Aruba RAP-3 Remote Access Point – Hands On Review

Many know that Aruba has a wide array of AP’s. One of those AP’s is the RAP-3 Remote Access Point. I recently have a change to get my hands on one and have compiled a short reviewtorial. This AP is a single-radio, single-band device that supports 802.11n. Out-of-the-box it ships with the Aruba Instant Access Software.

Here’s how easy it is to setup the Aruba RAP-3.

Connect The Required Cables.

This should be self explanitory. Plug the port labeled e0 into your cable/dsl/fios router.

Connect to the SSID "instant"

Aruba RAP-3
The Aruba AP is preconfigured with an open SSID, “instant.” This is how we will connect and manage the AP. So out of the box on this AP web management is enabled over wireless.

Connect To The Aruba RAP-3 Management Interface

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Browse To http://instant.arubanetworks.com. You can log into the AP with the username admin and password admin.

Create A New WLAN.

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At this point, I’m in. From here you get a pretty nice dashboard. Right now the Instant SSID is wide open. To add a new WLAN that we can lock down a little, click new.

Define the WLAN Name and Usage

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When you create the WLAN you have three usage options. Employee, Voice, and Guest. In this post we focus on employee and guest. Employee will let us create a secured network whereas guest lets us define an open network with a guest portal interface, terms of use, and email capture.

Select IP and VLAN Assignment

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Next we determine how the IP addressing will be handled. Virtual Controller Assigned addressing utilizes NAT via the Arbuba AP.

Choose Security Parameters

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You have the option here to select some security parameters. You can use the slider on the left to change the type.

Finish the Connection.

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The last page lets us modify access-control. We can use the slider for that, or we can just click finish.

Add A Guest WLAN.

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You can see we are adding a guest WLAN now.

Select Security Level

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Using the Drop-down we can select a security level. This is the default value for the guest WLAN which gives the user a splash screen before that are allowed to connect.

View The Dashboard

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The dashboard presents a nice overview of your WLANS, AP info and connected clients. You can also see the throughput on the bottom right, neighboring AP’s, IP information and so on.

Change Admin Credentials.

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Leaving the default admin credentials is one of the biggest security holes in todays networks. Clicking Settings allows us to change the admin credentials.

Control RF preferences.

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The RF link in the upper right allows you to control RF settings. As you can see from the above screenshot, you can force the 5Ghz.

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And above you can see the options for chaning the Airtime Fairness Mode.

Configure WIPS

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The WIP link lets us control our WIPS settings. By default this is off, but using the slider we can enable it at different levels.

Click Maintenance.

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From the maintenance page we have a few tabs to work with. Configuraiton, Certificates, Firmware, Reboot, and Convert.

Click Configuration.

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The configuration tab shows the current configuraiton and lets us clear the config, back it up, or restore it.

Click Convert.

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Here we can select whether this is a standalone AP or if its managed by a mobility controller.

Connect to a Guest Network and Open A Browser.

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You can now see I’m on the guest network. Not very pretty, but functional and very easy to setup. After agreeing to the terms and entering your email and clicking enter we are redirected…not to the page we were initially going to, but to Apple.com.

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And there you have it. A 5-minute tour of the Aruba RAP-3 AP with a simple employee and guest network added and functional. Simplicity is definitly a must, but I think for the real features that most people in the enterprise are going to want, I’m going to need that Mobility Controller. For home deployment the standalone is just fine.

My Take on the Aruba RAP-3

I think the Aruba RAP-3 is very easy to configure and it’s got some really nice features. It would be nice to have a mobility controller to unleash some of those features, but the instant AP is good enough for a home office or a small business/office. You can find more details on the Aruba RAP-3 at http://www.arubanetworks.com/products/access-points/. This AP is going into my travel bag!

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