Should you be looking at Fabric Extend?

Over the last few weeks, the need for organisations to be able to rapidly adapt to changing ways of working, and have the flexibility to deploy home/remote/branch working have never been more apparent. On a larger scale, being able to extend network services to temporary facilities, such as the Nightingale Hospitals across the UK and pop up testing centres, have also demonstrated the need to quickly and securely facilitate these resources.
Enter Fabric Extend – the Extreme Networks solution to quickly and securely meet these requirements.

What is Fabric Extend and why is it relevant now?

Put simply, Fabric Extend enables simple and secure network extension over private and public WANs.

How does it work?

During these uncertain times, organisations are looking for ways to keep staff working, and this increasingly requires an adaptive and highly secure network. Fabric Extend delivers this in a number of ways:

  • It enables moves, adds and changes to be done 11x faster, ensuring rapid delivery of services where they are needed most, anywhere on the network or at remote sites
  • Provides the platform for applications to be deployed faster and with greater ease
  • Network segmentation can easily be done at scale and with greater inherent security
  • Provides high levels of resiliency and stability – all important when delivering critical services

Let’s take a moment to look at the specific point of security, and how it remains secure…

The network remains secure by leveraging the native stealth technology of Extreme Networks Fabric technology. This is achieved by isolating services and removing the requirement for an IP between the core and the extended edge of the network. When this is coupled with Automatic Elasticity, which dynamically extends and retracts the network when connected/removed, your network becomes highly secure, with full assurances that there are no ‘back door’ entry points.

Here comes the technical bit…

Fabric Extend works by extending the SPB (Shortest Path Bridging) Ethernet Fabric, as an overlay, over the WAN. This then allows the L2 and L3 VSN (Virtual Service Network) service types to be extended with ease, all the way to the branch office using the same powerful end-point provisioning of Fabric Connect.

It’s when you need to extend all the way to the field/remote site or home worker, that Fabric Extend really comes into its own.


In a traditional WAN architecture, the only way to provide separation for different user groups would be to provide separate WAN services for each tenant, and map these to the customer’s VRF (Virtual Routing and Forwarding) instances. This would all take place within the WAN hardware with the WAN provider – which impacts on the ability to deploy those services end-to-end on-demand. Why? Because every new service would call for touching the WAN routers and waiting for the WAN provider to provision the new WAN service. You don’t have control of the timescales and are reliant on the WAN provider for any action to take place.


With Fabric Extend, because this can all occur within the Fabric itself, it can be deployed at your own timescales and is not reliant on any third-party intervention. This means the services you need get to the right place at the right time for you.


Fabric Extend Key Benefits:

  • traditional WAN Routers are no longer required.
  • only one WAN service is required across all sites.
  • If the WAN service is IP routed there is no longer any need for the WAN provider to learn and exchange routes (with the customer’s network).
  • IP Multicast applications can easily be extended to the branch office

Do I need to have a Fabric Network to use Fabric Extend?

In a simple answer: no!

The good news is that Fabric Extend is available to any organisation that uses traditional networking protocols. Extreme has made Fabric Extend available through the use of VSP4900 and the ExtremeAccess Platform.  The ExtremeAccess Platform can be deployed alongside the VSP4900 with a connection over a Service Provider WAN or Public Internet, using either Fabric Extend or IPSec encrypted tunnels. In either case, services are securely extended to the remote location.

If your organisation would like to take advantage of all Fabric Extend has to offer, or you would like to know more about the benefits of deploying Extreme Networks Fabric technology, please get in touch.