Aruba Networks Wireless LAN – Overview of Features and Components

Aruba Networks has been one of the leading providers of wireless LAN solution to enterprises, institutions and universities. It’s controller based architecture helps it to manage a large number of access points with a central interface.An overview of features supported by the Aruba Networks Wi-Fi Controller:

Aruba Networks controller provides for centralized management of all the access points. Be it authentication, sub-grouping them, applying policies or applying the updates – everything can be done from the controller. The controller also enables centralized authentication through a centralized database like Radius server/LDAP etc. User accounts can be created in the controller itself, as an option. The controller allows you to set the network access levels. Based on the user name and password, the users are classified into sub-groups. Each sub-group can have its own access policies (like internet allowed/not, SAP allowed or not etc). The controller also provides for bandwidth limiting per user/ per sub-group so that few users do not choke the whole network. There could also be a Quality of Service parameters set to enable higher priority for voice and video packets over data packets, for example. There is also an optional policy enforcement firewall which would enforce the network access policies applied per group and keep them away from each other. It also prevents basic attacks like DOS etc. There is a wireless intrusion protection module which would enable continuous scanning of the covered region for detecting any wireless threats like rouge access points, man-in-the-middle attacks, mac-spoofing, ad-hoc networks etc. Aruba’s RF deployment tool enables users to calculate the number of AP’s required to cover a certain area and the Live Heat map enables the user to see the actual coverage pattern – live in their PC screens. The strength of the bandwidth at a particular location in a floor plan could be ascertained by its colour. You could also enable location tracking – where the location of a PC or a device (attached with a wireless tag) could be detected within 1-3 meters in the floor plan. Voice over Wireless LAN enables you to connect your dual-mode phones and Wi-Fi handsets to the VOIP network and take the land line calls on the move.

For a more detailed description of the features supported by Aruba Networks please refer to the following article: Salient features of Aruba Networks Wireless LAN Solution

An overview of Controller and Access Point models:

The basic controller – Aruba 200 supports up to 6 Access points, followed by Aruba 800 Controller which supports up to 16 Access points (There are 8 POE Switch ports integrated in this model). Aruba 2400 controller supports 48 Access Points (with 24 POE switch ports) and Aruba 3000 Series support 32, 64, 128 Access Points with three different models. The biggest controller – Aruba 6000 supports up to 2048 Access Points in a single controller (Actually it is a chassis based system which has four slots, and each slot could be populated with a module to support up to 512 Access Points).

The basic access point – Aruba 61 AP is a single radio AP which could be software programmed to support either 802.11a or b/g. The next one – Aruba 65 AP is a dual radio access point which could support both 802.11 a and b/g. Aruba 70 AP is like Aruba 65 but with interfaces to connect extra antennas to boost the signal strength. Aruba 85 is a hardened outdoor access point that has a direct fiber interface. AP 121 is a single radio access point that supports 802.11n for higher throughput and AP 125 is a dual radio access point that supports 802.11n too.

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