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Aruba wireless controller: Product overview

The Aruba wireless controller product line is designed for small, midsize and large enterprise deployments.

Editor's note: This Aruba wireless controller product overview is part of a series on buying wireless LAN technologies for the enterprise that compares cloud-controlled WLAN versus locally managed WLAN. We look at the buying criteria for cloud-managed WLAN products and the criteria for buying locally managed WLAN solutions. We also compare the top cloud-controlled wireless LAN vendors in the market and the leading vendors in the locally managed WLAN market.

The Aruba wireless controller product line is quite large. Aruba offers three primary on-premises controller families with different sized appliances within each line. Aruba also offers wireless access points (APs), but this article focuses exclusively on controllers.

On-premises controller options

Designed for large enterprise environments, the 7200 series Aruba wireless controllers are workhorse on-premises appliances. Customers can choose between four size options that can manage between a maximum of 256 and 2,048 APs at a single location. The maximum number of concurrent devices ranges between 8,192 and 32,768. The smallest controller -- the 7205 -- comes with two 1 gigabit Ethernet interfaces, while the 7210, 7220 and 7240 come with four 10 GBase-X SFP+ ports. Maximum throughput starts at 12 Gbps on the 7205 and scales up to 40 Gbps on the 7220 and 7240 appliances.

The 7000 series Cloud Services Controllers are all-in-one appliances that incorporate wide area network (WAN), switching, security and WLAN controller functions. It is ideal for small to midsized branch office deployments. The four models can manage between 16 and 64 APs in a single branch office.

Cloud-controlled WLANs

This series focuses on "cloud-controlled" wireless LANs, which are configured and managed entirely from the cloud, and only the access points remain on location. By contrast, "cloud-managed" WLANs are managed partly from the cloud and partly through on-site equipment.

The Aruba wireless controller line is designed for medium-sized companies and offers three models. The hardware can support between 32 and 128 LAN-connected APs. The 3000 series supports between 2,048 and 8,192 connected devices. Another unique feature of the 3000 series is that it can terminate site-to-site VPN connections directly onto the appliance, as well as operate as a stateful firewall.

Licensing options

Users that purchase an Aruba wireless controller will also need to purchase support contracts and APs in order to update firmware or perform troubleshooting and hardware replacement.

List prices for the 7200 Series controllers range from $12,995 to $38,495. Pricing for the 7000 Series ranges from $1,495 to $8,795, and pricing for the 3000 series ranges from $4,995 to $14,995.

Next Steps

Learn how to defend your wireless APs.

Learn more about moving between APs.

Know what to look for when buying an AP.

Prepare your network for the 802.11ac standard.

This was last published in September 2015

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