HPE subsidiary Aruba today announced the first commercially available, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi 6E [1.] solution set – the 630 Series of campus access points (APs), starting with the AP-635.
Note 1. Wi-Fi 6E refers to IEEE 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) products that support 6GHz wireless spectrum. Wi-Fi 6E enables faster speeds and lower latencies than Wi-Fi 6 and earlier iterations of WiFi (IEEE 802.11). WiFi 6 products are starting to appear in routers [2.] and silicon. Cisco has been selling a WiFi AP for enterprises since 2019.
Note 2. List of best WiFi 6 routers:
- Asus RT-AX86U. The best Wi-Fi 6 router overall. …
- Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500. The Wi-Fi 6e speed demon. …
- Netgear Orbi with Wi-Fi 6 (RBK852) Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router. …
- Netgear Nighthawk XR1000. …
- Eero Pro 6. …
- Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) …
- TP-Link Deco X20. …
- Linksys Max Stream MR9600
In April 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band for unlicensed WiFi use. That was the largest swath of spectrum approved for WiFi since 1989. Opening the 6 GHz band more than doubles the amount of RF spectrum available for Wi-Fi use, allowing for less congested airwaves, broader channels, and higher-speed connections and enabling a range of innovations across industries. Since the FCC decision to open the 6 GHz band, 39 additional countries that are home to over 1.3 billion people have opened the 6 GHz unlicensed band for Wi-Fi 6E. (Source: Wi-Fi Alliance)
The industry’s first enterprise-grade Wi-Fi 6E solution, the new Aruba 630 Series delivers greater performance, lower latency, and faster data rates to support high-bandwidth applications and use cases. The new Aruba 630 Series APs will be available in calendar third quarter 2021.
Currently, as organizations increase their use of bandwidth-hungry video, cope with increasing numbers of client and IoT devices connecting to their networks, and speed up their transition to cloud, the demand for Wi-Fi continues to rise. As a result, wireless networks are becoming oversubscribed, throttling application performance. This frustrates all network users by negatively impacting the user experience, reduces productivity, puts digital initiatives at risk, and stifles innovation.
“The Aruba 630 Series campus access points are the first enterprise-grade WiFi 6E access points to be introduced by any of the main enterprise networking providers,” Gayle Levin, marketing manager at Aruba, wrote in response to questions. “We’re seeing the most interest from large public venues, such as airports, stadiums, and lecture halls, as well as healthy interest from health care and higher education,” she added.
“With connectivity demands growing exponentially, Wi-Fi 6E can take advantage of up to seven, super wide 160 MHz channels and uncongested bandwidth in the 6 GHz band to deliver unprecedented multi-gigabit and low latency connectivity,” said Kevin Robinson, SVP of Marketing at Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi 6E will spur enhanced innovations and exciting new services. Wi-Fi Alliance is pleased to see longtime member Aruba bringing Wi-Fi 6E solutions to market that will help organizations better support critical activities like videoconferencing, telemedicine, and distance learning.”
According to leading market intelligence research firm 650 Group, Wi-Fi 6E will see rapid adoption in the next couple of years, with over 350M devices entering the market in 2022 that support 6 GHz. 650 Group expects over 200% unit growth of Wi-Fi 6E enterprise APs in 2022.
The new Aruba Wi-Fi 6E solutions are part of Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform), the industry’s first AI-powered, cloud-native platform designed to unify, automate, and secure the Edge. Able to predict and resolve problems at the network edge before they happen, Aruba ESP’s foundation is built on AIOps, Zero trust network security, and a unified campus to branch infrastructure to deliver an automated, all-in-one platform that continuously analyzes data across domains, tracks SLAs, identifies anomalies, and self-optimizes, while seeing and securing unknown devices on the network.
With Aruba’s new Wi-Fi 6E offerings, organizations can take advantage of the increased capacity, wider channels in 6 GHz, and significantly reduced signal interference with 3.9 Gbps maximum aggregate throughput to support high bandwidth, low latency services and applications such as high definition video, next-generation unified communications, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), IoT, and cloud. Additionally, with a new ultra tri-band filtering capability, which minimizes interference between the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, organizations can truly maximize use of the new spectrum.
“As we progress in our digital transformation, we are continually adding an increasing number of IoT devices to our network and transitioning to Wi-Fi as our primary network connection rather than Ethernet. We are being asked to support an expanded array of mission-critical, high bandwidth applications that support research as well as hyflex learning and entertainment, like streaming video, video communications, and AR/VR for our students, professors, and staff,” said Mike Ferguson, network manager and enterprise architect at Chapman University.
“With Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6E APs, we’re confident that we’ll be able to not just support our short-term needs, but we’ll have room to grow as well, which will keep all of our users happy, increase our competitiveness, and allow us to extend the lifecycle of this network deployment by 50%,” he added.
Aruba 630 Series Access Point Key Features:
- Comprehensive tri-band coverage across 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz with 3.9 Gbps maximum aggregate data rate and ultra-triband filtering to minimize interference
- Up to seven 160 MHz channels in 6 GHz to better support low-latency, high bandwidth applications like high-definition video and AR/VR
- Operates on existing IEEE 802.3at standards for PoE power so there is no need to rip and replace existing power supplies
- Advanced security with WPA3 and Enhanced Open to better protect passwords and data
- Flexible failover with two HPE Smart Rate Ethernet ports for 1-2.5 Gbps, offering true hitless failover from one port to another for both data and power
- Application assurance to guarantee stringent application performance for latency sensitive and high bandwidth uses by dynamically allocating and adjusting radio resources
- Cloud, controller, or controllerless operation modes to address campus, branch, and remote deployments
“Consumer appetite for ubiquitous wireless connectivity is limitless, whether at home or traveling the world,” said Mike Kuehn, president at Astronics CSC. “As a leading global provider of advanced technologies for the aerospace and defense industries – including some of the largest major airlines in the world – Aruba’s new Wi-Fi 6E AP gives us the ability to offer compelling and unique solutions that deliver a new, enhanced and more secure wireless experience to our customers.”
“Aruba has two decades of leadership in Wi-Fi innovations, backed by an unwavering commitment to providing our customers with the reliable, fast, high capacity, and secure connectivity they need to pursue and exceed their organizational objectives,” said Chuck Lukaszewski, vice president and wireless chief technology officer at Aruba.
“Since 2016 we have helped lead the advocacy effort that has led to the 6 GHz band being opened all over the world. As such, we are extremely proud to be the first vendor to bring enterprise-grade Wi-Fi 6E solutions to market so our customers can take advantage of the huge increase in capacity that 6 GHz delivers,” he added.
Aruba is also framing the new WiFi 6E access points as “an important element of Aruba’s Edge Services Platform (ESP)” because the equipment will sit at the edge of the network, Levin added. “By virtue of their position and role within the network, access points are vital in collecting edge data from client devices and IoT that feeds back into Aruba ESP.”
The vendor entered the edge services market with the cloud-native platform last year to target campuses, data centers, branches, and remote workers, but it only works with Aruba’s access points, switches, and SD-WAN gateways.
Cambium Networks a leading global provider of wireless networking solutions, today announced its multi-year agreement with the school district of Burke County, N.C., with the addition of Wi-Fi 6 access points to provide multi-gigabit speeds in classrooms.
Using E-Rate funding for education, Burke County will upgrade its network to the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology to improve learning for students. The project, which began in late 2020, is delivering 1,500 multi-gigabit high-density access points to the district’s 27 schools and 12,000 students. This will allow students to simultaneously use Zoom and view streaming videos in the classroom using the latest XV3-8 access points, as well as XMS cloud management that seamlessly integrates with Google G-Suite and other embedded education systems.
“When the technology works, the students win, and so does our community. That is especially important as we navigate the pandemic and students return in March,” said Dr. Melanie Honeycutt, CIO of the Burke County School District. “Cambium is our solution for great performance at an affordable price for high density classrooms, and just in time as COVID accelerated our 1:1 laptop program and the increased use of streaming video.”
Cambium’s Wi-Fi 6 and XMS end-to-end cloud-management solutions provide multi-gigabit Wi-Fi access at a proven low total cost of ownership. With easy integration to existing systems, planning, provisioning, installation and centralized cloud management, Cambium’s solutions can be rapidly deployed to deliver end-to-end multi-gigabit wireless speeds.
“We love to work with visionary and discerning customers,” said Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO, Cambium Networks. “Dr. Honeycutt and Burke County understand that this is the time to address the digital divide. They have done so in a way that gives students what they require for excellence in education.”
What is WiFi 6 and 6E?
The IEEE 802.11ax standard was dubbed Wi-Fi 6 by the WiFi Alliance. At the time of publication, it was limited by U.S. law to a wireless spectrum that only covered the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
In a 2.4GHz band, there are three non-overlapping channels—and that bandwidth is shared by all users. If too many end point WiFi devices compete for bandwidth on the same wireless channel, then some of those signals will be dropped.
In April of 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to open up the 6GHz band for unlicensed use. With that policy change, significantly more airwaves are open that WiFi routers can use. The WiFi Alliance named versions of IEEE 802.11ax that operate at or above 6GHZ as WiFi 6E.
Images Courtesy of WiFi Alliance
The opening of the 6GHz band is essentially quadruples the amount of airwaves (14 additional 80MHz channels, and seven additional 160MHz channels) available for WiFi routers and smart WiFi devices. That means less signal interference.
Wi-Fi Alliance® is introducing new terminology to distinguish forthcoming Wi-Fi 6 devices that are capable of 6 GHz operation, an important portion of unlicensed spectrum that may soon be made available by regulators around the world. Wi-Fi 6E brings a common industry name for Wi-Fi® users to identify devices that will offer the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 – including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates – extended into the 6 GHz band. Wi-Fi 6E devices are expected to become available quickly following 6 GHz regulatory approvals, utilizing this additional spectrum capacity to deliver continuous Wi-Fi innovation and valuable contributions to consumers, businesses and economies.
So, what’s the difference?
Early-adopter devices using Wi-Fi 6 (such as the first batch of Wi-Fi 6 routers) are limited to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum, while Wi-Fi 6E-compliant devices will have access to all those much richer 6GHz airwaves.