Wireless Access

Occasional Contributor II

Need Instant vs Controller Advice

Hello wireless friends,


I'm in a pickle and need some advice. I was foolishly led into buying a total of 21 APs and believing they could be ran on one instant cluster. This was confimed as achievable by the large Aruba Partner I bought from.


We have (all IAP) 3x135, 3x134, 7x105, 8x93.


As you can already see, we're limited to 16 APs in the cluster because of the 93s. The head engineer for our reseller told me that if I made sure a 135 was the master and I was upgraded to a certain firmware version, I would be able to have more than 16 APs. After countless hours, dedicated due to the insistance of the engineer, I was unable to manipulate the cluster to allow >16. 


So, I could return the 8x93s and have some credit to go towards 105s, but the areas the 93s are in are really only for a couple clients and is therefore not a cost efficient move.


What I'm leaning towards, and would like some advice on, is whether or not I should buy a 3200 Controller. We have a fairly large campus but should have no issues with the 2,048 user limitation. Will our current APs, running on, be easily changed to campus aps? Are the 3200s still supported by Aruba? Is the management software at least as good as or better than the Instant software I'm currently using? Note: I found a used 3200 for fairly cheap; much less than the cost of 8x105s.


The main goal of mine is to have all our APs on one cluster. I do not want to use AirWave or Aruba Central to combine two clusters or anything along those lines.


Thank you for your time and advice.




Guru Elite

Re: Need Instant vs Controller Advice


Since you have already gone through this exercise, I would contact your local Aruba sales team and get advice from them.

*Answers and views expressed by me on this forum are my own and not necessarily the position of Aruba Networks or Hewlett Packard Enterprise.*
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Re: Need Instant vs Controller Advice

The truth is that you cannot achive more than 16 in one cluster if you got 1 instant 93 on it... Just 1 intant 93 will lock the cluster to 16...


The only way to have it centrilized are these 3 options


1-Aruba Central = Managing differnt cluster with the Aruba Central

2-Airwave = Managing different clusters with the airwave

3- Buying a controller


Now you have to analyze things:

If you go for the controller you need to take in mind that you willl loose your redundancy!( if the controller dies all your system will go down) Unless you buy another controller and have it on VRRP on stanby or have the second controller on local mode.


As a personal opinion, if that partner told you that you will be able to put everything in one cluster even if you had IAP93 there is something wrong with that partner, i would go and contact another one.... i mean this is something really basic. and they should have known this.

With my clients i tell them really clear that if they put one IAP 93 in their cluster it will be locked to 16 APS.


Now what you should do? well it depends on your budget, and the features you want.  Are you okay with the features you already got with instant? or are you looking for more features? such as VPN Termination which is really handly sometimes, or a captive portal that can manage users that expire?

You need to ask yourselft

1-What is my budget?

2-What you are looking for?

3-the company can keep working without wireless? or everything will stop if you dont have wireless??( This is for the redundancy part) At least i got a few clients in which they are full Wireless and if that doesnt work they all go down! so they need redundancy!) is this is your case???






Product Manager - Aruba Networks
Alternetworks Corp

Re: Need Instant vs Controller Advice

Also if you buying a 3200 chekc that is a 3200MX

the 3200MX supports 6.2.x  firwmare and  6.3.x

The 3200 alone will not support 6.2.x or 6.3.x

And to make it work you will need to buy a additional Memory to your controller

I tell you this because on the other topic you said you were thinking in buying a used one.  

As a personal opinion i would buy a new one.  I personally dont like used stuff in anything.




Product Manager - Aruba Networks
Alternetworks Corp

Re: Need Instant vs Controller Advice

i agree with Colin, you should talk more with you local sales team; but a couple of items to consider:


  • With an IAP-93 as part of the cluster, you'll be limited to 16
  • You could consider setting up two clusters; one with IAP-93s and one without
  • Be careful with mixing IAP-93s (single radio) with other IAPs in the same area if you have band steerring enabled
  • The 3200 (non 3200XM model) was end of sale in January 2012.....see next item
  • The 3200 controller needs a memory upgrade kit (3200-MEM-UG)  to run ArubaOS 6.2+

Anything beyond that, I suggest you contact your local Aruba team.

Systems Engineer, Northeast USA

Occasional Contributor II

Re: Need Instant vs Controller Advice

Hi Carlos,


Thank you for your details responses (on both posts).


I'm glad you pointed out the MX thing. I had no idea. I believe the one I'm looking at is just 3400. I'm waiting to hear back from the seller. I'm also waiting to hear back on the licensing status. 


So a given controller can be sold with no licensing? Or must some kind of licensing be bought or included on the initial purchase? I'm trying to clarify that without a seperate, paid for license, a controller is useless.


Yes, I am totally fine with the basic features of Instant. Our firewalling, web filters, rules, etc, are taken care of elsewhere. That's why I don't see sense in going with Aruba Care or AirWave.


My budget is "most efficient". So again, no need for centralized user management. I basically just want a wireless network that is roamable. I had two instant clusters on seperate VLANS with the same BSSID's, but I know they don't really "roam" or "hand off" clients properly that way. 


As far as redundancy, it's not a huge issue on our wireless network. I would prefer it though (via instant, not seconday controllers).

Re: Need Instant vs Controller Advice

You can always use the instant have 2 clusters and configure L3 roaming!

If thats what you looking for, i mean just to roam... and if you dont care having 2 clusters.  If so there is no need to buy a controller for that




Product Manager - Aruba Networks
Alternetworks Corp
Occasional Contributor II

Re: Need Instant vs Controller Advice



Thanks for your response.


I was also recommended the two cluster option by my reseller after I told them the delema. It just limits my scalability, as I would like full campus coverage (about 45 APs) in the future. 


They are willing to help me by crediting the 93s towards 115s, but not 105s. I guess it's been too long since the purchase so I can't simply return them. I had a large gap between the purchase and now (when I discovered the issue).


So, if I go controller, I buy the non MX, the upgrade, but some kind of licensing as well? I think Carlos might already be working on this response, but which licensing do I need? Can I just use the controller as is and unlicensed for basic features? 

Occasional Contributor II

Re: Need Instant vs Controller Advice

I read that, layer 3 roaming that is, but don't I need some other licensed product for that (Aruba Central or AirWave)? If not, what?

Re: Need Instant vs Controller Advice

No you dont it jsut config...

Here is a video that will clarify you more about the layer 3 roaming.




Hope this helps you.




Product Manager - Aruba Networks
Alternetworks Corp
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