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Getting Started with Aruba Wireless

Let's start by talking about the hardware which comprises an Aruba wireless enterprise infrastructure. Although components can be virtualized, I am only going to talk about physical hardware for the sake of simplicity. The basic components are the Mobility Master (MM), Mobility Controller (MC), and access points (APs).

The MM handles the management functions of the network. The MM is where all of the configurations is done. The MCs terminate APs. APs of course, provide network access to clients.

Aruba currently offers 3 MM hardware models that are sized by the number of MCs, devices (APs), and clients.

There are currently two series of Mobility Controllers, the 7000 series and the 7200 series. The 7000 series is targeted for mid-size organizations the 7200 series is for large organizations.

Image from the 7200 series data sheet

One particular interesting specification in this graphic is the GRE tunnel count. We know that APs terminate to MCs. APs make this connection to the MC using a GRE tunnel. You might think that this is a 1 to 1 relationship. It is not. An AP creates a GRE tunnel for each SSID on each radio in addition to a GRE tunnel for control traffic (non-clustered deployment). For example, a dual-radio AP with 3 SSIDs on each radio will create 7 GRE tunnels to the MC.

Aruba 802.11ax AP offerings are the 500, 510, 530 and the 550 series. In my next post, How to Decipher an Access Point Data Sheet, I'll talk about the nitty-gritty data sheet terminology.