Aruba Central is a key component of Aruba cloud Wi-Fi, which includes Aruba Instant access points that self-organize into wireless LANs (WLANs) managed by a lead access point (AP) with embedded controller functionality.
With the Aruba cloud Wi-Fi solution, all user control and data traffic stay local within the Instant WLAN, with network management information going to Aruba Central in the cloud.
This design means you have no management appliances to install and maintain, locally or in the datacenter, 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 access point 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 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, clients and alerts, and allows you to drill down for more information.
From here you can also create reports, manage configurations and group APs together for simple management.
From the dashboard, you see an overview of any access point or client that may need attention, flagged in an easy to read section. To check an alert on an individual 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 – then drill-down screens to track individual wireless client data, like signal strength, speed, association history, authentication and device type – making it quick and easy to troubleshoot.
To simplify managing the firmware versions and configurations for many APs, Aruba Central lets you create groups. by placing an Instant access point network WLAN into a group, it will automatically inherit the AP configuration and firmware assigned to that group. This means you can create one configuration and assign it to many APs, which dramatically reduces the time you would spend making manual changes. Plus, in the real world, customers need the ability to have small configurations specific to locations – so we allow this flexibility by allowing the customer to change a configuration for a specific Instant access point network or virtual controller.
It’s often not possible to have a wireless IT expert at remote sites. rather than send an expert to deploy new Instant APs, Aruba Central lets you preconfigure the APs in the cloud, and Aruba ships them directly to a remote site or home. A non-technical person then plugs in the Instant AP, and it automatically sets itself up.
In the background, Aruba matches the serial number of APs you order with your Aruba Central subscription. You assign a configuration – simply by adding the new AP to a network group – and then when the AP 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, which is available without charge. You are notified in the Aruba Central maintenance tab, which lets you perform one-click firmware updates for all APs in a WLAN or do more specific scheduling and updating.
The maintenance tab also allows you to manage the number of licenses available to manage APs 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 is 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. The entire system is designed to provide the 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 Instant access points. The certificates are stored in “TPM” chips on the AP 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, the Internet uplink may not be. The Aruba wireless LAN stays 100% functional even if you lose your WAN link. This includes new user authentication, WIPs scanning, application awareness. Plus you always have a free, built-in management interface when you most need it.