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November, 2020

Smart Mesh, Wi-Fi coverage without wires.
How it works.

As a small business just starting up, you may not think of providing Wi-Fi access to all areas of your business. But, as you add employees or need new space, this can lead to areas with limited or non-existent Wi-Fi coverage called “dead zones.” If using traditional access points (also called APs or Wi-Fi routers), an Ethernet cable must run to where each new AP is added. And you need an additional switch port and Power over Ethernet (PoE) support.

Sometimes is not easy (or not possible) to run a cable across the house to the location where you would like to have a wireless access point.

These are some of the cases where the mesh technology can be a great solution, and because of the easy setup, mesh deployments have become more and more popular.

Mesh Wi-Fi allows you to connect and build out a network of many APs, without the need for added cabling. A single “primary” AP acts as a gateway for traffic flowing in from satellite APs.

Goodbye dead zones!

What is Mesh Wi-Fi?

A mesh is a set of access points that work together to extend coverage over a broader area. By connecting a primary AP to your Internet router, you can simply power up satellite APs that automatically link to the primary AP. Each of the APs communicates with each other and provides a single extended network or mesh.

On the Aruba Instant On solution, because each of the APs communicates with each other there is no loss of bandwidth, so coverage is as good as if you were right next to the primary AP. Another advantage is that you can simply add more APs as you need, and manage them all using a smartphone or in the cloud solution, without any additional cost, license or subscription.

Benefits of using Mesh

Cost. You don't need to be worried about running cables across your house to connect the Wi-Fi Access Points, you just need a power outlet close by the AP, and it's done. So, if you think about the cost of running the cables, definitely using a Mesh solution will be much cheaper. 

Easy to Deploy. Considering that the only thing you need to do is power on the Access Point, no need to run cables and switch port available, using mesh makes the installation much easier. 

Flexibility. Finding the bast location for the access point gets trick when your are limited to location where you have a cable, or you can run a cable. And most of the cases, where you have a cable is not even close to the ideal location for an Access point. So, using a mesh system gives you a lot of flexibility to choose the best location to install you AP. 

How Aruba Smart Mesh works

The help you meet your growing needs, all the Aruba Instant On access points support Aruba Smart Mesh, a version of simple-to-use mesh Wi-Fi. Once the first AP is connected to the network (or internet router), you simply plug the 2nd AP into an AC power source, and with a single click, it connects to the primary AP over Wi-Fi automatically. It’s a simple way to get the Wi-Fi coverage you need indoors or outdoor.

All you need is a power outlet to connect to the AP and the configuration app that comes with your Instant On APs – no Ethernet cabling or switch ports required.

All Aruba Instant On AP support Smart Mesh

How to configure Smart Mesh on Instant On APs

To setup a Mesh network with the Aruba Instant On is pretty straightforward, so simple like 3 easy clicks in the Instant On App and done!! 
Considering you already have your Account, Site and another Aruba Instant On up and running, below you can see the 3-steps to build your Mesh connection between the APs.  If you want to see how is the initial setup, check the video on this page
       1. Extend your network over-the-air;
       2.Power your APs and wait until the led start blinking umber and green;
       3.Add Device (AP) to your existing site; 
and DONE!! your mesh network is ready to go!!

Difference between Wi-Fi Extender and a Mesh system

A very common question is what is the difference between the Wi-Fi extender and using a Mesh solution. The extender usually is a much cheaper option and can easily be added to any network independent of the hardware or manufacture you have. On the other side, if you decide to use a mesh network you probably will need to replace the router with a completely new solution with all access points from the same vendor and same software.

Trying to simplify the explanation without going deep on bit and bytes, the extender pretty much connects to your existing network and "copy" some information to extend your wifi but it is actually creating a new network. That is why when you have an extender you can see your "home-wifi" and also a "home-wifi_EXT" which is the "new" network created by your Wi-Fi extender. It can cause a few issues technically speaking, one of them is to "move" or roam between the networks. Since your phone or computer doesn't understand that the "home-wifi_EXT" suppose to be the same network, they will not migrate between the two access points, it will just happen when the device is very weak signal strength (or if you manually force the change), but at this point, your experience will be really bad.

For the mesh wi-fi, you will need to replace your routers with a new solution that supports mesh implementations, because all the access point must have the same software in order the enable communication between each other. When using mesh, your Wi-Fi is the same across all APs and you will be able to manage all of them from the same app or Web portal. The Aruba Instant On makes the mesh configuration very easy. Another important consideration is that, different from the extender as mentioned above, your devices (phones, computers) will move much faster between the access points, which means a better connection and a much better user experience.