I recently had my first chance to try out some Aruba Instant On access points. For a very inexpensive and approachable AP, I have to say I'm impressed. Aruba Instant On is practically plug-and-play. It has the ease and simplicity of a product you'd expect to find as a turnkey solution for a single AP at home, yet it has capabilities well beyond your typical home user AP. Aruba Instant On will automatically use either a wired link or a wireless mesh distribution system. This really gives the system flexibility and makes it a great option for both residential and small business deployments.
Mobile App Experience
I deployed my first Aruba Instant On access point using only the mobile app. I really enjoyed being able to do the initial configuration and deployment without even needing to pull out my laptop. Before the APs arrived, I connected to the Aruba Instant On portal and created an account. I couldn't do much more until I had an AP to add to my account, but you can also create your account through the mobile app. Once the APs arrived, I simply connected an AP to a switch with Power over Ethernet (PoE) and opened the app. The app walks you through creating your first SSID and a pre-shared key for authentication.
The next screen really surprised me: I was given the option to connect the AP directly to my ISP’s modem and use the AP as a router. This is a pretty fantastic feature that I could easily see being used for temporary deployments and pop-up locations where you need something more robust than a personal hotspot or a single AP.
Once I had the AP added, I could set the country for the site and give it a name.
At this point, there's a friendly dashboard to give you a quick status of your network. Nothing much going on in this network yet, but it's good to know that everything is OK.
The mobile application and web portal seem to have complete feature parity. I could not find anything in one that was not in the other. Since Aruba Instant On is designed for smaller installations and simplicity, you do not have a bewildering array of settings available to you. It's simple and straightforward.
These Aruba Instant On APs are a nice addition to your options for wireless designs and deployments when working at smaller scales. The simplicity and ease of use make this something you can safely hand off to less technical users to manage without worrying too much about them breaking the network. It's designed to work out of the box with very little configuration and it certainly meets that goal.
There’s even a community dedicated to Aruba Instant On for when you have questions or want to find out more. There are also some useful short videos that can help you get going and introduce you to the different AP models available.
About the Author
Scott McDermott is an enterprise network engineer and blogger with more than 20 years in IT and a background in multiplatform system administration. He wears lots of hats, but is particularly fond of wireless networking and network design. He enjoys a good packet capture, mentoring others and passing certification exams.