The Aruba 500 Series Access Points: Starship Enterprise-Grade WiFi

A new generation of WiFi 6 access points is here; the Aruba 500 series is a game changer.

Star Trek’s USS Enterprise is the ultimate vessel for interstellar travel. Powered by warp drive and armed with both phasers and photon torpedos, the starship capably performs its mission “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

What if you could get a wireless access point with the same level of advanced technology? Aruba Networks’ new 500 series of APs is the Starship Enterprise of WiFi hardware. Taking full advantage of the latest WiFi 6 standard, the 500 series is now the top choice for enterprise wireless networks.

WiFi 6: A New Standard for Wireless Networks

Today’s wireless networks have to support an ever-increasing volume of traffic. Voice and video applications — each especially sensitive to latency — are now sharing bandwidth with numerous internet of things (IoT) devices. WiFi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is a cutting-edge wireless network standard developed to address these issues.

OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) is a new feature in WiFi 6 that allows multiple devices with their own bandwidth needs to be served simultaneously, rather than competing with one another as they do in the previous standard. Sending traffic from multiple devices on the same channel at the same time, it’s like increasing capacity of a highway by adding carpool vehicles. Another enhanced feature, MU MIMO (Multi-user Multiple Input/Multiple Output), allows up to eight devices to transmit simultaneously, each on its own channel. This is akin to adding lanes to a highway.

WiFi 6 also enables increased battery life with the Target Wake Time (TWT) feature, keeping each device inactive until it’s scheduled to transmit data. The standard was designed with IoT in mind, with a dedicated channel for low-power, low-bandwidth devices. All these features are key reasons to consider upgrading to a WiFi 6 network.

Aruba’s 500 Series Wireless Access Points

The new 500 series of APs from Aruba — a division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise — is designed to fully exploit the performance advantages of WiFi 6. Available in three models (510 for midrange performance, 530 for high performance, and 550 for extreme performance), the 500 series can operate at both 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies. This dual-radio mode — with tri-radio available in the 550 — increases network performance as much as 4X versus the previous generation.

Aruba’s latest AP’s allow speeds up to a blistering 5.95Gbps. Crucially, this high performance is coupled with unparalleled reliability. The 500 series has a mean time between failures of 855,000 hours, an astonishing 98 years. Reduced power usage is another benefit. Aruba’s NetInsight Green AP feature shuts off APs when they’re unused, saving energy. This is perfect for a stadium or arena that spends most of the day empty, or a store or office that closes in the evening.

The Internet of Things has been prophesied for many years; now those predictions are finally coming to pass, with millions of devices going live daily. Through its support of WiFi 6, the 500 series is ideal for IoT applications. With integrated support for various protocols, these APs eliminate the necessity of IoT gateways, reducing the complexity of network management. The 500 series does more than just WiFi; its support of Bluetooth 5 and Zigbee makes it a great fit for IoT. A dedicated channel for IoT devices enhances both speed and reliability, and MIMO enables simultaneous communication with many IoT devices. Furthermore, the 500 series extends battery life by letting IoT devices remain inactive until it’s their turn to transmit data.

Aruba’s 500 series comes with security advantages as well. It supports the state-of-the-art WPA3 security standard, far more robust than the previous WPA2 protocol. WPA3 features 192-bit encryption and forward secrecy, which generates a unique secret key for every session; the compromise of one session will not result in the compromise of any others.

Each member of the 500 series is designed for a specific environment. The 510 model is built for medium-density mobile and IoT deployments like small offices. The 530 is meant for high-density applications such as schools, retail stores, larger offices, and universities. And the 550 is for extreme density environments like stadiums, shopping malls, theaters, and large venues. As part of our commitment to providing the latest technology, TTI is proud to offer Aruba’s 500 series access points as an option for all of our installations.

By Tony Ridzyowski


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