New products will give smaller businesses faster speeds and improved security with lower costs and less complexity
SMBs are getting help modernizing their wireless networks, with both Aruba Networks and Netgear this week coming out with access points that deliver Wi-Fi 6 support aimed at smaller businesses.
The Lowdown: Aruba, owned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, is rolling out the Wi-Fi 6 Instant On AP22, while Netgear is coming out with the AX1800 WAX610 and the WAX610Y, the latter of which is designed for outdoor use.
The Details: Wi-Fi 6, or 801.11ax, started hitting the market last year and a broad array of networking vendors – not only Aruba but others like Ruckus Networks and Cisco Systems – have been building out their portfolios to include Wi-Fi 6 products.
Aruba’s Instant On AP22 offers not only fast Wi-Fi speeds but also advanced security capabilities that are in line with Wi-Fi 6, high reliability, and easier deployment and management, important capabilities for SMBs that often don’t have the human or financial resources to manage complex technologies. The additional capacity that comes with Wi-Fi 6 is important for businesses that have had to adapt to a widely distributed workforce due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.
Netgear’s latest access points can be managed via the company’s cloud-based Insight remote solution, which helps with easy configuration and security maintenance. Insight includes instant discovery and setup of access points; centralized configuration of wireless networks, Wi-Fi security, and roaming policies; remote monitoring; and performance dashboards. Netgear officials said the new access points can deliver up to 70% the performance of current Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) products.
The Impact: The latest generation of Wi-Fi delivers faster speeds than the previous iteration and enables networks to better support the increasing numbers of connected devices, including enabling routers to communicate with greater numbers of devices at the same time and letting routers send data to multiple devices in the same broadcast. In addition, it helps devices save battery life and delivers improved security with WPA3.
Aruba noted an IDC forecast that has more than 316 million Wi-Fi 6 devices on the market by next year.
The Buzz: “In today’s competitive and dynamic business environment, small businesses are focused on delivering high-quality experiences to their customers in all the ways they interact with them, whether on-site or online. To do that, they need a robust, secure network infrastructure that supports experiences that exceed customers’ expectations and enable their staff to be more efficient,” Amol Mitra, vice president and general manager of Aruba’s Global Small and Medium Business unit, wrote in a blog post. “Enter the latest iteration of Wi-Fi technology – Wi-Fi 6, which was developed to provide the capabilities and security features required to deliver amazing customer experiences and enhance business operations. However, a key challenge for smaller businesses is that, unlike large enterprises, they often lack the IT expertise and staffing to support the deployment of emerging technologies.”
“While the Wi-Fi industry has made progress in recent years in increasing speeds by leaps and bounds, small businesses still face challenges in managing connectivity with increased traffic and users. Capacity continues to be a challenge – namely, supporting multiple concurrent users for small businesses, and Netgear is here to help solve the unique business cases that SMBs face,” said Richard Jonker, vice president of SMB product line management for Netgear. “This requirement is particularly acute for SMBs where very high throughput to each individual device may not be paramount.”