Monday, April 20, 2015

Aruba RAP109 Review


1)Intro
2)Features
3)Setup
4)Wireless configuration
5)Throughput tests (Wireless/Wired)
6)Firmware notes
7)Closing Notes
Intro: The Aruba RAP109 is a enterprise level wireless access point that is  somewhat affordable for small to medium businesses, has lots of features and can tolerate a lot of heavy usage that enterprises require.
Features: The RAP109 features the following:
1) Dual band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz operation with 2 x 2 MIMO connectivity at up to 300Mbps
2) 2 wired Gigabit LAN ports
3) 4 2x2 mimo  x 5dBi  dual band internal antennas with 21dBm output power for great wireless coverage.
4) SSIDs with configurable VLANs for each one providing more security then standard guest networks
5) Full VLAN configuration
6) Full and extremely detailed traffic shaping (QoS) and firewall controls
7) Fixed and DHCP client address assignments
8) Cellular 3G/4G failover via the USB port
9) Fully customizable user/group policies
10) And lots more
Setup:
1) Power brick was like your usual one. It did, however come with plugs for other countries
2) Instant setup is weird. You log into the “Instant” SSID that has no password, you configure the AP with a new main SSID, then you log off and log back into the new main SSID and the “Instant” SSID is deleted.  
3) Also is PoE
Let's take a look at the really helpful status page that tells us all our status. It also shows CPU usage memory usage, and disk usage.

Wireless Configuration:
Here’s the WLAN config screens:
Radio Settings:

Security Settings:


The RAP109 supports WPA/WPA2 and supports PSK and Enterprise authentication types that can be different for each SSID. Selecting “Enterprise” allows you to use Aruba Authentication, which allows you to define a username and password rather then a static key, allowing for more fine control over your wireless network. User based controls allow you to define limits PER USER so that if let’s say, they get fired, you just delete thier user account and not have to change the ENTIRE NETWORK’S encryption key.
Traffic Shaping:
You can do traffic shaping to make sure each client has equal bandwidth and also to make sure certain clients that are more important have more bandwidth then other clients like important servers, mission critical workstations, etc. Very useful.

Throughput Tests: (Wireless)
I will be using LAN Speed test for the throughput tests and PRTG to generate the graphs. It also is a comprehensive enterprise level network monitoring software and it can record uptime, transfer rates, errors, etc.
Test environment: (Set 1)
Specs of Building: This is going through about 32 ft through 2 walls, a solid all-wood dresser, and a chimney. The room has plaster walls in some places.
Specs of server :(my machine in the same room as theRAP109): Intel i5 3570K/16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Realtek GBE NIC
Specs of client: (remote machine in other room): AGNXAndrakon/AMD Phenom 9650/4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Amped Wireless ACA1 USB WLAN connection:USB3 via a PCI-Express addon card.
5Ghz 802.11n mode: Channel 161+ -56dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 15Mbytes/sec or 120Mbits/sec

2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 6 -64dBm
UABLE TO TEST DUE TO CLIENT ADAPTER DIFFICULTIES
Test environment: (Set 2)
Specs of Building Test Run 1: 16Ft away thru a wood door hallway right outside the office where the RAP109 is located.
Specs of server (my machine in the same room as theRAP109): Intel i5 3570K/16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Realtek GBE NIC
Specs of client: HP2000-412NR/AMD E300/8GB DDR3 RAM/300 GB HDD/AMD RADEON 6310/Windows 7 x64 Home Premium/RalinkRT5390 WLAN
2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11 -38dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 6Mbytes/sec or 48Mbits/sec

Test environment: (Set 3)
Specs of server :(my machine in the same room as theRAP109): Intel i5 3570K/16GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 RAM/Nvidia Geforce 650Ti/Samsung 840 120GB SSD/Windows Server 2012 Standard/Realtek GBE NIC
Specs of client (Downstairs 35ft thru 3 walls and a staircase): HP /Core 2 Duo/2GB DDR2 RAM/20GB HD/Intel GMA/Windows 7 x64 Home Premium/NETGEAR A6200 WiFi USB3.0 Adapter
5Ghz 802.11an mode: Channel 161+ -42dBm
LAN speed test: 25 stream 6GB file: 6Mbytes/sec or 48Mbits/sec

2.4 GHz 802.11n mode: Channel 11 -64dBm
UNABLE TO TEST DUE TO ADAPTER DIFFICULTIES
Firmware notes:
I did have a few2 issues with the RAP109s over time. One time I had a serious client match issue and the rep had me downgrade firmware and it managed to brick one of the RAP109s. I had to order a console cable and then TFTP a new OS image over. That seemed to solve the issue.
Another time I had an issue where I couldn’t access the web config. It loaded successfully, however on the bottom right corner the text “undefined” would be listed for all items and logins would stall. Browser would not proceed further. Firmware upgrade was done when web config worked and seems to solve issue.

One other major issue is that it does get picky and takes a long time to reboot from power cuts or cable disconnects
Conclusion:
Pros:
Ø Excellent management software with lots of options
Ø Very robust security controls and options
Ø 3G/4G failover via USB dongle
Cons:
Ø Has some occasional firmware hiccups
Rating:  6/10
Recommended: Yes

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