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Aruba's new products improve wireless connections

Matt Hamblen | March 9, 2016
The HPE subsidiary's wireless LAN sports speeds up to 1.7 Gbps

Aruba announced networking software and hardware yesterday that include a new wireless access point that can support Skype for Business and Wi-Fi calling at speeds above 1 gigabit per second.

The new Aruba 330 series Wave 2 access point runs on 802.11ac and can support speeds up to 1.7 Gbps -- the kind of speed needed for video collaboration and other latency-sensitive services.

The 330 will sell for $1,695 when available in the second quarter. Aruba, a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, also announced a new 3810 Series switch for $4,299, available now. New Aruba software upgrades will improve user experiences on corporate networks -- by prioritizing real-time applications over Wi-Fi, for example -- and enhance security.

Aruba customer Pacific Life plans to upgrade gradually to new Aruba APs to help support up to 2,000 wireless devices of various types on its networks every day, said Alex Munro, assistant vice president of corporate IT enterprise technologies, in an interview. The financial services company already has about 750 Aruba APs in three main locations, including its headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif.

Pacific Life is testing Windows 10 and Microsoft Surface Pro devices to potentially replace some iPads used by employees, Munro said. The switch would be made to take fuller advantage of Windows 10 and, specifically, the newer versions of Office.

Overall, he said, workers using Skype and other collaboration tools need to be able to move freely and stay productive."Our goal is to have employees 100% productive whether they are in a conference room or walking around," he said. "It's really about having good communications."

One big advantage of working with Aruba APs is that the hardware can support five different wireless LAN networks at Pacific Life on the same device, he said. One of those networks is used for authenticating company-owned devices, while another is for personally owned devices and yet another is for guests. "We have multiple security profiles; the nice thing is that Aruba lets you run all five profiles on the same AP," he said.

Pacific Life has been an Aruba customer more than five years and has used its AirWave network management software for a couple of years to provide performance monitoring, mainly to see a single user's Wi-Fi experience when passing between APs.

A new software module announced by Aruba called Clarity, available in March, will help IT shops resolve Wi-Fi connection problems before a user is affected, Aruba also announced today. Another new product, AirWave 8.2, will give IT shops details about wasted Web usage for content that an organization deems lower priority.

Pricing for both software products was not announced.


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