Aruba to release gigabit access points

Get ready for a great leap in office wireless network speeds.

Aruba Networks Inc. said Monday it is about to release a new line of access points that under ideal conditions could fire data around the enterprise at 1.75 Gbps using the 802.11ac standard.

The company said its 220 Series Access Points will be available for commercial sale next month start at a list price of US$1,295.

The company joins Cisco Systems Inc., Motorola Solutions and Ubiquiti Networks among the first enterprise wireless network equipment makers to make APs available with the technology. A number of manufacturers have recently released access points for homes and small businesses.

The 802.11ac standard is the successor to the current 802.11n and offers the possibility of almost tripling wireless LAN speeds.

There is however, one catch – laptops, wireless dongles and smart phones running 802.11ac haven’t hit the market yet, so no devices can take advantage of the potential top speed. But Zeus Kerravala, an industry analyst and principal of ZK Research, said they should start to be available at the end of the year.
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When they arrive, he said, 802.11ac won’t have the impact that 802.11n had when it was emerging several years ago. At that time enterprises were holding back on purchases waiting for the standard to be ratified because its promised 300 Mbps and up range meant a huge leap over the existing 802.11a/b/g wireless networks.

This time around, adoption will be slower, Kerravala predicted, because for basic enterprise network uses such as file sharing and email 802.11n is fast enough. However, organizations that are running multimedia applications such as voice conferencing over wireless will eagerly jump to

In the meantime the upcoming Aruba 220 APs have a technology called ClientMatch that enterprises will be able to take advantage of right now, he said. ClientMatch enables clients to find the best access points to connect to.

Aruba says that not only speeds up regular applications but also encrypted apps like unified communications and collaboration that can’t be identified by APs.

Aruba 220 Series access points draw much less power than modular 802.11ac access points, the company says. They also include a power-efficient mode for running at lower speeds with available 802.3af PoE power. Power-efficient mode gives enterprises the option to delay replacing their existing switch infrastructure and avoid the expensive labor costs associated with closet upgrades during WLAN design and deployment, says Aruba.

The company says the 220 series can achieve speeds of up to 1.75 Gbps with 802.11ac client devices, and up to 1.9 Gbps for devices with Broadcom’s TurboQAM™ technology.

The 220 Series also supports link aggregation on two gigabit Ethernet ports to realize maximum speeds on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands for delivering gigabit speeds. In addition, the 220 Series APs are smaller than other 802.11ac access points, making them faster and easier to install, and they utilize two radios, rather than three, making them less expensive, Aruba says.


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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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