Aruba Central is a key component of Aruba cloud Wi-Fi, which includes Aruba Instant access points managed by a lead AP with embedded controller functionality and the Aruba Mobility Access Switch line.
With the Aruba cloud Wi-Fi solution, all data and control traffic stay local in the Instant WLAN, while management data goes to Aruba Central in the cloud.
This design means you have no management appliances to install and maintain, which keeps costs low. Plus, your network stays available, since you have all the functionality you need locally, with no dependence on WAN links.
When you first log in, you have access to your Aruba Instant AP and Mobility Access Switch list, automatically populated into Aruba Central at your time of purchase, to make getting started quick and easy. After setting up, you’ll see a dashboard view with a Google map that lets you quickly find the network location you’re interested in.
Aruba automatically matches your APs and switches with your Aruba Central subscription so they show in the dashboard with no manual effort on your side. This dashboard gives you a summary of the health of all networks, APs, switches, ports, clients and alerts, and allows you to drill down for more information.
From here you can also create reports, manage configurations and group Aruba devices together for simple management.
From the dashboard, you can see an overview of any AP or client that might need attention, flagged in an easy-to-read section. To check an alert on an AP or client, you can search by AP name, MAC address or serial number or any other attribute – and then click on the device for more detailed information.
This gives you details about connected clients, memory usage and firmware to help you troubleshoot quickly. You also have the option to launch the command line interface (CLI) directly into the AP.
You can access client information from the same dashboard view that appears when you log in. There’s a summary of all clients with a section for flagged clients that need attention. Drill-down screens that track individual Wi-Fi client data – including signal strength, speed, association history, and device type – make it quick and easy to troubleshoot.
To simplify managing the firmware versions and configurations for many APs and switches, Aruba Central lets you create groups. When you place an Aruba product into a group, it automatically inherits the configuration and firmware assigned to that group. This means you can create one configuration and assign it to many products, which dramatically reduces the time you would spend making manual changes.
Additionally, in the real world, customers need the ability to have small configurations that are specific to locations. Aruba Central provides this flexibility by allowing you to change a configuration for a specific Instant WLAN.
It’s often not possible to have a wireless IT expert at remote sites. Rather than send an expert to deploy new Instant APs and switches, Aruba Central lets you preconfigure them in the cloud, and Aruba ships them directly to a remote site or home. A non-technical person then plugs-in the Instant AP or switch, and it automatically sets itself up.
In the background, Aruba matches the serial number of all products you order with your Aruba Central subscription. You assign a configuration – simply by adding the new AP or switch to a network group – and then when the product first powers up, it checks with Aruba Central for its assigned configuration and firmware.
Aruba Central automatically checks for the latest version of firmware available for your Instant APs and switches, which is available for free. You are notified in the Aruba Central maintenance tab, which lets you perform one-click firmware updates for all Aruba products in a network or do more specific scheduling and updating.
The maintenance tab also allows you to manage the number of licenses available to manage all your Aruba gear and manage permissions that determine who can access the Aruba Central system with different levels of control.
Aruba Central stores your management data indefinitely so you can create reports that contain historical data. Especially important for companies in North America is the Payment Card Industry (PCI) report that documents proper security scanning was in place, keeping your company compliant with government regulations.
You can also see network summary reports and security reports online, in email or exported to PDF.
To give you a system with the highest availability possible, Aruba Central was designed from the ground up as a cloud application. That means a database with sharding to give users a quick and responsive interface, even when working with huge amounts of data.
Aruba Central is hosted in multiple data centers by multiple providers around the world. If one provider experiences performance issues, others are available – and so is Aruba Central. This ensures that no matter where you are, you’ll always enjoy great response time.
Aruba Central uses a secure HTTPS connection with strong mutual authentication using certificates for all communication with all Aruba products. The certificates are stored in “TPM” chips on Aruba hardware – thereby ensuring the highest level of protection. This connection uses extremely small amount of Internet bandwidth due to the use of powerful compression and other bandwidth optimization techniques.
Even though Aruba Central is designed to be always-available, your Internet uplink might not be. Instant WLANs stay 100% operational, even if you lose your WAN connection. This includes new user authentication, WIPS scanning and application awareness. Plus, you always have a free, built-in management interface when you need it most.
Aruba Central has everything you need for maintaining a network. Included in your Aruba Central subscription is full technical support. This includes phone support for any technical issues, online support and online case management to open and review status of your cases. Support covers not only your Aruba Central subscription but your Instant access points too. Plus, you'll always have access to the latest Instant firmware releases.