Aruba has announced a new family of 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) IoT-ready wireless access points and complementary access switches, along with modifications in security, intelligent power management, and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered automation and service assurance, endeavoring to deliver the performance, simplicity, and reliability that organizations need to give users exceptional digital experiences.
The new wireless access points support the latest Wi-Fi standard and are Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) certified for the new WPA3 and Enhanced Open security standards to provide stronger encryption and simpler IoT security configuration, and now integrate Bluetooth 5 combined with integrated Zigbee capabilities. These new capabilities are designed to enable IoT use cases, such as smart door locks and electronic shelf labels; Bluetooth 5 also delivers user-aware indoor location, which allows IT providers to create personalized experiences. In addition, Aruba has added power management features designed to let customers preserve their existing PoE switch investments while reducing access point power consumption during off hours. New features include Intelligent Power Monitoring, a capability delivered by Aruba Operating System (AOS) 8, and NetInsight Green AP, part of Aruba’s AI-powered analytics and assurance solution.
According to Aruba, organizations are expecting IT professionals to deliver IoT-enabled innovation that will allow them to create extraordinary digital experiences for their employees, customers, and guests. New types of experiences such as location-aware mobile engagement, digitally-assisted patient care, and user-aware meeting rooms can give organizations a competitive advantage. According to Gartner in a prepared remark, “Enterprises preparing for the future of work must offer engaging, consumer-like experiences and deliver technologies that enable, rather than hinder, streamlined work execution.”
Though the network at the edge is what connects people and IoT to the digital world, Aruba says, a solid network foundation is not enough. To enable new experiences, IT must be able to deliver improved and consistent service levels to address growing business demands and heightened user expectations. This requires not only a state-of-the-art network, but also the ability for IT to proactively anticipate issues in an ever-changing environment before they impact users and the business.
To address these challenges, Aruba is introducing the following new products and company modernizations:
- The Aruba 510 Series APs, a new series of 802.11ax, IoT-ready APs, with improved security, AI-powered RF optimization, power monitoring, and integrated Zigbee and Bluetooth 5 capabilities.
- The Aruba 2930M access switches, with support for the 802.3bt standard to provide higher power PoE (up to 60 watts per port), a requirement for some high-end 802.11ax access points.
- Support for Wi-Fi Alliance WPA3 and Enhanced Open Security Standards is engineered to deliver state-of-the-art device security.
- Green AP, a new feature of NetInsight, Aruba’s AI-powered analytics and assurance solution, that powers down APs when user devices are not present, offsetting the increased power requirements associated with select 11ax APs.
According to Aruba, an effective AI solution requires domain expertise, a historical pool of clean data to feed the algorithms that deliver precise and trusted network automation and assurance, and real-world experiences to validate the solution. The company aims to hold an advantage over many competitors with learnings and best practices built into the AI algorithms from the largest edge networks in the world and from millions of installed APs to deliver secure, autonomous network operations.
The new 510 Series APs work in concert with Aruba NetInsight to proactively monitor and troubleshoot the network, generating actionable insights and recommendations based on peer comparisons and benchmarks, and applying these recommendations to the network autonomously. This is designed to allow businesses to deliver the kind of performance and efficiency needed for today’s highly mobile and IoT-centric environments, while continually adapting to changing requirements to improve experiences for their users and customers.
The Aruba 510 series is a set of 802.11ax APs with integrated support for Zigbee and Bluetooth 5, designed to enable Aruba customers to support 74 percent of IoT devices. Having all three wireless technologies available in a single access point gives customers expanded connectivity. In addition, customers can reduce both their capital and operational expenditures since the Aruba infrastructure with Zigbee integration eliminates the need to deploy and operate a separate Zigbee network.
As higher performance 802.11ax APs handle a greater number of devices and traffic, they also consume more power. In addition, network architects generally design AP configurations for the highest capacity scenarios, and these combined factors mean that many organizations are confronted with rising power costs.
Green AP, a new feature of NetInsight allows IT to manage APs to reduce power consumption by up to 72 percent, lowering costs while supporting social responsibility. Using Green AP, APs can be automatically turned on or off based on utilization, resulting in energy costs savings and an environmentally-friendly network.
Additionally, Aruba’s Intelligent Power Monitoring (IPM), a feature in AOS 8, actively measures the power utilization of an AP and adapts to the available power resources. IT organizations can define and prioritize which capabilities to disable when an AP is operating over its power budget. IPM will begin taking power reduction steps autonomously as defined by the priority definition until the AP is operating within the power budget.
With support for WPA3 and Enhanced Open, Aruba’s new suite of 11ax APs seeks to deliver the security enterprises need as more users, devices, and things join their networks.
WPA3 adds new features in an effort to simplify Wi-Fi security, enable more robust authentication, and deliver increased cryptographic strength for highly sensitive data markets such as government or finance. Wi-Fi Enhanced Open complements the security protection WPA3 delivers by improving data privacy while maintaining ease-of-use in open public networks where user authentication is not used, such as local coffee shops, airports, and stadiums.
The Aruba 510 Series APs are available now, beginning at a list price of $1,095. The Aruba 2930M access switch is available now, starting at $10,799 list. The new version of NetInsight with Green AP will be available in the first quarter of 2019, with one-year subscriptions beginning at $50 per year per AP.