6 Reasons Why 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) Access Points are the Preferred IoT Platform

Reason #1: Reliable and high-performance connectivity. The list goes on from there.

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Walking into Amazon Go store is stepping into the future. You scan your Amazon Go app and the gates open before you. You can pick up a healthy salad for lunch, a quick snack, or dinner. You just drop the items in your bag and walk out. Seconds later, you get a receipt for your purchase. It’s truly frictionless retail. Beyond the magic, there is technology: a foundation of digital signage, cameras, smart shelves, wayfinding, point-of-sale, CRM, connectivity, and much more.

Amazon Go is not alone: Numerous companies are trying to stay competitive by bringing these new experiences to their clients.

Why Use 802.11ax as an IoT Platform
At Aruba, we’ve been providing high-performance secure Wi-Fi connectivity to mobile devices for many years. With the addition of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radios into our access points, we opened up new opportunities that include wayfinding, geofencing, and asset tracking.

Recently with the introduction of Aruba 802.11ax access points, we integrated 802.14.5 radio that supports Zigbee to cover a larger range of IoT device connectivity, making the APs a universal IoT platform. (Check out our recent partnerships with SES Imagotag providing electronic shelf labels with Aruba wireless platform.)

Below are 6 reasons why Aruba 802.11ax access points are an ideal platform for IoT:

  1. Reliable and high-performance connectivity. The Aruba 802.11ax series campus access points deliver high-performance connectivity for mobile and IoT devices, especially with the multi-user capabilities of OFDMA and MU-MIMO. By simultaneously serving multiple clients and traffic types including IoT in dense environments, latency-sensitive IoT devices can have a better experience.

In addition to 802.11ax radios, the Aruba 802.11ax APs also support Zigbee and Bluetooth 5, providing connectivity for the vast majority of IoT devices. That makes the Aruba 802.11ax access points ideal for connecting low-voltage building systems, such as temperature controls, intrusion detection, energy management, personnel and asset tracking, and even gunshot monitoring systems.

  1. Power efficiency. Many IoT devices are battery-powered, and it’s not hard to imagine that in a busy hospital or manufacturing facility, there’s little interest in running around to change chirping batteries. 802.11ax provides a more deterministic, power-efficient operating mode, which minimizes the drain on battery-operated IoT devices. The Target Wait Time (TWT) feature allows an IoT device to sleep for long periods, setting a future time to wake and contact the access point. This feature extends the battery life of IoT devices.
  2. Ideal deployment model for IoT connectivity. When mounted on the ceiling, APs are ideally positioned to provide coverage for devices that use either radio frequency (RF) or infrared (IR) communications. Ceiling-mounted APs also provide optimal coverage for battery-powered IoT devices. For devices that require a local power source, the Aruba 802.11ax series includes expanded USB port functionality, which provides a convenient source of power.
  3. Simple management. Maintaining multiple networks to support different device types is inefficient, yet it is commonly done. You can completely eliminate IoT gateways (or reduce their use), which creates significant efficiency. Using Aruba as your IoT platform can simplify your deployment holistically.
  4. Designed for enterprise scale. In production environments, sensors and IoT devices can easily number in the tens or hundreds of thousands. With the ability to support 1,000 IoT devices per radio, the Aruba 802.11ax series can scale to IoT deployments of any size. In addition, Aruba APs are available for a wide range of outdoor temperatures and harsh environments.
  5. Built-in security. The fundamental security of IoT devices is an ongoing—and legitimate—concern. Many smart devices are unproven in the field and are not designed with security in mind. By using Aruba as an IoT platform, organizations can mitigate the risk.

Aruba APs and switches provide multiple security mechanisms to protect an organization against compromised devices, including ensuring that IoT sessions are authenticated and encrypted. Whether IoT or user, devices are fingerprinted and assigned the appropriate role-based access controls and policies. A security camera, for instance, can be restricted to communicate only with the appropriate server, so if it gets hacked, the malicious activity cannot spread to other parts of the network. IoT traffic is securely tunneled from the APs to the Aruba mobility controllers, whether on-premises, virtual or in the cloud.

Build a Strong Foundation
IoT offers businesses or all sizes an unprecedented opportunity for innovation and efficiency for. As your organization pilots IoT applications—or moves them into production—it’s critical to choose a network foundation that’s flexible, efficient, scalable and secure. At Aruba, we believe that foundation is 802.11ax access points.

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newshaNewsha Sharifzadeh Blog Contributor

Newsha Sharifzadeh is a global product marketing manager at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. She has an MBA in entrepreneurship and marketing from Santa Clara University and a bachelors in...

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