Aruba Attacks Cost Of Wireless Installs

Wi-Fi architecture wireless

As part of the new approach, Aruba also introduced a new switch, new line of access points and, in conjunction with Ortronics, a new Wi-Fi wall outlet dubbed the Wi-Jack.

THE WI-FI GRID ARCHITECTURE APPROACH>> New access points can be deployed over open ports.
>> Novel subscription pricing option includes hardware, software and maintenance services.

Aruba's Wi-Fi Grid includes the new Aruba 5100 WLAN switch and Aruba AP 60 Series 802.11 a/b/g access points. The Aruba AP 60 Series can be deployed over open ports on existing network jacks and are designed to blend into the structured cabling and other building infrastructure, said Keerti Melkote, founder and vice president of product management at Aruba, San Jose, Calif.

The new approach should eliminate the high costs associated with the cabling and installation needed to deploy and manage traditional access points in ceilings, Melkote said.

With the new products, Aruba is introducing a subscription-based pricing option of $200 per grid point (or access point), per year, including hardware, software and maintenance services from Aruba.

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"But instead of buying access points, they buy grid points, and those become like services points," Melkote said. "So that's access points, switches and software combined under a single pricing model, and that's what our partners have asked for."

Customers can also purchase the access point hardware outright for $350. Aruba's previously available access points, which feature dual radios, are priced around $500.

"They're driving costs down to the point where it really makes sense [for customers] to follow through on their wireless strategies and roll it out enterprisewide," said James Winebrenner, director of consulting services at Network Presence, a solution provider in Los Angeles.

While praising the new subscription model, Winebrenner also lauded Aruba's decision to keep a standard pricing option. "There are definitely going to be companies that want to stick with a more traditional model," he said.

The new Wi-Jack from Aruba and Ortronics, a structured cabling manufacturer in New London, Conn., integrates Aruba's new access point technology directly into a conventional network wall jack. Deploying the Wi-Jack as part of a structured wireless system allows for easier management from a central point, said Melkote.

Each Wi-Jack comes with a single radio that provides either 802.11a or 802.11b/g service. It is designed to function as an air monitor, which allows a view into and control over the radio frequency spectrum.

It is expected that two versions will initially be available--one that provides two wired Ethernet connections with an Aruba access point integrated behind the cover; and a second that comes only with an Aruba access point and no additional Ethernet ports. Each Wi-Jack connects to an Ortronics wireless controller, which utilizes Aruba's switching technology.

The Wi-Jack is expected from Ortronics some time in September; pricing will be announced at that time.

Jennifer Hagendorf Follett contributed to this story.