Aruba Wireless Review

The product’s performance got worse with newer releases. It provided an easy WiFi solution for our branch offices to deploy.

What is our primary use case?

We are using Aruba Instant in four remote branch offices. We chose this solution at the time because of its controllerless feature and easy setup.

How has it helped my organization?

It provided an easy WiFi solution for our branch offices to deploy. We could usually have them up and running from out-of-the-box in about 10 minutes.

What is most valuable?

The controllerless feature. It will randomly pick one of the APs to be the designated master. If that access point fails, the role is moved to another AP. This saves a lot on management and infrastructure costs.

What needs improvement?

There is plenty of room for improvement. Reliability of a flawless upgrade after the 4.x releases is rare. There is a lot of manual intervention required lately due to random bugs. If you have a mix of APs using different firmware, it takes nothing short but an act of god to upgrade successfully. 

The product’s performance got worse with newer releases as well. It seems like they are adding more frivolous features and sacrificing stability and speed. The latest design of their APs removes the console port and requires purchasing an expensive proprietary cable just to access the console.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Occasionally, it needed to be rebooted. I used to have issues with DHCP. It is extremely buggy and difficult to upgrade with different firmware versions/models.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I do not know what the maximum number of APs in a cluster can be (for the Instant series), but I never seemed to hit a limit. At one site, we had 12 clustered together.

How are customer service and technical support?

It seemed to be good when we needed it. This was before HPE purchased them. I have not had a need to contact support since then.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The other way around, we have switched away from Aruba to Ruckus. Aruba’s poor performance and random upgrade issues caused too much time consuming maintenance and troubleshooting. Ruckus Unleashed has been flawless; performance almost doubled, and it is far easier to configure.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very simple. There were some settings which were confusing and unlabeled when trying to use the online help with the newer firmware.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Trial different solutions and compare pricing to how well they perform, their stability, how easy it is to maintain, etc.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

At the time when we first started using them, we did not evaluate other options. They seemed to be only ones back then who could cluster APs without requiring a separate controller.

What other advice do I have?

Perform a site survey and get a model that supports the latest AC technology.

At first, the product was a solid 10. As time went on, and newer firmware was released, the product has dropped significantly to maybe a four or five rating out of 10 due to various bugs and design issues. We no longer use Aruba for any new sites and are slowly phasing them out from our locations with a different controllerless product that has drastically increased reliability and performance.

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