GamesHow-to

Aruba Instant On or how to have WiFi everywhere

Hewlett Packard Enterprise offers, through its Aruba brand, WiFi access points for small and medium-sized companies with two aspects in mind: to provide high-speed connectivity in any corner of an office, warehouse or room, and to ensure that the connection is secure, because in large areas a simple router is not enough and, in professional environments, a mere signal amplifier may not be the most reliable solution to reach everywhere when it is necessary to connect a large number of devices, computers and other gadgets. Compact, well-designed and easy to install, the Aruba Instant On access points have, among other advantages, the ability to create an extensive network by combining two or more devices, thus extending the original signal or bandwidth from one point of origin. Installation in a few minutes and management available to anyone from its web portal or from your own smartphone with its official applications. Offices, restaurants, hotels, libraries, hospitals, workshops or warehouses… Aruba Instant On can be installed in any medium or large interior where the default router does not cover the entire surface and leaves areas without coverage. Or from a security point of view, we can use it in any indoor area where we want to control the bandwidth usage and control it in detail with customized access points. We have had the opportunity to test the AP11D (desktop and wall) and AP12 (indoor) models of Aruba Instant On. The Instant On line, which is completed with the AP11 (indoor), AP15 (indoor) and AP17 (outdoor) models, was launched in June 2019, and in the words of its managers, has been designed “to offer secure, high-speed wireless connectivity with hassle-free installation and management”. It also incorporates the ability to manage the access point and the entire network directly from your smartphone. Let’s see if it delivers on its promises.  Width=

Installation and start-up

Telecommunications companies offer technology that is increasingly friendly to the average user, both at home, where it is better known, and in the professional environment. Moreover, in many cases, accessing the router configuration is already possible from a mobile application and with menus that anyone can understand. In addition, the popularity of WiFi and the ease of connecting devices to each other via wireless connectivity makes installing repeaters or signal amplifiers a piece of cake. That said, the Aruba Instant On access points more than live up to the maxim that various technology brands have made their own, which goes something like unpack, turn on and start using. In the case of these access points, installation is limited to connecting the device via Ethernet cable (included in the box) directly to the router or to an intermediate switch-type device. In the first case, we will also have to connect the access point to the power supply with the included adapter, while in the second case, if it has PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology, we will not need the power adapter. Once the Aruba Instant On access point is turned on, as indicated in the simple instructions that come in the box, we just have to download and install the official application for iPhone or Android and follow the instructions. In short, we will create a user account that will then serve us to access the Instant On online portal, detect the access point and create our first wireless network through which we will connect computers and other devices. All this in just a few minutes.

Features of the access points

As I said at the beginning of this review, I have been able to get my hands on the Aruba Instant On AP11D and AP12 models. The former comes with a stand that can be placed on a desk or table as well as a wall mount. Both models offer WiFi connection following IEEE 802.11ac Wave 2 standards. They are also backward compatible (802.11a/b/g/n), so we can connect virtually any device. And as a bonus, the AP11D model has three Ethernet outputs to connect devices directly and thus take full advantage of the available bandwidth. In addition, the Aruba Instant On line offers MU-MIMO connectivity that adapts to the number of connected devices. In the AP11D model, the MU-MIMO connectivity is 2×2 and in the AP12 model 3×3. In both cases, the access points have dual antennas, one up to 2.4 GHz and the other up to 5 GHz.

Management from the app on your smartphone

Normally, to interact with routers and access points, we go to their IP and, after logging in as administrator, we have access to the configuration options. In the case of Aruba Instant On, we can manage all models from its portal Instant On through the credentials we created during installation. Among the advantages of the portal, it is accessible via internet, so we can manage the network remotely, outside the four walls where we have installed the access point.  Width= However, the trump card of Aruba Instant On is its control from the mobile application that we will install on iPhone or Android during the installation of the access point. From this application we will see everything we need: generic information about the connection (Site Status), the networks we have created (Networks), the devices connected to these networks (Clients), the bandwidth usage (Applications) and the access points we have configured (Inventory). By clicking on each element we will obtain complete information in real time. Thus, we will know how many devices are connected, the total and specific bandwidth usage, and we will have the opportunity to add new elements to the network directly from the smartphone thanks to the wireless connectivity. Create new networks, create a customized guest network, limit network access by day and time or limit bandwidth, see the signal quality at all times, expand the network by connecting more Aruba Instant On access points… Everything is within reach of the mobile app or its web portal whether or not we have advanced knowledge.

Control and security

Along with its function of expanding the available connectivity, the security aspect is the second pillar of Aruba Instant On. In this regard, in addition to offering secure connections via WPA2 by default and optional WPA3, what makes it stand out the most is its many options for restricting connections and bandwidth usage. By default, the connections created have no limitations, but we can set a bandwidth limit (1, 2, 5, 10, 25 Mbps or unlimited), assign a specific IP or limit the access schedule for a given connection, both by days of the week and by start and end time. In this way, we can prioritize the access of certain devices that require more bandwidth and limit non-priority connections to avoid abuse. And, of course, connections can be visible or remain hidden.  Width= In addition to security, Aruba Instant On access points show real-time statistics of bandwidth in use, upload and download of data, both for each connection or network and for each connected device. In addition, in the Instant On app, in the Applications section, we will see how bandwidth is being used and what type of content is being accessed: public services, Web, productivity, instant messaging and email, games, etc. Furthermore, by accessing each section we will see more information and even which content sources consume the most bandwidth. All this information, which will swell the data history, will allow us to make decisions about restricting certain content without having to block applications on the connected computers or devices. In this sense, by entering each category, we can activate the blocking that will affect all the devices connected to that network.

Conclusion

With a design that simplifies the device to the maximum and an ideal size to place in any corner, Aruba Instant On has everything necessary to provide wireless connectivity to any room or interior, either with one or with several devices connected to each other. The two tested models of Aruba Instant On, the AP11D for table and wall and the AP12 for wall, offer simultaneous connectivity of between 50 and 75 devices, distributing the bandwidth among all of them automatically or through the rules that we indicate from the Instant On mobile app. In short, these are access points that are easy to install and use, that make the most of WiFi technology, which is not always possible due to its own limitations, and that also facilitate the control and limit of the available bandwidth.

Pros

  • Installation in a few minutes Fast and adaptable connectivity Control of connections and data flow Scalable network Content restrictions Customized guest access

Cons

  • Wireless connectivity limitations

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