Technology Blog

Hanging 11ac APs. What's in your toolbox?

by ‎05-08-2014 10:30 AM - edited ‎05-08-2014 10:42 AM

From my student days in Syracuse, to my technical marketing days at Aruba, I have built Wi-Fi networks from almost every major vendor.

 

And for me, the most time-consuming and painful task was mounting various vendor APs to the ceiling.

 

Aruba was the exception. It became clear to me that the simplicity of installation of Aruba APs were a direct result of them being designed by people who had actually installed Wi-Fi networks.

 

All Aruba APs come with ceiling rail adapters that simply twist and snap into an AP. With a short clockwise turn, you can secure the adapter onto the ceiling rail. No tools required.

 

                                                                       Aruba-clip.png

 

 

Unfortunately, that is not the case for other Wi-Fi vendors. Some are so horribly complicated that the idea of mounting APs was clearly an afterthought. Meraki is a great example. Have you ever seen their IKEA-style instruction manual? Some assembly required :smileywink:

 

            Meraki-toolbox.png

 

Well, eventually curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to see how long it would take me to mount an Aruba AP vs. a Meraki AP. It turns out that I can install five Aruba APs in the time it takes to install just one Meraki AP.

 

 

Comments

 

In answer to the question, velcro.  And then more velcro.

 

We actually found Aruba mount options to be among the weaker of the product features.

While convenient, the twist-lock adaptors do not always click on completely, and rely on

rather thin plastic parts.  We worry that while they may appear to work now, after several

years of heat and age they may break during an AP replacement, which is especially

inconvenient when you are not in a cubicle farm and are frequently at the top of a rather

tall step ladder.

 

Add to that the ethernet jacks on the backs of the APs go straight into the back, so you need a

specially made RJ-45 patch with an angle connector to get ceiling tiles to sit flat (or to not

care about gouging the tile) and the AP-225 MNT-1 standoff mounts have only four

screwholes that match absolutely no prexisting AP fixture known to mankind.

 

The MNT-2 standoff mounts are much better, look like they will last longer, but they

still do not match the proper screws on a wallbox, unless you mount them with two of

the corner structural screws which is generally frowned upon.

 

The -H models are, thank goodness, fully compatible with typical telcom wallboxes, but

if you are not using wallboxes, they suffer from the same right-angle connectors on the

back.

 

For custom mount jobs where MNT1 and MNT2 just will not work, the back of the AP-225

offers very little to work with -- no slide-mount holes for screwheads, and nothing to run velcro

through.  The latter would also help us feel better about placing APs where a failed clip

could result in an AP falling ten feet into an occupancy area, by allowing additional safety

tehers (other than the RJ45).

 

If Aruba wants to encourage rip-and-replace uprades to their product, they should produce

mounting options that match the holes their prospective customers already have in their

walls.

 

Aruba Aruba

Thanks for the feedback Brian.

 

Good news:    I haven't seen any clips (as in not one) breaking across my many years in using Aruba products of all shapes, sizes and form factors.   I would say they are used in 98%+ of all installs i have seen in my region.      I find that today's Aruba access points are engineered to MTBFs way longer than is realistically needed (I.T. equipment is typical refreshed every few years... Aruba MTBFs are 30+ years... some exceeding 50 years MTBF). 

 

As for your 'top of the very tall step ladder' scenario.     I think I would like the Aruba AP + mounting clip approach (2 parts) vs. competitors' AP + 9 piece mounting kit + somehow juggling multiple tools required to install 'up there'.    Afterall, I only have two hands ... and don't exactly like heights... the faster I get down the better. ;)   2 pieces vs. 10+ pieces... Aruba will win every time i my install books. 

 

If you want to mount to wall boxes, have you considered using our wallbox specific mounting kits ?   They may fit your use-cases much better and allow the screw holes to align, quite easily.  

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