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Solving 802.11ad challenges

The 802.11ad (60GHz) market has been interesting to watch, especially now that products utilizing the technology are becoming more prevalent.  Vendors leveraging 802.11 in a frequency band whose propagation properties differ significantly from the traditional 802.11 bands of  2.4 and 5GHz mean new engineering challenges to overcome.

The AP-387 point to point unit announced by Aruba earlier this year seeks to address these challenges in a few interesting ways.  Rain fade is primary concern when working with high frequencies such as 60GHz.  In order to combat this, the AP-387 has two radios, a 60GHz and a 5GHz radio, with the unit aggregating the throughput of both radios.

Should a storm roll through, the unaffected 5GHz radio will sustain the link, and the access point’s programming will dynamically adjust the amount of traffic sent to the deteriorated 60GHz radio.   Additionally, the physical design of the AP includes a lip that acts as an umbrella, keeping sheets of rain from coating the 60GHz antenna.

387-picture

The other key and quite snazzy feature of this PTP unit is the self aligning properties of the 60GHz radio, and it’s ability to dynamically scan and realign the link after heavy winds or vibrations.  Inside the access point are two 60GHz antenna elements and a chipset that allows the radio to scan +/- 40 degrees horizontally and +/- 10 degrees vertically in order to acquire or realign the link.

With such a wide scanning angle and the ability to self acquire the link, the need for precision in line of sight deployments is severely lessened.  I love the way Eric Johnson (Director of Product Management for Aruba) put it in his Mobility Field Day 3 presentation, “only minutes to deploy and hold my beer.”

The AP-387 has an extremely narrow (10 degree) beam-width, meaning units could theoretically be placed ~5 meters apart and still use the same channel. PoE+ is recommended for the AP-387, but it will operate with the 60GHz radio backed off by 3 db if 802.3af is used.

It’s important to note that there is a 500 meter distance limitation with these units..The product development reasoning behind the distance limitation is due to size and cost considerations of the high gain antenna elements for the 60GHz radios.  The current unit is rather small in comparison to other 60GHz products in this space, as you can see from the picture below.

AP-387

If you are interested in learning more about this 802.11ad PTP solution, I highly recommend this post  by

Aruba Powering Next Gen Mobility with Eric Johnson and Onno Harms from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

 

Disclaimer: While Mobility Field Day, which is sponsored by the companies that present, was very generous to invite me to the fantastic MDF3 event and I am very grateful for it, my opinions are totally my own, as all redheads are far too stubborn to have it any other way.

Published 9/23/2018

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Posted by on 2018/09/23 in Aruba, Point To Point, Wireless

 

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Converting Aruba IAPs to Campus APs for non-UAP access points

Welcome to a quick How To post for converting a shiny new Aruba Instant Access Point (IAP) into a shiny new Campus Access Point (controller based AP). This applies to access points that are not UAP.  For more info on the UAP process and which APs are UAP, check out this awesome post by @theitrebel.

Just power up your access point and once it’s booted, look for an “Instant” SSID.  Connect to this SSID, open a browser, and you will be redirected to a login page* for the controller.  The default login is admin/admin.

Next, click on the Maintenance link, and then navigate to the Convert tab. From the drop down, select Campus APs managed by a Mobility Controller.

Enter the IP or hostname of your controller and click the Convert Now button. Click the confirmation and the conversion will begin. Your AP will reboot, begin anew as a Campus AP, and join the controller you specified. This, of course, assumes you’ve got your controller configured correctly and licensing all in order.

If you’d like to see a short video demonstrating this process, I found this quick video posted by Sean Rynearson: https://youtu.be/Wfl6gYPuyVs

Bonus: If you have a bunch of IAPs to convert, I recommend reviewing this post on the subject, it’ll save you some time: http://community.arubanetworks.com/t5/Controller-less-WLANs/How-to-convert-a-whole-IAP-cluster-as-Campus-APs/ta-p/215053

 

*if you are not automagically redirected when you join the SSID and open a browser window, try manually going to this URL: https://instant.arubanetworks.com:4343/

Published 10/10/2017

 
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Posted by on 2017/10/10 in Aruba

 

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