September 23, 2009, 4:19 PM — Aruba's new 802.11n Wi-Fi access point slashes prices for high performance wireless networks to the level of what some vendors are charging for 802.11abg equipment.
With its $695 price tag, the new AP-105 is designed to entice enterprises to adopt or expand 11n deployments. It's possible the list price could prompt price cuts from Aruba's Wi-Fi rivals, though street prices more accurately reflect what enterprises fork over to vendors, especially in large-scale deployments.
The Aruba AP-105 is a two-radio access point with a single gigabit Ethernet port and integrated, omni-directional antennas under the hood. The 5GHz band radio supports 802.11a/n, and the 2.4GHz band radio supports 802.11b/g/n. Each radio has a data rate of up to 300Mbps. In its documentation, Aruba pegs actual TCP throughput at 83Mbps over a 20MHz-wide channel in the 2.4GHz band, and 166Mbps over a 40MHz-wide channel in the 5GHz band.
"I am pretty certain that they have the lowest list price for a two-radio, enterprise AP on the market, but I can't 100% confirm that," says Paul DeBeasi, senior analyst covering wireless and mobility for technology research firm Burton Group. "I don't think that a lower list price will cause Aruba to take market share away from Cisco. [But] I do think that Aruba's price drop signals the beginning of lower 802.11n enterprise pricing at other vendors."
The new model is not quite as low-priced as some Aruba products introduced earlier this year, but they were aimed at branch offices, home offices and similar enterprise outposts. The 105 model is intended for standard, large-scale enterprise networks.
According to Aruba's documentation, the nearest rival based on list pricing for a comparable access point is Trapeze, followed by Motorola and Ruckus. In May, Meraki entered the small/midsize enterprise market with low-priced 802.11n access points, including a two-radio model for $800.