New Aruba Wi-Fi 6 Access Points Are An IoT Game-Changer For Channel Partners

Aruba Tuesday unleashed its first Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) access points and switches in a breakout product launch that channel partners say is sure to spark a dramatic increase in channel internet of things (IoT) sales growth.

The new Aruba 510 Series access points and 2930M access switches - along with a new version of Aruba's NetInsights artificial intelligence software - is set to power a new generation of IoT, edge computing solutions, said channel partners.

"This new Aruba Wi-Fi technology is going to create a perfect storm in our Internet of Things and edge computing business," said Steve Shaffer, founder and CEO of Zunesis, one of the top internet of things solution providers in the country. "We are very bullish on it. The four times improvement in performance alone with the ability to run parallel streams of data is going to allow us to do so much more at the edge from an IoT perspective. This is a significant Wi-Fi game changer in terms of the amount of data we can push over 802.11ax."

Shaffer predicted that the technology will drive adoption of breakthrough new IoT video analytics applications with facial recognition and intelligent video. "Right now we have the compute and storage at the edge but we lacked the bandwidth required for these applications," he said. "This is a complete game changer for video-based internet of things applications for airports, casinos, school districts and the public square."

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Shaffer predicted that in 2019 the Aruba IoT Wi-Fi 6 products will account for as much as 5-10 percent of his total Aruba sales. "We are already seeing meaningful revenue in IoT," he said. "This will give us a springboard to get us down the road much further. We already have a number of clients that are interested in these products."

Shaffer said his Aruba business was up 90 percent in 2018 and he expects another great year in 2019. "We see dramatic growth in Wi-Fi, a lot of meaningful IoT use cases and pent up demand for greater bandwidth, greater security and greater energy conservation," he said. "Those are all things my customers are looking for so we have a warm audience for these products. It's perfect timing for what is a super set of products."

The new power management capabilities for the new access points are going to drive millions of dollars in energy cost savings in high density environments like convention centers, said Shaffer.

A Zunesis analysis has found that many high density environments like convention centers are only used 22 percent of the time. "Today's access points stay on 100 percent of the time," he said. "With Aruba technology, the 78 percent of the time those facilities are not being used those access points will automatically shut themselves down. That's a really big deal when you look at how much power is consumed in wireless networking. I see a 70-80 percent power savings because of the technology Aruba has here. To the best of my knowledge no one else has this intelligent energy capability."

The new Aruba access points include Zigbee and Bluetooth (BLE) 5 support, opening the door for partners to capture about 70 percent of the internet of things devices in the market, said Shaffer. "This allows us to address immediately a very large portion of what customers are doing today with IoT," he said. "I'm pretty jazzed up about that."

Shaffer said Aruba's mobile cloud first innovation and customer first mentality sets the company head and shoulders above competitors. "They really get it, they listen closely to customers and pay close attention to where the market is going," he said. "With intelligent edge they are absolutely the market leader. We have really enjoyed working hand in hand with the Aruba sales and engineering team."

The new Aruba Wi-Fi 6 products are: the Aruba 510 Series access points which are available immediately starting at $1,095; the Aruba 2930M switches which begin shipping in October with a list price starting at $10,799; and the new artificial intelligent closed loop network automation software capabilities in the latest version of NetInsights which begins shipping in the first quarter next year and is priced at $50 per year per access point.

Peter Kaufman, vice president of advanced technologies for CSPi, one of Aruba's top partners and a leading provider of security solutions, said he expects the new Aruba Wi-Fi 6 products to have a "significant financial impact" on channel partners driving internet of things solutions."This is really going to open up the opportunity to take IoT to the next level," said Kaufman. "The infrastructure can now support the intelligent edge."

The new Wi-Fi 6 Aruba based products are going to eliminate a lot of low latency and power issues that have been holding back IoT solutions, said Kaufman. "The standard opens up some of these opportunities but Aruba just takes everything to the next level," he said. "We couldn't be happier to have them as a partner."

Kaufman said he sees the new Aruba products solving major performance issues for high density and crowded environments."This is going to have a profound impact on those high density environments," he said.

Kaufman said the Aruba Wi-Fi 6 products are a watershed moment of sorts for the internet of things market. He said the four times performance increase is tantamount to the quantum leap from spinning disk to solid state drives in the storage market. "This is that kind of jump in performance," he said.

CSPi is focusing its sales team on the new IoT opportunities, said Kaufman."IoT is definitely going to be the next big thing for us," he said. "We are ready to go sell sensors, use third party applications and really hit stride with what IoT was meant to deliver."

Kaufman credited Aruba with being a "tremendous partner" for CSPi. "We are happy to build our business around Aruba," he said. "I have supreme confidence they are going to support us and in turn we are going to lead with them and continue to be successful."