In a way it pains me, as an audio guy, to say that in today’s world everything begins and ends with the network. Whether its standard networking fare such as fetching emails or printing documents, or more bandwidth intensive activities such as streaming 4K, the network is the central component to any reliable home system. Providing dealers with an ever-evolving selection of routers, wireless access points (WAPs), switches, network accessories and testing tools is the SnapAV brand Araknis, now leveraging the company's OvrC remote monitoring platform.
Back in February 2016 we reviewed Araknis’ revamped line of networking products, including its 300 series router, access points and switches. Updating the review system, the company sent its 500 series access points, 210 and 310 series switches, and maybe most importantly, its new OvrC Pro hub, along with a WattBox surge protection device.
Araknis with OvrC
The nice thing about the Araknis product line is that it provides several levels of performance with each product. For the sake of brevity, the 500 Series access points pick up where the 300 series leaves off. As of press time, Araknis is launching a new flagship 700 Series line of access products, but the 500 Series offers a 2×2 antenna configuration, as well as concurrent dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, and band steering capabilities for maximum efficiency.
The IP+3 Controlled Outlet Compact Power Conditioner with Auto Reboot is designed to support remote auto reboots, which means dealers won’t have to roll a truck in the event of a power issue. The smart power device reboots itself, and it also includes OvrC remote access and surge protection.
The 310 and 210 Series switches are available in a choice of port configurations, and other features such as OvrC remote management and fiber network connectivity. The major features separating the product lines is the 310 Series, a fully L2 managed line of products with complete PoE capabilities. The 210 Series is not an L2 managed line of products, and its PoE capabilities aren’t as robust.
Rounding out the system is the OvrC Pro hub and Pro services. Serving as the backbone to dealers’ recurring monthly revenue (RMR) aspirations, OvrC and its Pro support platform provides dealers and their clients with a remote monitoring solution that delivers real-time notifications, remote reboot capabilities, as well as maintenance options such as remote configuration editing, firmware updates, and a client-facing app that enables homeowners to solve common network issues on their own.
OvrC takes the platform’s remote support to the next level through its ability to scan and monitor each (even non-OvrC enabled) device that resides on a network,. It allows integrators to view network health statuses and provides problem-solving tools to save integrators from having to roll trucks and quickly address customer service issues.
Setup & Installation
As someone who doesn’t consider himself a networking person, I hate to say I always expect the worse when it comes to network configurations.
To my relief, setup was easy. After reading through the equipment manuals, I started with WattBox IP+3. Screwing in the power connection and running an Ethernet cable to an existing switch on my network entailed the extent of the WattBox physical setup. Moving on to the next component, I swapped out my “downstairs” access point with a 500 series unit.
Jumping into the access point’s configuration, it took a few minutes to rename the SSID, and around 30 minutes to configure its security, its maintenance schedule for auto reboots, band steering, guest network access, etc.
I followed the same procedures to swap out my upstairs access point and having gone through the experience once allowed me to save a few minutes on my “upstairs” access point’s configuration.
Getting back to the WattBox, I almost had forgotten about it, but configuring this product also just took me a few minutes. Among the options I setup was an auto reboot in the event we lose power (which happens frequently) to help control the reliability of my finicky Comcast modem.
Finishing up, I setup and configured 16-port 210 series and 8-port 310 series switches. Like the other Araknis products, they installed and configured quickly.
My system update concluded with the installation of the OvrC Pro box. Setting up the OvrC Pro is even easier than the other Araknis products. After plugging the power in, and the network cable, it literally configured itself.
Performance & Final Thoughts
Immediately after connecting the access points I tested the products using Speedtest.net and the built-in testing tools within the OvrC platform. Both access points verified increased download speeds, even in tests exceeding the 80Mbps capability of OvrC’s testing procedures.
On a more anecdotal level, I have found the 500 series access points to have a greater reach than the 300 products.
Beyond the physical components and ease of setup with the Araknis products, I have to say I love the OvrC app. I find myself relying on it constantly to monitor the system, to run firmware updates, to scan IP addresses due to the random nature of placing items and pulling devices on and off my network for other product reviews.
Morever, OvrC’s desktop version allows for LAN testing that includes device pinging that includes simple visual indicators that show if a device is active or not.
I configured OvrC to prioritize specific items to provide instant status reports and reboot functionality. These options are nice for dealers to monitor their clients’ networks, and to perform basic tasks without rolling a truck. I also renamed a number of devices that reside on my network to help me track specific components, rather than trying to remember MAC or IP addresses.
The OvrC app also organizes clients based on whether they are base level clients or OvrC Pro subscribers, and the app facilitates the easy addition of more devices through its easy to navigate features.
Over the past several months, my network maintenance has benefited from scheduled access point auto reboots, instant event notifications and updates that are pushed out to allow me to keep my network up-to-date and running flawlessly through instant communications the OvrC app has provided me.
As you can tell, I think Araknis has really done a great job not only putting together a line of products that work well together, but also in backing these products with web and app tools that are fantastic dealer aids.
Looking at the depth of products within the Araknis line, the intuitiveness of the OvrC platform (including the apps) and its complementary products like WattBox, it makes sense why Araknis and SnapAV are so popular with dealers.
CE Pro Verdict
- Araknis 500 Series Indoor Wireless Access Point is a dual-band WAP that incorporates integrated antennas, PoE, OvrC remote access, and beamforming capabilities.
- The 310 Series L2 managed Gigabit switches are fully managed gigabit switches with PoE, OvrC remote capabilities and fiber connectivity.
- Araknis 210 Series of switches are available in a choice of configurations, as well as features that include gigabit speeds, OvrC remote access, PoE options and fiber connectivity.
- WattBox’s IP+3 Controlled Outlet Power Conditioner with Auto Reboot offers three outlets, along with MOV-based surge protection and OvrC remote access.
- OvrC Pro allows integrators to remotely power cycle; integrators can update firmware; OvrC produces event notifications, it allows for configuration edits, access to devices’ local interfaces, and the ability to see non OvrC products on the network.
- Easy to set up components
- OvrC Pro allows for a greater level of remote management
- Araknis’ parent company SnapAV offers dealer support
- Networking training and/or experience is helpful
- Araknis 210 series switcher fan noise is a bit loud