Aruba launches WLAN controller

Branch office and retail store wireless technology got a boost from vendors at the National Retail Federation show in New York this week.

Aruba Networks Inc. on Monday launched a new branch office and retail switch that handles Wide and Local Area Network traffic.

The new Aruba 200 Mobility Controller is available now and starts at US$1,750. It is designed for branch offices and retail stores with up to 100 users over six WiFi access points, and is easy for non-technical workers to set up and run, Aruba officials said. In addition, it has an interface for a LAN at Gigabit Ethernet speeds. The controller, at 1.1-by-6.7-by-9.5 inches and two pounds, is smaller and lighter than comparable switches.

One Aruba customer has already deployed the new controllers in 12 stores in shopping malls where they are used to support customer kiosks. the retailer, who could not be reached for comment, has plans to expand to other locations, Aruba officials said.

Aruba's 200 Mobility Controller will be popular because of its size and ease of deployment, said Craig Mathias, an analyst at The Farpoint Group in Ashland, Mass.

Aruba also announced a new Mobility Management System, which can be used to view an entire network with thousands of access points. The software alone starts at $3,995; the all-in-one appliance starts at $21,995.