Testing Aruba AP-318 with Wireless X

As an industry leader in wireless networking solutions, Aruba Networks delivers both the hardware and software needed to provide the high-performance networks required in large enterprises. In order to bring these solutions to hazardous areas, Aruba Networks relies on its ArubaEdge Technology Partners, which includes BARTEC PIXAVI.

Wireless X ATEX Zone 1 WiFi enclosure with Aruba AP318 for hazardous areas
Wireless X chassis with Aruba AP-318 (with Aruba ANT-22 antennas) without dome

Aruba Networks recently concluded testing of BARTEC PIXAVI’s Wireless X: an ATEX/IECEx Zone 1 RF-transparent enclosure for wireless technology. One of the many advantages of the Wireless X is the ability to provide wireless connectivity in hazardous areas without the use of external antennas (meaning antennas mounted on the outside of an enclosure).

A common question or concern customers have when considering Wireless X is; how does the Wireless X enclosure impact the RF signals of the device inside?

Naturally, this question was the main focus of Aruba Networks’ test. Their conclusion was:

“The cover doesn’t create any major impairments to the RF, largest SNR impact is mostly observed in the 2.4Ghz band, actually benefiting 2.4Ghz when compared to no cover within this test environment”

In other words, the test shows that the largest impact to the RF signals is an improvement in the 2.4 GHz band. The impact to SNR (Signal-to-Noise-Ratio) in the 5 GHz band is small enough to be comparable to the variance of client positioning (i.e. the device picking up the signal from the Access Point (AP)).

SNR plot without dome
SNR plot with dome

As can be seen from the SNR plots above (with and without dome), the coverage is not affected by the dome. This means that when considering coverage and range, one only needs to consider the performance of the device placed within the Wireless X enclosure (besides, of course, the layout of the hazardous areas and possible interference sources).

For this specific combination of equipment (see below for equipment list used in the test), the test report states the following for coverage:

A design guidance of 100m radius of coverage would be recommended here for coverage, depending on required client SNR. If client SNR requires -65dB @ 5Ghz, that radius could shrink to 75m radius.

Test equipment

The test was performed using the following equipment (click links for more information about the equipment):

Click here to download the entire test report in pdf format.