So IT is in an exciting phase right now. When we look at the transition of a lot of businesses from paper-based systems to digital systems you’ll see a lot is going on in that space. And as soon as data goes digital, we start to get networks that enable us to access and use that data. On the front end, it all looks simple. You get an account from the IT department, you log into your account and you have access to all the bits and bobs.
But there is a whole lot more going on in the background that the boys and girls in IT run with on a daily and that is the networking architecture. A complex diagram that details the hierarchy of this network to ensure the data on it is accessible to the right people that should be accessing it and it is safe from manipulation or theft. They can’t do this on their own, so for businesses serious about IT, they look for guys like Aruba HPE.
What is Aruba HPE?
Aruba is the networking business unit of HP Enterprise offering networking solutions for corporates and small to medium businesses. Essentially any company with an IT department can be and is their customer. What they claim as their key selling point is they offer the hardware in the form of smart switches and access points (APs) and the management software for the hardware. So an end-to-end networking system from edge to cloud.
Since security is a very large piece of networking you can be sure that the presentation they made was largely on security but they also had some other features they offer that seem quite interesting.
IoT conscious APs
IoT devices are not particularly prevalent in these parts of the world, well at least not in the form a lot of us are familiar with like smart bulbs and smart switches. However, in industry, IoT is essential for automation. Smart sensors for applications like temperature monitoring, humidity, flow rates, tank levels, pressures, and so forth are key to making the industry efficient.
For the wireless variants of these sensors, there are 2 common communication protocols. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Zigbee. Whilst most devices can connect seamlessly to IoT equipment using Bluetooth, not many can communicate directly with Zigbee devices. Meaning some extra piece of equipment will be required to operate as an interface between the Zigbee-enabled IoT device and the internet or a Bluetooth device.
Aruba HPE APs don’t have that problem. They come with support for BLE and Zigbee built-in meaning these devices can be connected to the network without any extra gadgets to be used as an interface.
Increase network speeds without upgrading your internet package
Aruba HPE uses smart switches in its network. This plays a crucial role in the management of the switch, the security of the networks, and the management of network devices. What the software then does is it uses machine learning to study the network and the behavior of the network during different times of the day.
The APs also communicate with the switches to communicate aspects of radio interference for wireless networks. All this means is that for wireless network users, the connections are more stable and the speeds are higher because the network learns the environment and the user’s habits over time and automatically configures itself to provide the best possible performance.
On top of that, on the side of the switches, Aruba is also using this machine learning for forwarding Error Correction (FEC). Essentially this means that during data transfer over the network if the data transmitted is received with errors, instead of being discarded and sending a request for retransmission, FEC is used to reconstruct the data at the destination reducing duplicate traffic on the network and as a consequence improving network performance.
Automated network troubleshooting
There is a gadget they have that they call a G-Sensor. And this device runs tests on the network from a user’s point of view. Just as you would if you were using your phone or laptop to connect to the wireless network.
Inside it, it has preloaded applications that it runs that a typical business would want to run like Microsoft Teams or web browsing. And so it automatically performs tests of these applications on the network and gives reports on how they are performing. Or alarms if aspects of a certain app are not working.
Where it really shines though is you can program it to run periodic tests on an app or service that is not already preloaded. If you wish to test your website you can configure the normal operation of the website onto it with all the buttons and widgets you want tested and so if anything does not respond as expected, the G-Sensor will send a notification to the dashboard as well as a screenshot of what it was seeing when it encountered the error.
And if you are monitoring it remotely you’ll be glad to know that it’s got a built-in supercapacitor and a configured e-sim such that in the event of a power failure that takes out the wireless connection, the G-Sensor can still send updates of the state of the network via mobile internet. And since the e-sim is already preconfigured there is no need to load it up with one.
Managed services: Network as a Service (NaaS)
It’s a reality that a majority of businesses might not have the budget to buy their networking infrastructure upfront. And so that’s where NaaS comes into play. Essentially you spec out whatever network you want for your business and all you do is agree on the monthly subscriptions you’ll pay for making use of the network.
You will not own this network. The Aruba partner that installed it for you will be the owner and will ensure it’s all running properly for your business. What’s cool about it is you can also always upgrade the equipment on the network to the latest versions and not pay for it. Your subs will keep you sorted.
Aruba itself does not have a physical presence in Zimbabwe. As such they have partnered with Solution Centre as a certified dealer for their hardware and services. But with how networking systems are rarely standard, Aruba says the cost for your particular network will be handled by Solution Centre for businesses in Zimbabwe.
What seems to be the biggest selling point for them is the intelligent hardware paired with their powerful software that does the heavy lifting behind the scenes, automates routine stuff, and most importantly the increased safety that comes as a result. They could be one of the very few offering such an ecosystem of networking solutions.