Aruba: The Hellcat of Wi-Fi Access Points
I am back to buying lottery tickets. The debut of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat has stimulated my muscle car genes from years gone by.
The Challenger Hellcat is an amazingly indulgent Motor City classic, and this brings us to this month’s product review of the Aruba IAP-205 Wi-Fi access point.
So when given the opportunity, I was happy to road test the Aruba IAP205 WAP. From what I can see, Aruba not only manufactures a superior high-bandwidth line of Wi-Fi devices, but they have also covered the bases in terms of making the devices extremely easy to connect and program.
When taken from the box, the IAP-205 can be powered with an optional plug-in power supply, but this device also accepts PoE power, making for a single UTP cable connection to the LAN. I connected the IAP-205 to the TRENDnet TPE-S44 PoE switch on my daughter’s desk with a standard Cat5e jumper, and the unit fired up. These WAPs can be configured to provide potential bandwidth of an aggregate 1.9 Gbps. The Aruba 205 WAP also includes two 1-Gigabit wired Ethernet ports for backhauling Wi-Fi traffic to the network switch.
Basic programming of the IAP 205 could not be easier. The “IAP” acronym stands for “Instant Access Point,” and this product is truly quick to program. In the initial startup mode the device provides an “open” Wi-Fi connection so all that’s needed to get it going is a Wi-Fi laptop. Select the “Aruba” network (SYSID) from the list of available access points, and you have accessed the IAP-205’s programming. Punch in a static IP, set the SSID (access point name), encryption type and code, and you are done.
OK, so it’s easy to install and program. What about performance? Simply put, according to my Android smartphone the Aruba IAP-205 delivers 150+ Mbps performance, which is triple what I was getting with my existing Wi-Fi access point. To help handle the multitude of devices that might be connecting to a Wi-Fi access point in a commercial or public network, Aruba provides Adaptive Radio Management™ technology, which constantly manages Wi-Fi traffic on the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz radio frequencies to minimize RF interference and maximize performance for individual devices.
It’s important to note that the Aruba WAPs are full-featured enterprise level devices with a multitude of options such as Radius security server capabilities, “guest” user designations, and performance monitoring functions. Multiple Aruba IAPs can be centrally managed using the “controller-management mode” which provides IT personnel with the ability to configure, set encryption, and program network use policies and services. While they provide all the performance needed for large system installations, they are simple enough to install and program that network-knowledgeable integration companies can use them to greatly increase clients’ Wi-Fi performance without extensive installation or programming time.
Aruba also has the AP-175 series of weatherproof outdoor Wi-Fi access points.
Smart electronic security dealers will understand that having the ability to increase and improve client’s Wi-Fi is a simple way to increase sales and performance of Wi-Fi devices. And Aruba makes installation a very simple process — sort of like stomping on the gas pedal of a Pontiac GTO.