Provide Robust Network Experience in Multi-Dwelling Environments

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How can you provide a robust network experience in multi-dwelling environments (such as dorms, classrooms, hotels, and long term care facilities)?

On February 9, our experts will post to Airheads Social to discuss the issues and different solutions options available to you.  Our experts Brad, Onno, and Andy will post answers to these questions and more:

  • How to choose between hallway vs. in-room deployment?
  • How to choose between ceiling- and wall-mounted APs?
  • How are APs optimized for ceiling or wall mount?
  • What version of ArubaOS is required for the AP-93H?
  • What types of Ethernet wall-boxes does AP-93H support
  • How does the AP-93H compare with competitive products?

The discussions will take place in the Access Points and Mesh Routers board, please join the conversation there!

The Challenge

In locations such as dorms, classrooms, hotels and long term care facilities, residents expect a network experience similar to what they enjoy at home. When students and hotel guests just had one device, Wi-Fi coverage and capacity provided by access points in the hallways – one for every 6-8 rooms – was sufficient. However, today with up to a dozen wireless devices per room and growing use of video streaming, access point density needs to increase. There are several challenges these growing trend are causing… one example is cabling costs, which can be a significant barrier to WLAN coverage expansion in such environments.

Current Situation

Many resident halls and hotels already have Ethernet wall-box outlets in their rooms. Wall-mount APs are designed to take advantage of existing Ethernet wall-boxes and can eliminate cabling costs. One wall-box access point can provide coverage for three or more rooms. However, most of today's wall-plate access points have low-performance radios and 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet uplinks that are barely able to handle bandwidth-intensive multimedia traffic.

In addition, users still have devices connecting to the wired network – game consoles, desktop PC, voice over IP phones, video cameras, etc. So any wall-plate access point that replaces the wall-box outlets need to incorporate wired connectivity as well. Ideally, those wired ports need to be centrally managed/visible in order to further reduce cost of operations and troubleshooting. Wired security for guest access (eg. web authentication) and secure access (eg. 802.1x) would be great to have as well, in order to prevent unauthorized / abusive use of those wired ports in publicly accessible locations. Given the fact that replaced wall-box outlets used to incorporate PoE support in order to power video cameras or voice over IP phones, a PoE pass-through capability needs to be an essential component of a wall-plate access point.

A Solution to Consider

Aruba AP-93H wall-plate 802.11n access point can be a good fit for multi-tenant environments. Watch this video for a quick overview on AP-93H (run-time less than 2 minutes). You can learn more about AP-93H here.

Meet Our Experts

Brad Noblet, President of BN Consulting

Brad Noblet is a veteran Information Technology executive of thirty years.  His breadth of experience extends from managing the development, delivery and support of IT products to forming and leading major IT companies.  Over the last six years he has successfully leveraged his industry management experience toward delivering high quality, visionary IT environments for Higher Education.  During that time, Brad served as Dartmouth College's Director of Technical Services then becoming its CIO.  He is currently President of BN Consulting, a consultancy focused on the wireless networking sector.

Onno Harms, Senior Product Manager Indoor Access Points at Aruba Networks

Onno Harms is the product manager for indoor access points at Aruba Networks. Onno has over 15 years of experience bringing wireless products to the market, and has worked at several of the leading wireless companies. Prior to moving into a product management role 5 years ago, Onno was active in product development and managed engineering teams and programs at Philips, Ericsson, Lucent, Agere, Intersil and Conexant. He holds an MSEE and advanced degree from Twente University in The Netherlands.

Andy Logan, Lead Reference Design Engineer at Aruba Networks

Andy Logan, MBA, ACDX, leads Aruba's validated reference design (VRD) program in Sunnyvale, California. Andy has 12 years of experience in networking and network security. Previous to his current role Andy has worked in product and technical marketing at Aruba, HP, Nortel Networks, 3Com, and NorthPoint Communications. He spends his free time playing with his kids, work in on his photography, making electronic music, cooking on the BBQ, and brewing beer in his garage.

We look forward to chatting with you more on February 9 in the Access Points and Mesh Routers board!