Local businesses looking to set up their wireless networks now have another option on the table. The recently released Aruba Instant On is designed to be ‘small business friendly’, offering out-of-the-box deployment of fast, secure, and scalable networks without the licensing and subscription fees associated with many competitors.

How does Instant On’s performance match with its promise to help growing small businesses achieve their full potential? Let’s find out.

What’s Aruba Instant On?

Veteran users of Aruba Instant, the enterprise-grade networking solution that Instant On takes many cues from, will immediately recognise many of the new solution’s functions – like the same ArubaOS. But unlike Instant, Instant On simplifies many features such as network management and security to present a package that’s lightweight and optimised for growing businesses without dedicated IT staff.

Don’t let this lighter profile fool you. Instant On punches above its bandwidth weight by supporting over 25 access points and over 150 users simultaneously – more than what most SMBs would think of as “small”. The solution also features 802.11ac Wave 2 WiFi architecture, providing fast and stable connections across high traffic areas. As a plus, Aruba Instant On supports a wide range of location-specific access points and switches, giving businesses significant variety when it comes to building out their infrastructure footprint.

Security’s not just for the big boys

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Instant On is the level of security that’s baked into the solution’s devices. Simply powering up Instant On gives businesses:

  • Pre-installed firewalls, intrusion detection and advanced web blocking capabilities. Aruba’s hardware also has TPM chipsets for additional layers of crypto-security.
  • Smart policies for managing network traffic, monitor connections and set user permissions, all accessible via Aruba’s mobile app or cloud dashboard.
  • Control over Access Control Lists (ACLs) on network switches, allowing businesses to fine-tune and secure guest permission and regulate access across network segments.

This level of security is necessary, especially when over 88% of growing businesses are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Without it, small businesses become easy targets. As it stands, Instant On’s security features provide a strong set of perimeter and ecosystem defences without the need for granular IT involvement, making it ideal for essential services like medical facilities or high traffic networks like online campuses.

Setting up for success

Instant On proves relatively simple to set up and activate for even nontechnical users, even when scaling out to much more complex configurations that most business owners would be accustomed to. Aruba has done away with complex port forwarding and router management, instead simplifying network management to a single mobile app or cloud portal. Businesses can manage their mesh network and onboard additional access points through the literal click of a few buttons.

The cloud-based, unified management capabilities of Aruba Instant On also support multi-site and multi-tenant networks. Suppose a startup or small business sees lower local network activity right now, but that quickly picks up as more people return to the office or social spaces. The ability to quickly onboard multiple devices and shore up the network through the cloud is something only Instant On can pull off amongst comparable solutions.

Is it worth purchasing?

That would depend on the size of your networks in the future. We can certainly see why Instant On would make sense to retail chains, medical clinics, co-working businesses or public spaces, as those spaces see constant foot traffic. Enterprises with larger, more complex infrastructures will probably remain fans of Aruba Instant – although Instant On does create possibilities for unique use cases like supporting work-from-home in new markets.

In terms of pricing, Instant On offers a compelling value proposition, with no hidden fees beyond that of the initial hardware purchase. Check out our unboxing and setup videos here. We confirmed that:

  • There aren’t any additional licences or subscriptions required for management after deployment. All you need is an Aruba login for the app or cloud platform.
  • Security is part of the package and doesn’t require additional security gateway purchases, unlike Meraki Go and Ubiquiti. That said, you’ll want to consider something like Instant if you want to incorporate more complex third-party solutions.
  • The network insights provided by the app and cloud platform are detailed enough for most smaller businesses without requiring additional software license purchases.

With scalable features and pricing, Aruba Instant On is living up to its claim of supporting small businesses enhancing their network for growth. Aruba has certainly introduced a strong offering to compete with the likes of Ubiquiti, NETGEAR Insight and Meraki Go. It’s certainly worth consideration for any smaller business that’s looking to grow at speed during these times without creating risks to budgets or security.

The Author

Mark Simpson

Mark Simpson is a Product Manager with the Dicker Data Networks Team. An integral part of the team, Mark provides top-notch customer service, sales, product and technical management to customers and vendors alike. Being an excellent communicator, Mark often helps customers navigate the myriad of technology and innovations from vendors, enabling them to make the right choice for their business.