We present you with a complete analysis of the professional access point Aruba Instant On AP12 access point that is installed, managed, administered and monitored from the cloud by the manufacturer Aruba, to greatly facilitate the deployment of the different APs by the organization. This high-end access point incorporates simultaneous dual-band with Wi-Fi AC1600. In the 2.4GHz band we can achieve a speed of up to 300Mbps, thanks to its two internal antennas in 2T2R MIMO configuration, at 40MHz channel width, and Wi-Fi 4. Regarding the 5GHz band, we can achieve a speed of up to 1300Mbps thanks to its three internal antennas in 3T3R MU-MIMO configuration and Wi-Fi 5 technology.
Aruba Instant On AP12 Access Point
The antennas of both frequency bands are omnidirectional, with 3.9dBi for the 2.4GHz band and 5.4dBi for the 5GHz band. According to Aruba’s recommendations to have the best performance and user experience, we can connect a total of up to 75 wireless clients per AP, however, the number of simultaneous clients is up to 256 clients per radio. This model is designed for small and medium offices, coffee shops, restaurants and even hotels.
This equipment has the Beamforming technology, so the access point can focus the Wi-Fi signal on the clients to give them better coverage, and also a better real speed. This feature is fundamental for the AP not only to radiate in all directions, but also to focus specifically on Wi-Fi clients, especially on Wi-Fi clients such as smartphones or tablets that have less reception capacity, thus achieving additional performance. Another key technology today is MU-MIMO, this technology allows us to optimize the wireless network and achieve higher wireless speeds when connecting multiple clients. Thanks to this technology the AP will be able to transfer data to multiple Wi-Fi clients simultaneously, making the overall speed of the wireless network increase, however, you must bear in mind that it is absolutely necessary that the wireless clients also support it, otherwise we will not notice any improvement
This professional access point incorporates a Gigabit Ethernet port with PoE support (IEEE 802.3af). This AP can be powered through a PoE switch (IEEE 802.3af) and also a PoE injector (IEEE 802.3af), so in addition to having network connectivity through the Ethernet network cable, we will also provide power. Normally the professional APs are all PoE/PoE+, because it greatly facilitates their deployment by only needing to pass a cable that carries data and power, however, Aruba has also decided to incorporate an outlet to power the equipment through an external 12V power transformer. This power transformer can be purchased separately or next to the Wi-Fi access point.
Aruba Instant On AP12 Access Point
A very interesting feature is that it has Low Energy Bluetooth to communicate with the Aruba Instant On application of the smartphones, this allows to quickly find the APs and start with their configuration in a very easy way, as we will be able to “scan” all the APs around. We also have a USB 2.0 port that currently has no use, and a console port that is on the bottom of the computer.
One of the most important aspects of a professional access point is its management in the Cloud. Aruba Instant On will allow us to have advanced features in the Wi-Fi network, such as Band Steering to move from one frequency band to another in a totally transparent way, something ideal if we move away from the AP and we want to keep having good wireless coverage. We will also have Wi-Fi roaming, to move from one AP to another without cutting the wireless connection, something that is essential today if we use smartphones. Other interesting options that Aruba Instant On allows is to configure WPA2+WPA3, both in its “Personal” version with pre-shared key, or with Enterprise authentication in a RADIUS server (external, it does not support RADIUS in the Cloud), we also have a complete captive portal in the cloud that is customizable.
Smart Mesh is a very interesting option for those cases where wiring up to the AP is physically very difficult or impossible. This option will allow us to interconnect via Wi-Fi one AP with another, acting as a “Wi-Fi repeater”, but keeping all the configuration options of VLANs and other settings. Smart Mesh allows the backhaul to work via Wi-Fi at 2.4GHz or 5GHz instead of using the wired network. However, we must take into account that the performance we will achieve with this architecture will be lower, since the backhaul network is shared with the wireless clients.
This Aruba Instant On AP12 is managed exclusively through the Aruba Instant On application for Android and iOS, or through an administration and management web, it does not have a firmware to access via HTTP or HTTPS, everything is done through the cloud. This Aruba application for smartphones is available at the official Android and iOS stores:
The easiest thing to do at first is to register the different APs with the mobile app, and later to perform all the advanced configurations via web, however, each and every one of the configuration options via web is also available through the mobile application.
Currently the Aruba Instant On family has five Wi-Fi APs. It has a total of three indoor APs to be placed on the ceiling or wall (models AP11, AP12 and AP15), it also has a wall or desktop AP (AP11D) and even an outdoor AP (AP17). In this way, we will cover all possible scenarios that any small or medium company needs.
One of the most remarkable aspects is that the use of the Aruba Instant On cloud is completely free. It doesn’t have any additional cost to “unlock” features or anything, other manufacturers do have cost for both basic and more advanced features. If you want to manage the APs in the cloud and you do not want to spend a lot of money every year on licenses in the cloud, with Aruba Instant On it is free.
In RedesZone we have made a complete video where you can see the unboxing and first impressions of this Aruba Instant On AP12:
Once we already know the main features and its technical characteristics with the components, we will see the device itself in our external analysis.
The Aruba Instant On AP12 professional Wi-Fi access point comes in the typical brown box used by professional networking equipment manufacturers. On the front we will see that this AP belongs to the Aruba Instant On family, therefore we will have full management from the cloud of the manufacturer Arura.
On the right side we can see the contents of the box, the most remarkable thing is not that it incorporates the Aruba Instant On AP12 and all the accessories to place it on the wall or ceiling, but it has an Ethernet network cable (something that manufacturers in the APs do not usually include) and also a power supply in case we do not want to power it via PoE. On the left side of the box you will find a sticker with the model of the device, the serial number and also the MAC address of the device among other information.
Inside the box you will find the Aruba Instant On AP12 Wi-Fi access point and all the accessories, in particular, the contents of the box of this professional access point is the following:
Aruba Instant On AP12 Professional Access Point
Quick user guide for the implementation of the AP
Ceiling and wall mounting accessories
Flat cat5e Ethernet network cable
12V and 2.5A power cable and adapter
In the following pictures you can see everything included in the box of this AP:
The power adapter can also be purchased separately, it makes use of the typical circular connector and is capable of providing a voltage of 12V and a current of 2.5A, more than enough to power this Wi-Fi access point easily. This adapter carries a small extra cost, so if you are going to power the equipment via PoE switch or PoE injector, you should buy the AP without this accessory as you will never use it.
The built-in Ethernet network cable is flat, giving it a “premium” feel. Normally manufacturers save the cost of inserting this network cable, since normally the organization will have wired the whole area to put the different APs, but it will be of great help to configure the AP at first, or to later reuse it as a whip to a female network socket.
Finally, the accessories incorporated to place this Aruba Instant On AP12 on the wall and on the ceiling do not bring the plugs and screws, in other occasions with other manufacturers they did incorporate the plugs and screws that are totally necessary for its final location.
As for the quick installation guide, it is really very simple with very little information, the most important thing is that you will have to install the Aruba Instant On application on our smartphone and continue with its configuration wizard, thanks to the app we will not need any quick installation guide because it will guide us step by step in the whole process, it does not have any loss. An interesting aspect is that it will incorporate information about the maximum EIRP power of the APs in the different available frequency bands.