Aerohive Embraces Next-Gen Wireless Standard With New Access Point Line

Aerohive unveiled the new access points -- the AP370 and AP390 -- Tuesday at the Interop event taking place this week in New York City. They are the first access points from Aerohive to support 802.11ac, the next-generation radio technology that, according to Wi-Fi industry standards, will be the first to allow data transfer speeds to reach over 1 gigabit per second.

Other wireless vendors, including Aruba, Cisco and Meru Networks, have also come to market this year with access points supporting 802.11ac.

[Related: Aruba Boosts Partners' Managed Services Play With Cloud Wi-Fi Platform ]

What makes the new AP370 and AP390 access points different, according to Aerohive, is that they leverage Aerohive's flagship Cooperative Control architecture, meaning they provide Wi-Fi without requiring a centralized controller or overlay network. This "controller-less" approach, Aerohive said, moves all the control protocols and functions to the access points themselves, so users realize all the same benefits of a controller-based architecture, without actually having to buy or install controller hardware.

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For enterprises looking to deploy the latest 802.11ac standard, this "controller-less" approach makes things simpler by eliminating the need for controllers, or their software, to be upgraded, explained Joel Vincent, director of product marketing at Aerohive.

"The hesitation that we have seen [from customers] is that there's a bit more commitment involved than just the access points to using [802.11ac] in your network," Vincent said. "In order to use some of the latest access points, you need to start committing to updating controllers and other back-end [functions.] It's a complicated sales process."

The new AP370 and AP390, like all Aerohive access points, switches and routers, can be managed using HiveManager Online, Aerohive's cloud-based management platform. HiveManager Online, the SaaS version of Aerohive's on-premise management platform HiveManager, allows Aerohive partners or customers to monitor, troubleshoot and apply firmware updates to Aerohive access points from a single pane of glass.

Vincent said the new AP370 and AP390, along with the 802.11ac standard overall, represent an "expanded business opportunity" for Aerohive partners to talk to customers about network upgrades.

Michael McKerley, senior director, Technology and Innovation at Education Networks of America, a Nashville-based managed service provider specializing in the education space, said the new 802.11ac standard has helped do just that.

"The increased bandwidth capacity of 802.11ac will definitely help in the delivery of rich content in schools," McKerley told CRN. "The arrival of the new technology is also becoming another reason for customers to consider upgrading, in general."

The new AP370 and AP390 are available now, starting at $1,199.

PUBLISHED Oct. 1, 2013