Aruba Networks Unveils 6 GHz Access Point

Rowell Dionicio

Over the years, Wi-Fi was beginning to get strained with the limited amount of available spectrum. The explosive growth of Wi-Fi required more spectrum to accommodate the various use cases and application demands. The FCC allowed unlicensed use of the 6 GHz spectrum, providing 1200 MHz for expansion to further increase innovation and connectivity.

Aruba Networks has lead the cause for new spectrum and has now unveiled a 6 GHz capable access point (Wi-Fi 6E). For enterprises wanting to take advantage of 6 GHz, use wider channel widths, and suffer less interference, the AP 630 Series Campus AP would make a great transition. Aruba Networks introduces the AP 630 as the first in their family of Wi-Fi 6E APs, which means there are more to come in the future.

Aruba Networks 630 series AP

Based on the 802.11ax standard, the Aruba Networks 630 Series AP provides extensive coverage across three bands; 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz. It carries a low power indoor (LPI) device class, which makes this an indoor-only AP and will not require Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC).

As an internal antenna model, it will be a 2×2:2 radio. It’s unlike the Wi-Fi 5 radios we’ve seen, which have been 4×4:4 radios. Some might think of this as a limitation, but there are some valid reasons for doing this. The 630 Series AP will be tri-band and would require additional power if configured as 4×4:4 radios. A transition to 6 GHz is easier without upgrading the entire switching infrastructure for PoE support beyond 30 watts. Additionally, the majority of devices are 2×2:2. Having a more capable radio in our mobile devices will limit battery life.

While Wi-Fi 6E APs can use 160 MHz wide channels, there aren’t many devices that support it yet. As Aruba Networks has tested in a lab setting, using a laptop with an Intel Wi-Fi 6E adapter, it is possible to get gigabit speeds even as an aggregate across all three bands.

An added benefit with the Aruba Networks 630 Series APs is the high-availability features. The AP comes with failover for both data and power by configuring dual ports for link aggregation (LACP). A use case for dual connectivity for an AP is having it connected to two separate switches. If a network switch goes down, it maintains connectivity and uptime from another network switch. With LACP configured, the AP can support higher throughput on the Ethernet wired ports capable of 1 or 2.5 Gbps.

Final Thoughts

Aruba Networks 630 AP will be a great way to transition to 6 GHz as it supports the bands we currently use. We wish we could see support for software-defined radios by turning off 2.4 GHz and possibly using the radio for dual 5 GHz or dual 6 GHz functionality. At Packet6, we will be keeping our eye out for when the Aruba Networks 630 AP is available to the public to perform our testing.

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