New Enterprise Wi-Fi APs break the $1/Mbps Barrier

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To paraphrase the original Silicon Valley idol, Gordon Moore, 20121220_Aruba-024-227x300.pngimprovements in price-performance equations are inevitable. Yet, there is something magical about reaching efficiencies of one dollar. That's exactly what happened to enterprise wireless LANs this summer. Not once, but twice.

First, the Aruba AP-220 series access points with one 802.11n (450Mbps) and one 802.11ac (1.3Gbps) radio that clock a combined maximum of 1.75Gbps rate per AP for $1,295 (US list price). That's 74 cents per Mbps.

Earlier this week, Aruba engineers released the new AP-110 series access points that have two 802.11n radios with a maximum transfer rate of 900Mbps per AP (450Mbps per radio) at $895 (US list price). That's 99 cents per Mbps.

I know. I know. These are theoretical numbers, both for performance and pricing. The performance number on the box is the maximum rate of transfer, not the actual throughput to a wireless device. In reality, the actual AP performance depends on a number of factors like the distance between devices and APs. Similarly, the actual customer price depends by volume and a number of other factors.

The point is that the IEEE-specified maximum rate of transfer and list prices are repeatable metrics for an apples-to-apples comparison. More importantly, we have reached a major industry milestone. I remember how 2Mbps Frequency Hopping (FH) APs used to list at $2,000 a pop about twelve years ago. That's $1,000 per Mbps. So, the new AP-110 series represents a 1,000x improvement in enterprise Wi-Fi price-performance!!!

The Aruba AP-110 series comes with the same bells and whistles as all other Aruba APs. ClientMatch, AppRF and Role-based Security are available on AP-110 series with ArubaOS v6.3.1 or newer software. The AP-110 is a net-new addition to the Aruba portfolio and is available now in controller-managed operating modes. Controllerless (Instant AP) operating mode will be available very shortly.

The one downside with AP-110 series is that we have increased the number of choices. So, here is a quick reference chart to pick the right AP:



List Price

Highest performance coverage for

  • 802.11n devices
  • 802.11ac devices
  • Highest density of devices
  • Furthest range
AP-220 series


High performance 802.11n coverage with support for a high density of devicesAP-130 series


High performance 802.11n coverage with highest rangeAP-110 series


Low-cost 802.11n coverage in both 2.4 & 5GHz bandsAP-100 series


Low-cost 802.11n coverage in either 2.4 or 5GHz bandsAP-90 series


High performance outdoor 802.11n Wi-Fi coverageAP-170 series