Alcatel Lucent built its wireless strategy around being an equipment manufacturer for Aruba. Because of Aruba’s high market share and consistently strong offerings, it’s provided Alcatel Lucent a pretty strong portfolio of products to build its business around. Since Aruba has gained a bit of a reputation for building niche albeit high-quality wireless products, it’s no wonder that Alcatel Lucent is looking to branch out their offerings. Alcatel has now introduced its own line of access points under the brand name “Stellar” and are being marketed as more affordable and easier to deploy.
The new Stellar product line has two primary management modes: Express, designed for deployments of up to 64 access points and Enterprise, capable of scaling up to 4,000 access points.
- Express mode is a completely controller-less solution in which the controller functionality is distributed across all the APs. The cluster is managed via a cloud-based web portal and includes a wizard for initial configuration, making it ideal for small businesses. Express also comes with an integrated guest portal, making it easy for businesses that have little to no technical expertise to set up a guest network.
- Enterprise is designed for larger deployments and requires a controller. Customers can choose between a local controller or one that is cloud based. In either case, administrators manage the solution through a centralized management tool. The solution also offers unified management, so network professionals can manage their wired and wireless networks from a single console. As one would expect, Enterprise also has features such as high availability, wireless security, roles-based policies and analytic capabilities.
The initial set of features for Express and Enterprise were fairly basic, but the company recently added several features in the areas of management and performance including:
- Remote cluster management (Express only)
- External captive portal support
- User behavior tracking
- Link aggregation (Enterprise only)
- DHCP / DNS / NAT (Express only)
- Peer-to-peer wireless bridge mode
- Linear mesh daisy chaining
- Sticky client avoidance
- Greater control over channels and transmission rates
Furthermore, Alcatel-Lucent also introduced two new 802.11ac Wave 2 APs — the OmniAccess Stellar AP1201H and OmniAccess Stellar AP1201. They are both 2-radio solutions, but the “H” model is specifically designed for the hospitality space.