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Aruba Networks Debuts 802.11ac Wave 2 Access Point

Aruba Networks has introduced the Aruba 320 series access point, its first 802.11ac Wave 2 AP with dynamic multi-user multiple input/multiple output (MU-MIMO) grouping.

Until recently, most 802.11ac access points used Wave 1 technology. Wave 2 introduces new technology to the standard, including MU-MIMO, which lets capable devices send and receive traffic using multiple streams at the same time. To support this new technology, the company has updated its Aruba ClientMatch technology, which was originally designed to solve the problem of "sticky clients" (mobile devices that maintain an existing AP connection rather than switching to a better AP connection that has come into range). According to the company, the enhanced ClientMatch can automatically steer and group MU-MIMO devices together on Aruba 320 series APs, allowing the AP "to transmit data to multiple Wave 2-enabled devices simultaneously, increasing overall network capacity." The company claims this technology can improve individual device performance and boost overall network efficiency for 802.11ac Wave 2.

Aruba has also integrated Bluetooth low-energy Aruba Beacons into the 320 series. As the name suggests, Bluetooth low-energy, also known as Bluetooth Smart, consumes considerably less power than "classic Bluetooth." The Aruba Beacons with BLE enable "remote, cloud-based management of battery-powered Aruba Beacons, eliminating the need to install a USB version of the Aruba Beacon on Aruba access points," according to the company. This allows IT staff to remotely manage, configure and monitor battery levels from a cloud-based server, even for large-scale deployments.

Key features of the Aruba 320 series include the following:

  • Dual-radio 4x4 802.11ac with MU-MIMO; 
  • built-in Bluetooth low-energy radio; 
  • advanced cellular coexistience; 
  • quality of service for unified communication applications; 
  • adaptive radio management technology; and 
  • support for additional 5 gigahertz bands.

The Aruba 320 series APs will be available in the third quarter of 2015 with a starting price of $1,395. Enhanced ClientMatch will be available in June as part of the ArubaOS 6.4.4 software update.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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