Written by: Jeremy Rouse
Want to save money on your next wireless network rollout, without spending big bucks on underutilized controllers and still have High Availability? Check out Aruba Instant Access Points:
Large enterprises typically deploy wireless local area networks (WLAN) with access points managed by a central controller. But not every company needs the horse power or features of a physical controller-based WLAN. Considering the costs associated with a central controller, an additional controller for high availability (HA), plus licenses; the price tag can be substantial. Controller based WLAN certainly has it's benefits, and is appropriate in certain environments. In this article, we will focus on the benefits of a controller-less architecture.
Aruba Instant Access Point (IAP) is a controller-less architecture for WLAN, enabling companies to rapidly deploy wireless networks. In an IAP deployment, the primary IAP is configured and the rest of the IAPs inherit their configurations from the primary.
The system includes a virtual controller embedded into the access point providing administrators with features that are available on physical hardware controllers. Everything from central management, reporting, role based access and adaptive radio management; all is supported with Aruba Instant.
Like Aruba's controller based access points, IAPs leverage patented ClientMatch technology to ensure that devices are connected to the best AP, which prevents the Wi-Fi network from slowing down as people move throughout your campus.
Aruba’s integrated next-generation mobility firewall leverages deep packet inspection. It classifies traffic by application or application groups so that you can apply prioritization and policies based on your business needs. Additionally, Aruba access points support RFProtect, which provides integrated IPS and spectrum analysis capabilities.
Aruba Instant employs a fully distributed architecture and is resilient to failure. The primary virtual controller serves as both an Aruba access point and a full functioning "controller". If an Aruba IAP functioning as the primary virtual controller fails, another IAP automatically inherits the role of the primary virtual controller with no service disruption.
I recently had a customer who wanted to upgrade their existing wireless network. Due to the high costs of the controllers and HA requirements, they decided not to move forward even though their legacy WLAN was problematic and out of compliance. When we introduced them to Aruba Instant, they discovered that deploying Aruba IAPs provided all the controller features, security and high availability they required. In addition, they were able to leverage the latest 802.11ac standard without expensive controllers. Our wireless team put together a complete solution that included professional services to migrate off of their existing infrastructure and tuning to maximize coverage. They have rolled out IAPs to multiple sites and are very pleased with the performance.
If you would like to learn more about Aruba's controller-less wireless architecture, please contact your local Bird Rock Systems representative or visit our contact page.
In coming articles, I will discuss how Aruba Instant access points integrate with the Aruba’s cloud solution (Aruba Central), integration with AAA solutions like Clearpass, and discuss Airwave for administering and monitoring multiple IAP networks.