New Aerohive Connect offers affordable, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi solution

Product is designed to meet the needs of SMEs, hospitality and retail customers who want a simpler entry-level, but enterprise-class Wi-Fi solution, which can be seamlessly upgraded to the more advance Select offering, as James Atkinson reports

New Aerohive Connect offers affordable, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi solution

Aerohive Networks has introduced an affordable, entry-level Wi-Fi solution with reduced price access points and a simplified version of the HiveManager cloud-based management platform. Aerohive Connect will offer enterprise quality connectivity and centralised management starting at $229 per access point.

As part of the new Connect offering, Aerohive has also announced the launch of the AP122, a new enterprise-grade 802.11ac access point. Aerohive Connect and the AP122 are available immediately. Aerohive will showcase these new solutions at Aerohive’s customer webinar: ‘5 Reasons You Have Been Overpaying for Your Wi-Fi’, on 28 February 2017.

Aerohive is looking to disrupt the market with Connect by delivering cloud-managed connectivity to customers starting at the price of $229 for the AP122, and $299 for the AP130, one of Aerohive’s best-selling access points, which was previously priced at $599.

Aerohive Connect includes the same access point technology used in Aerohive’s largest and most demanding deployments, as well as HiveManager Connect, a simplified version of Aerohive’s cloud-based network management.

It also offers access to Aerohive’s customer support, and an easy path to upgrade to Aerohive’s full suite of features, deployment options, and support (Aerohive Select), all for the per-AP price of $229 or $299.

Speaking to Wireless, Mark Powley VP EMEA at Aerohive said: ‘What Aerohive is delivering on with Connect is what the market has been seeking for some time – a compelling cost point on hardware allied with a simplified version of our HiveManager enterprise.

Seamless upgrade path
‘HiveManager is a zero cost platform you have for the life of your hardware and if you start with Connect but later want to upgrade to access the other advanced features you can just purchase an entitlement key software license, which will give you access to the full HiveManager Select management platform.’

He continued: ‘To implement Select, all it takes is just six clicks and you can upgrade to the fully featured platform. It is a completely seamless way of upgrading and no one else offers that simplified migration upgrade path in the market at the moment.’

Commenting on the target customers for the Connect product, Abby Strong, Senior Director of Product Management at Aerohive, said: ‘We see a couple of different opportunities in terms of the target audience for Connect. There are some customers who just want simple enterprise connectivity and do not need a sophisticated solution. They want something with less complexity, or with less training required, and which can be managed by a small IT team.

‘We believe there are two major categories here: SMEs; and sectors like hospitality and retail. All they really want is the ability to see who is connecting. They don’t need to see what apps are running or what the users are doing. So, Connect is really focused on providing an attractive price and doing a few things really well for these kinds of customers.’

New customer opportunity
Powley added: ‘Connect takes us to a new set of customers who have different levels of entry requirement. They do not need a sophisticated technology solution. What they want is a compelling price and no overheads in terms of managing the Wi-Fi system.

‘The flipside for these kinds of customer is that the entrepreneurial side of the sales channel can build its own services platform and offering for their customer base. Connect allows customers to dip their toe in the water, but without the need to change out access points or buy new firmware.’

Strong pointed out that Aerohive uses the same chipsets, management system and enterprise quality connectivity solutions across its portfolio with the cloud housing the main features customers need.

‘We offer two APs for the Connect solution,’ explained Strong. ‘The new AP122, which is more about providing coverage, along with BLE and USB; and the already available AP130, our top seller in the portfolio, which is specifically designed for high density environments, such a class rooms where you might have 40 pupils all access the same thing at the same time.’

Compelling cost point
Powley added: ‘The pricing level is a change of direction for us. We are offering lower cost hardware, but the value is in the systems, applications and products. The hardware is getting commoditised, so we are reacting to that.

‘But this is not a bad thing,’ he continued, ‘as it opens new doors to new customers without punishing existing ones. We know people have been looking for an entry level Wi-Fi solution, but we have not had the granularity in the product to be able to offer the lower cost version until now.

‘We know the channel is saying: this is what we want, but we must have the same enterprise quality of hardware, the same enterprise class radio, and then the channel can add the services,’ said Powley.

Strong concurred: ‘With Aerohive Connect customers do still get enterprise quality connectivity, but if they need more it is a seamless upgrade path to Aerohive Select. We think it puts more value into our software.

‘The customer may say: I don’t need those features right now, as I don’t have the use case for them. But we can go back to them when they do and they can upgrade seamlessly. They can do that without having to replace the hardware or the firmware on the APs either.’

Select includes additional capabilities, such as advanced security and troubleshooting tools, support for BYOD programmes, increased network visibility, more enterprise support options, and the ability to deploy HiveManager on-premises or in a private cloud. For a comparison between Connect and Select see graphic below.

Mix and match APs
She pointed out that one of Aerohive’s core differentiators is the ability to mix and match APs. If you buy an 802.11ac Wave 1 product now, but want to upgrade to Wave 2, or at some point in the future to 802.11ax, you can still manage all of them from the same HiveManager platform.

‘You can manage a mixed fleet if you have different types of APs in different geographic locations or in different part of your building where you have different connectivity requirements to meet.

‘We have seen competitors offer an SME solution, but there is always some form of disruption from complete rip and replace to changes in controllers or firmware. With Aerohive you just add the entitlement key and off you go,’ said Strong.

Benefits of Aerohive Connect:

• Reduced Cost – dramatically lower purchase prices than comparable Cisco and HP solutions, as well as a self-optimising and self-healing architecture that keeps ongoing costs down without compromising quality.
• Six-Click Configuration – step-by-step-guided configuration and intuitive management that lets customers build enterprise-level connectivity configurations in six clicks.
• Simplified Cloud Management – ongoing operation of even the largest networks from a single point of management using Aerohive’s leading cloud networking platform. HiveManager Connect is perfectly designed for simpler networks and connectivity-oriented use cases.
• Effortless Scale – the ability to scale from one to thousands of access points with a single architecture. Aerohive is the only vendor that uses the same architecture to support all customers, from the smallest organisations to the largest.
• High Quality Support – HiveCare Connect Support with access to the HiveCare Connect Community, a forum-based interactive support community, online tools and resources, and email support.
• Seamless Upgrade Path – ability to upgrade to Aerohive’s highest levels of functionality and support with no need to touch already deployed access points.

AP122 and AP130 access points
The new AP122 is a 2x2 MIMO, dual radio 802.11ac access point designed for coverage-focused environments, as well as IoT and location-based services. The AP122 supports two spatial streams and has built-in BLE and USB to accommodate beacons and other IoT devices.

The AP130 access point is a 2x2, 2 spatial streams, 802.11ac access point. Advanced software features and simplified management offer a cost-optimised solution that allows for high-speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi in every office or environment.

Running Aerohive’s HiveOS coupled with Aerohive’s distributed Cooperative Control protocols, the AP130 provides a cost-effective WLAN solution for mid-to-high-density environments.

Aerohive Connect and Select comparison chart


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