Aruba Wireless Review

They let their customers deploy a wireless network and manage and secure it better than others, but they need to create a better unified story with HP switching.

Valuable Features

The most valuable aspects are its security and analytical capabilities.

I think when it comes to wireless the industry has changed a lot. When it comes to wireless, the industry has changed a lot and with connectivity everyone uses the same chips and really the same hardware so the quality of radio is very similar for every vendor.

Aruba have put a lot of emphasis on manageability and security, and I think their Airwave and Clearpath products are head and shoulders the best in the industry. They let their customers deploy a wireless network and manage and secure it better than you can do with all other solutions.

Room for Improvement

The next step is to create better unified story with HP switching. They're part of the same competitor, and their main competitor, Cisco, has a great unified wired/wireless story, and Aruba need to focus on this. They have great management tools and security capabilities, and they need to extend that to the wireless network.
Also, they need to enable the data they collect to be used by more companies. If you think of where wireless is big - schools, hospitals, retail environments - it would be good to capture that data and share it with third-parties so they can enhance their customers' experience.

Stability Issues

It's amongst the best in the industry. It's used by lots of small companies but also by some of the largest companies in the world, and there's only a couple of vendors who can be multi-thousand user wireless deployments, and Aruba's one of them. They have a rock solid solution.

Scalability Issues

It's highly scalable, and I like the way they have orientated their portfolio. They have a configuration called 'Instant' where you don't actually need a controller, you can just start with a couple of access points and get it at relatively low cost. As you scale it out, you can add more access points, and one or two controllers, and manage it through the cloud. So almost any configuration the customer wants they can do, and as it gets larger, you can bring in the management tools. It's not like some solutions where you have to rip it out to go larger.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I think it's great. I've never heard a customer complain and they get you on the phone with an engineer quickly. Obviously it's very focused on wireless so you're not going to be calling them for a wide range of problems. For the solution, they're very good.

Initial Setup

It's easy to get going. You can take an access point out of the box and have it running in minutes.

Other Advice

It's been the tech leader in the wireless market for a long time, which is why HP paid so much for them. Using the product is very simple, and there are lots of features unique to them. If you're going to purchase it - and you will pay a premium so it will cost more - take advantage of the security features, management tools, and analytical features.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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