Outdoor access points

What are Outdoor Access Points (APs)?

Outdoor access points are designed to deliver enterprise wireless connectivity in a form factor that protects against challenging environmental conditions—from outdoor public venues to oil rigs.

Outdoor APs explained

Outdoor APs are expressly designed and built to meet the needs of demanding outdoor or ruggedized environments. Outdoor APs offer weatherproof and temperature ratings for all outdoor environments, with some models supporting Hazardous Locations certifications, and include integrated OT and IoT radios—all backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

How do outdoor access points work?

Outdoor access points work similarly to indoor access points, but support higher power levels and have purpose-built antennas. They rely on dedicated radios to connect client and IoT devices over a WLAN. Most also include radios to support IoT, including low- or high-powered Bluetooth and Zigbee. Unlike indoor access points, they are waterproof and temperature hardened to better support challenging industrial IoT and manufacturing environments with include built-in antenna options and protected power options to provide full coverage in any weather.

What are point-to-point outdoor access points?

Point-to-point wireless solutions are an attractive option for connecting two sites where right of way is difficult to obtain (e.g., airport flight lines and across public roads or highways)—or as a backup or recovery link for existing connections. Unfortunately, legacy point-to-point solutions can be expensive, vulnerable to inclement weather conditions, and typically require highly skilled workers for AP installation and alignment. HPE Aruba Networking APs feature automatic linking and continuous radio adjustment to optimize connections, even during inclement weather.

What certifications cover outdoor access points?

  • IP66: Protection against high pressure water jets
  • IP67: Protection against temporary complete water submersion
  • ATEX Zone 2 (European) and Class 1 Division 2 (North America): Protection against potentially explosive materials for a short period of time

What are the key components of an enterprise outdoor access point?

  • Hardened exterior to withstand –40 Celsius to +65 Celsius
  • Built-in or external antennas
  • Integrated low- or high-energy Bluetooth and Zigbee
  • Dual radio, dual band coverage across 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (6 GHz in the future once Standard Power for the 6 GHz band is approved by regulators)
  • GPS antennas to provide location context
  • Dual redundant ethernet ports to minimize wired bottlenecks and provide hitless failover
  • Secure mount system to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes

What are the benefits of using Wi-Fi 6 in an outdoor Wi-Fi network?

For both outdoor and indoor WLAN, Wi-Fi 6 offers these benefits over Wi-Fi 5 APs:

  • Higher data rates with 1024 QAM
  • Increased capacity
  • Improved performance in environments with many connected devices
  • Improved power efficiency
  • Enhanced support for IoT devices

Are Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 outdoor APs available today?

Unlike indoor Wi-Fi 6E, outdoor Wi-Fi 6E (and Wi-Fi 7 in the future) requires standard power (as opposed to low power indoor (LPI) operations). However, standard power usage is still pending regulatory approvals and has a dependency on an Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) service to prevent interference with incumbents such as satellite from mobile television network operators. Although some vendors have announced “Wi-Fi 6E ready” APs, the 6 GHz band cannot be used until after regulatory approvals.

Wi-Fi 6 Outdoor Access Points

580 Series: Flagship AP with high power Bluetooth and Zigbee, plus multi-gigabit connectivity

570 Series: High performance AP for large open areas

560 Series: Entry-level, compact AP for warehouses and other medium density environments

518 Series: Indoor/outdoor coverage with multiple mounting bracket options

Ruggedized versions are also available

Outdoor Access Points Use Cases
ApplicationChallenges Solved
ManufacturingElectrical noise, emissions, and immunity
Power substationSpecialized communication networks
TransportationShock, vibration, power interruptions
Traffic control systemSpecialized traffic control networks
Refrigerated warehouseLow temperature, humidity
Smart cityHigh and low temperatures and humidity
ShipsSmall mounting footprints, power surges
Video surveillanceCamera power (PoE), wide temperature operation
AgricultureVoltage dips and ripples, remote management
CampusTransition between indoor and outdoor spaces

Benefits of outdoor access points

A ruggedized network keeps devices and users connected and productive in outdoor, harsh, or hazardous environments without compromising security, performance, or operational simplicity. 

  • Outdoor and ruggedized APs meet the needs of all types of enterprises.
  • IoT ready outdoor access points simplify deploying and managing industrial and location-based services.
  • Built-in security capabilities deliver policy-based enforcement and WPA3 compliance as part of the SASE framework.

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