Aruba Networks officials are looking to give enterprises and midsize businesses a cloud-based WiFi network management solution that won’t force them to sacrifice performance and other functionality.
The company on Oct. 1 unveiled its Aruba Central cloud-based management service, along with new Instant access points (APs), that will bring greater speed, reliability and affordability to enterprises looking for better ways to manage the wireless LAN at branch sites, midsize companies that don’t have extensive IT help and educational environments.
There are other cloud network management offerings, but too many times they ask customers to swap the convenience of the cloud for less performance, less reliability and more costs, according to Sylvia Hooks, director of product marketing at Aruba.
“We’re trying to bring in the enterprises services they expect in enterprise WiFi, and put them into cloud WiFi,” Hooks told eWEEK.
Aruba’s solution is designed to offer up to 10 times the WiFi connection speed of competitive offerings, and to ensure that the company can continue managing the WiFi network even if the WAN link fails, she said. The combination of the Aruba Central solution and the Instant APs—which have a management interface built into them—means that customers can manage at both the network level and at the APs themselves. If the WAN link goes down, IT staffs can still manage the network, Hooks said.
In addition, Aruba offers a single architecture across both controller-based and cloud-based WiFi deployments, enabling it to manage all Aruba APs regardless of their location. The Aruba Central solution can scale quickly to handle large amounts of data, offers zero-touch provisioning with central configuration and firmware management, and—being hosted at multiple sites around the world by disparate providers—can manage Aruba-based networks in multiple locations.
Aruba also is offering Aruba Central via a subscription or as an on-premises solution, Hooks said. The subscription option comes with technical support, online knowledge bases and community support via the company’s eSupport site.
The new Instant APs include the Instant 155 AP, a three-antenna and three-spatial stream access point that is designed to easily be deployed on desktops and offer speeds of up to 450M bps. In addition, the AP offers four Gigabit Ethernet ports with Power over Ethernet (PoE) for connecting such wired peripherals as printers and IP phones. Also included on the AP is Aruba’s new Instant OS Version 3.3 software, which Hooks said enables networks to stay operational even when one Internet connection fails.
The software also provides dual Ethernet uplink support and 4G cellular uplink.
The Instant 220 Series APs include Aruba’s ClientMatch technology and are built for 802.11ac, the latest WiFi standard. The AP offers up to 1.3G bps performance.
Aruba officials previewed the 220 Series AP and ClientMatch in May, saying the technology solves the problem of “sticky clients.” Currently, it’s the devices that decide which APs to connect to, which can result in “stickly clients” that stay with a particular AP even if the device moves away from the access point, hindering its performance. ClientMatch shifts the connection decision from the client, and as the clients move around the enterprise, ClientMatch ensures that they are always connected to the best possible AP within the Aruba wireless LAN, according to Aruba officials.
The S1500 mobility access switch is aimed at midsize businesses, providing PoE for access points, 12-, 24- and 48-port options and four Gigabit Ethernet uplinks.
Aruba Central is available now, starting at $140 a year per AP. The Instant 155 is available now, starting at $895, while the Instant 225 will be available later this month, starting at $1,295. Aruba Instant OS Version 3.3 software is available now and is free to existing Aruba Instant customers. For the S1500 mobility access switch, the 24- and 48- port models are available now. The 12-port model will be available later this year, starting at $1,595.