Instant On - Wireless

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Aruba access points turned my world upside down

By MS97 posted 07-21-2021 04:26 PM


Last month I shared my experiences replacing consumer-grade home Wi-Fi with Aruba Instant On access points (APs) and was giddily impressed with the new level of performance and coverage while cutting the number of access points in the house by half. After using them for a while, I have a top five list of things I learned going with the networking professional gear that is Aruba.

What, no power cord required?

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is awesome. Device power is supplied to the Aruba AP12 through standard Ethernet cables when plugged into a switch supporting PoE, which I have. This worked out great. I gained open outlets on my PDU and helped reduce the “spaghetti” mess of cables.

The quiet power of simplicity

My wireless since Aruba has only had planned and brief downtime—once to upgrade the firmware, and another when I switched to PoE connections. I don’t have to spend any time on my wireless network: everything gets a strong signal throughout my house and garage, no one is complaining about buffering videos or other signs of slow, unreliable access to internet. There is just no further conceivable upgrade path for my environment right now. Aruba has designed a lot of engineering, optimization, and real experience into the access point so that you don’t have to know it all. You don’t have to navigate an incredibly complex labyrinth of networking treasure chests and dungeons to get optimal performance and coverage, which leads me to this next point.

I was doing this all wrong

I knew that information technology (IT) professionals typically mount their APs to the ceiling, but I asked myself why I should go to the trouble myself. I had not done that with my consumer grade APs. I did know it was about optimizing signal patterns, but I wanted to know more before getting out the drill, screwdriver, four screws and wall anchors  (which is all I needed to mount them). I easily found this forum topic which discussed some signal propagation patterns to help visualize the concept. Feeling convinced there was just cause—and after consulting my wife--I mounted both APs to the ceilings and used some cable hiding covers for the Ethernet cable. The result was a look of IT sophistication, at least to my eyes, and my AP12s are not upside down anymore, instead radiating data signals in the pattern for which they were designed.

Here there be airheads--I mean experts

I did not encounter any problems installing or using my AP12s, but I did want to learn more and see what others users are saying about them. There is a strong community of Aruba users and advocates known as airheads for the times when you might have more complex questions or environments, or wish to expand your knowledge base, from quick help to some rather deep dives. This is a nice and free resource I still browse through regularly.

Keep guests at "harm's length"

I normally have not implemented a guest network at my house, but decided to create a guest account on the Aruba APs. After all, visiting phones, tablets and laptops are potential attack vectors for a network (especially now that bad actors know many corporate systems are inside of the home) and who knows where my friends and relatives phones have been. That guest network behaved just as expected, and I was able to limit the device bandwidth so that folks won’t decide to stay too long. While not unique to Aruba APs, I do consider a guest network to be a best practice.

Relax, do it

Are you ready to say goodbye to dead spots, dropped connections, and spinning circles? Aruba Instant On gives you a reliable, robust, and secure Wi-Fi connection ready for today's IoT, work-from-home, remote-learning, online-everything world. Set it up in minutes and easily manage your network from anywhere with the Aruba Instant On App. I made the switch, and so can you. Wow, that was a bad pun, even for me. Thanks for reading, and please let me know if you have questions or comments.

Mark Simpkins HPE