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Wednesday, 15 July 2015 17:56

Aruba readies 802.11ac Wave 2 access point


HP's networking subsidiary Aruba Networks has announced a new 802.11ac Wave 2 access point, the Aruba 320 series.

802.11ac Wave 2 significantly increases wireless network capacity. One way this is done is through MU-MIMO (multi-user multiple input, multiple output) technology.

Where 802.11ac Wave 1 supported beamforming to direct the signal towards client devices, the use of MIMO required the clients to have multiple antennas to receive the multiple streams, and was limited to one device at a time.

Wave 2 gives the access point more work to do, but by doing so it can direct streams to multiple clients at the same time, and they only need one antenna. This is a more appropriate arrangement for smartphones and other small devices that can only be conveniently fitted with a single antenna, especially as it includes a mechanism to better handle moving devices. The difference between MIMO and MU-MIMO is sometimes likened to the difference between a hub and a switch.

By supporting an additional stream and other changes, Wave 2 pushes up the potential throughput to a single device into the gigabit range.

Aruba's ClientMatch technology, used in the 320 series, was originally implemented to solve mobile devices that do not roam to the next access point and thereby degrade the network's performance. It has been enhanced to provide intelligent awareness for Wave 2 MU-MIMO clients, automatically steering and grouping them together to take advantage of Wave 2's ability to transmit data to multiple Wave 2-enabled clients simultaneously. This increases the overall network capacity.

Aruba claims that ClientMatch provides up to 42% better performance than competing Wave 2 solutions which lack this technology.

The company also claims the 320 series is the only access point in its class to incorporate a Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) beacon. This is used to help manage battery-powered Aruba beacons in the vicinity (Aruba's management tools can handle thousands of beacons), and is also available for proximity-based capabilities such as indoor navigation and push notifications.

"A range of factors are putting more strain on Wi-Fi networks: a growing number of devices per user accessing a single network, real-time and streamed video, VoIP applications and the increasing emergence of The Internet of Things," said Aruba ANZ country manager Steve Coad.

"We're thrilled to bring the new Aruba 320 Series to the Australia and New Zealand markets, helping accelerate digital domains from large office buildings, classrooms and hospitals to sporting stadiums."

The Aruba 320 series is expected to go on sale in Australia and New Zealand sometime this quarter.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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