Aruba Networks, (now an HP company) has unveiled its first 802.11ac Wave 2 series access points (AP) making it the second major vendor to bring an 802.11ac Wave 2 product to market after Ruckus introduced its ZoneFlex R710 access point in early April.
The company claims the Aruba 320 series are the industry’s first 802.11ac Wave 2 AP with dynamic multi-user multiple input/multiple output (MU-MIMO) grouping – a technology that will significantly boost network capacity.
It is the only Wave 2 AP in its class to integrate a Bluetooth Low Eenergy (BLE) beacon that can help manage battery-powered Aruba Beacons from the cloud for firmware updates, battery life monitoring, and configuration changes.
By 2018, it is projected that 75% of workers in large organisations will interact with video more than three times daily. Aruba therefore believes that IT departments are challenged to support increasing Wi-Fi capacity performance requirements.
Additionally, the introduction of a higher performing 802.11ac Wave 2 infrastructure requires the right kind of network intelligence to take advantage of new MU-MIMO-capable mobile devices by steering and grouping them together.
As an Aruba Wave 2 beta customer, Netflix Inc., the world’s leading Internet television network with over 62 million members in over 50 countries, is closely tracking the advancements in 802.11ac technology to support the bandwidth and capacity requirements of emerging applications.
Leveraging Wave 2 to support the digital workplace
To prepare for the anticipated tsunami of Wave 2 devices, Aruba has introduced new innovations into its patented ClientMatch technology, which originally solved the “sticky client” problem.
The new enhanced Aruba ClientMatch incorporates intelligent awareness for Wave 2 MU-MIMO clients, automatically steering and grouping MU-MIMO devices together on Aruba 320 series APs. This allows the 320 series to transmit data to multiple Wave 2-enabled devices simultaneously, increasing overall network capacity.
Through these Wave 2 enhancements, ClientMatch technology will not only improve individual device performance, but it will also boost overall network efficiency for 802.11ac Wave 2. The result is up to 42% improvement in performance over competing Wave 2 solutions without the enhanced ClientMatch technology, Aruba claims.
“To accelerate the adoption of 802.11ac Wave 2 solutions, Qualcomm Atheros is working with networking leaders, like Aruba, to manufacture next generation Wi-Fi equipment,” said Irvind Ghai, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Atheros, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc.
“Aruba has taken an innovative approach to maximising Wave 2 performance with its enhanced ClientMatch dynamic MU-MIMO grouping. This technology is designed to automatically identify MU-MIMO-capable mobile devices and steer them to the closest Wave 2-capable access point to provide enterprise-grade performance and capacity.”
Expanding indoor location services
In developed countries, most people spend the majority of their time indoors, and more than half own Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled smartphones. This large market, compounded with a growing number of companies planning to implement indoor location-based services, presents a unique opportunity for organisations to take advantage of Aruba Mobile Engagement.
Aruba has integrated Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) Aruba Beacons into the 320 series AP. This enables remote, cloud-based management of battery-powered Aruba Beacons, eliminating the need to install a USB version of the Aruba Beacon on Aruba access points.
Standalone beacons from competing vendors lack backend management tools and can’t efficiently scale to enterprise-wide or large public venue deployments. With the 320 series’ integrated Aruba Beacon, enterprises can now remotely manage, configure, and monitor battery levels from a cloud-based server, even for large-scale deployments with thousands of beacons, Aruba asserted.
Pricing and availability
The Aruba 320 series APs will be available in calendar third quarter 2015. 320 series AP prices start at US list $1,395. Enhanced ClientMatch is also available in June as part of the new ArubaOS 6.4.4 software enhancement.