Aruba Unified AP platform

By theITrebel posted May 10, 2017 03:26 PM


Aruba users rejoice! Why might you ask? The world is becoming an easier place for those Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company users out there.


Most of us are accustomed to the sales process of buying new access points with Aruba. Once you decided on the model you wanted to purchase, then you had to ensure that you were purchasing the correct model for your needs. It was either an AP-XXX, IAP-XXX, or RAP-XXX. The choice of AP SKU was all about how you wanted to implement it in your network. And to boot, if it was a new AP to the market, then you usually had to wait a few months to purchase the Instant version. Not so fast! The days of multiple SKUs are over!


Well, maybe not "over" but condensed as much as Aruba can for now.


Aruba has decided that moving forward the model should allow the AP you purchase to be anything you want it to be. If you want it to be standalone, done. Join an existing Aruba Instant Cluster, poof! an Instant AP it becomes. Controllers in your network? BAM! Controller based AP it will be. The only concern is to ensure that you are purchasing the correct locale for your deployment as the APs will be regionalized.


Starting with ArubaOS, each AP is shipped with a manufacturing image based on the Instant image, but the image itself has reduced functionality. When the AP first boots while running the manufacturing image, it enters the controller/Instant discovery process. This process allows the AP to determine if it will become a controller-based (ArubaOS image) or controller-less AP (Instant image).


The process for the Aruba Unified AP discovery follows the steps show here:

Aruba Unified AP Discovery Process

At any point in the discovery process, once the AP has learned the necessary information, it can exit the process and become whichever type of AP the information discovered mandates by upgrading the AP image accordingly. It is important to note that the controller must be running 6.5.2.x in order for the AP to join. UAPs will not join controllers running versions of AOS prior to this version.

AP Discovery Logic Flow Diagram

Many of you Airheads out there will recognize the first 3 steps out there as being the normal process for Aruba APs to discover the controller in your environment. You will also recognize 4-6 as the normal process for Instant APs. Basically the smart people at Aruba got together and simplified things by putting all of these steps together moving forward.

Another important ability added with this change was the ability to convert a controller based AP to an Instant AP at anytime from the controller GUI or CLI. For those of you screaming and jumping with joy, so am I lol.  The process is pretty simple as explained in the ArubaOS User Guide. It states:


To set the AP preference role to controller-less in the WebUI:

  1. Navigate to Maintenance > WLAN > Convert to Instant Mode in the WebUI.
  2. Select the AP(s) on which you want to set the preference role to controller-less.
  3. Click Convert to IAP.

 From the CLI enter the following command:

(host) #ap redeploy controller-less [all / ap-group / ap-name / ip-addr / ip6-addr / wired-mac]


Last but not least, take care when staging these new UAPs in your environments. Examine the discovery process used above, and note that controller discovery takes precedence over Instant. Thus, if you are staging UAPs on a network with an Aruba WLAN controller present, ensure that the gear you stage the APs on can't contact that controller via any of the methods noted above. Don't forget about DNS resolution, as that's the one that most people forget about! I recommend staging on a dedicated VLAN in your environment that doesn't have Option 43 enabled or your internal DNS server address (where the aruba-master A record might reside) noted in the DHCP scope for said VLAN.


At the time of this post, presently there are a handful of these APs shipping.


Currently they include:


  • AP-203H Hospitality Access Point
  • AP-203R Remote Access Point
  • AP-303H Hospitality Access Point
  • AP-365/367 Outdoor Access Points


This new model will be used for all new AP released moving forward.

I for one applaud Aruba for taking the initiative to help all of us out by simplifying the ordering & installation process. I can tell you from experience the old way worked, but was frustrating when you really needed a standalone AP but only purchased campus APs for your deployment.


Thoughts? Comments? Message them below!





Jul 02, 2018 01:13 AM

305, 315 skus are comming on the IAP.And 303H,203H hosptality access point are comming with unify both will support in single cluster.Please confrim.


Jan 31, 2018 09:27 AM

 Vendor-Class Option 60, length 14: "ArubaInstantAP"


Please note that this is the Option 60 value you need to match for in your DHCP server. Atleast it's that way for the AP305H..

Nov 28, 2017 09:41 AM

Only the new APs have the UAP capabilities (36x, 303h , 203x, 34x, 318, 37x)

Get Outlook for iOS

Nov 28, 2017 09:05 AM

As I understand it, the only APs officially supported in the unified AP platform are the ones listed above and future products.

Nov 28, 2017 08:33 AM

This will be a wonderful feature.  Am I understanding that this will only work with AP Models released after this point?  I found the feature in my controller and it lists all of my existing devices as options.  Can I use this with my older AP-134/5 and 225, or is the controller simply not filtering in this section?

Oct 12, 2017 09:19 AM



This feature is only availble for AP listed in the article above and those released from this point forward.  The 305 was released before this featue was implemented so it won't be supported in the AP-305 product. 

Oct 05, 2017 05:30 PM

I Agree.


Also, what about the 305?When does that model has the above featureset?

I tried


It is VERY anoying that the AP version works in IAP mode, SSID's are working fine until you reboot the AP.

Then "Warning: CLI module is running in a degraded state. " and you cannot login to the GUI and the AP is not working anymore.


A 305 'IAP' model can do AP and IAP, but a factory SKU AP model only AP.


Jun 02, 2017 07:13 PM

This is a good move, but I would suggest making this information more prominent in the data sheets or website. Now I have to search through the datasheet to find words "instant" or "unified" to find out which AP is unified, controller model or IAP model. Older models have a separate SKU for Instant model but newer unified AP's have single SKU. When viewing products on the website, all the AP's are listed as "AP-". So it can get quite tedious to find the information if you don't remember offhand.