ability to execute on this strategy has enabled Fortinet to break away from the 18 evaluated vendors, placing us as one of the two vendors in the Visionary Quadrant in the 2020 Gartner Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure Magic Quadrant based on our ability to execute and our completeness of vision.

Our unique take on the LAN Edge starts by leveraging our FortiGate Next-generation Firewall as a network controller. This integration is enabled through FortiLink, a protocol that converges Fortinet’s Secure Ethernet and Secure wireless access products into the Fortinet Security Fabric. FortiLink enables the FortiGate Next-generation Firewall to directly control, configure, and manage FortiAPs and FortiSwitches as if they were part of the FortiGate itself. 

The result is simple, secure, and cost-effective management of the LAN Edge through the FortiGate Graphical User Interface (GUI). And because of the purpose-built Network Processors and ASIC technology that power FortiGate hardware, it is more than capable of handling the additional load of being both a Next-generation Firewall and a LAN Edge network controller.

Faster, Easier, and Cost-effective

The Fortinet solution also addresses another critical issue – the growing cost of licensing and functionality. Over the last several years, vendors have begun to commoditize and license features at the LAN that were previously included as part of the base offering. While these licenses offer recurring revenue to the vendor, they return little additional value to the customer. And in fact, they actually increase rather than resolve complexity. 

The Fortinet approach to the LAN Edge is different, providing several customer benefits:

  • Reduced Cost: Fortinet LAN Edge solutions reduce overall TCO and eliminate overlays. While many vendors require standalone wireless LAN controllers bundled with term licenses, no additional license or cost is required to enable LAN Edge management. The truth is, most Wireless LAN controllers are either expensive pieces of custom hardware, or require ongoing subscriptions to a cloud-based management system. Fortinet requires neither. That’s because Fortinet bundles these features into its FortiGate Next-generation Firewalls by default. Even base Network Access Control (NAC) features can be enabled and leveraged without the need for additional costly licenses. 

Or another way to look at it – our Wireless LAN controller comes with an industry-leading Next-generation Firewall for free. 

  • Simplified Management: Many vendors may offer a single view of key network elements, but few offer true integration of those elements. Each has its own configuration and troubleshooting that still requires drilling down into each element separately. Fortinet LAN Edge solutions simplify this management challenge through a single platform that addresses both LAN access and network security. More than just an overlay management interface, this single-console approach provides a unified configuration and operating system (FortiOS). As a result, IT cycles are minimized by having a truly consolidated location from which to manage critical elements of the network. 
  • Reduced Complexity: Overcoming complexity and maintaining agility are two of the most pressing issues network administrators face. Fortinet LAN Edge solutions reduce complexity by centralizing LAN and security functions into the FortiGate Next-generation Firewall. This enables administrators to establish single configuration for security, the LAN Edge – and even the WAN Edge through its integrated SD-WAN solution – using a common operating system (FortiOS). This single view of complex LAN networks enables easier management with less worry about unintended disruptions​. 

Customer Validation

Customer response to this approach has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, Fortinet has been named a Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure for three years in a row. This Customers’ Choice recognition is based on the overall rating of vendors by verified end-user professionals – using both the number of end-user reviews and the vendor’s overall user rating to determine the overall rating. This growing volume of positive responses further highlights that Fortinet’s approach to the LAN Edge resonates with customers. 

We see success with this new LAN Edge approach in every vertical – from manufacturing to education, and both in the US and abroad. And one thing many of these wins have in common is that the Fortinet solution is being selected after head-to-head proof-of concept trials. 

For example:

  • In the US, a large distributed enterprise public utility organization originally engaged with Fortinet to address challenges around the WAN edge, specifically to reduce costs and improve cloud readiness for digital transformation. It was during their proof of concept that they were introduced to the Fortinet LAN Edge solution through our FortiAP and FortiSwitch solutions – and although the proof of concept test had many participants, Fortinet’s solution stood out and was the one selected.
  • In Europe, a large supermarket chain was looking at similar challenges. They needed to integrate their networks across several individual chains that had been acquired over the years. In addition to SD-WAN, this supermarket chain also wanted to be able to centrally manage a templatized configuration for all their locations. Again, Fortinet’s LAN Edge solution – this time as part of our SD-Branch offering – demonstrated a perfect marriage of security with networking that didn’t add burden to IT staff.

A Complete Solution for the Campus, Branch, and Remote Worker

Building off the power of Security-driven Networking and our industry-leading FortiGate Next-generation Firewall, Fortinet is able to offer a LAN Edge solution that can scale to any deployment’s needs – from the campus to the branch and out to the remote worker. 

In the case of campus networks, Fortinet’s LAN Edge solution enables a single consolidated configuration, establishing a common platform for day-to-day management of both network and security and reducing the chance for error. Security-driven Networking eliminates the need for additional “bolt on” solutions because management and security functions are integrated by default. 

For branch locations, Fortinet’s Security-driven Networking approach to the LAN Edge consolidates the three main components of the branch network (SD-WAN, Firewall/Security, and the network layer) into a single standard platform for all branches. This simplifies remote oversight and administration of distributed locations to a single converged solution per site. 

And for teleworkers, the Security-driven Networking approach to LAN Edge works for remotely installed wireless Access Points as well. Leveraging a central FortiGate at HQ reduces configuration and management complexity for IT, while allowing remote users to have the same experience as connecting at a corporate office. Traffic destined for the corporate network can then be securely tunneled back to the FortiGate, while local or internet traffic can be split off and routed separately.

Final Thoughts

We are excited to be recognized as a “Visionary” in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure. Fortinet will continue to innovate and execute on Security-driven Networking, which offers a unique vision for converged networking and security across all edges and users.

To learn more about Fortinet’s secure, simple, and scalable Secure Ethernet Switching solutions, visit here, or click here to learn more about Fortinet’s wireless offerings. And click here to access a complimentary copy of the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure, Bill Menezes, Christian Canales, Tim Zimmerman, Mike Toussaint, 4 November 2020

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