Aerohive's New High-Speed Wireless AP Braves Snow, Rain, Heat

Aerohive Networks Tuesday expanded its wireless portfolio with the launch of an access point that builds the burgeoning 802.11ac high-speed Wi-Fi standard into a form factor designed for the great outdoors.

While most of Aerohive's channel partners are not out in the world pitching full-scale outdoor wireless deployments, the new rugged AP1130 gives solution providers a way to extend enterprise deployments into areas such as parking lots, warehouses, construction sites and school stadiums, said Abby Strong, director of product marketing at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Aerohive.

"Mobility is now an expectation, not a convenience. There are all sorts of devices out there expecting wireless connectivity, and not just phones. It's thermostats, cameras, wearables," Strong said.

[Related: Aerohive Networks Teams With Apple To Drive Obama's ConnectED Program]

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Available now, the dual-band AP1130 provides point-to-point and automated mesh networking with both omnidirectional and a directional panel antenna for long-range connectivity. It also supports both Power over Ethernet and DC power, giving solution providers flexibility in how they provide power to the units, Strong said.

The AP1130 is built to withstand the elements at temperatures from minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 133 degrees Fahrenheit and environments of up to 95 percent humidity. It is priced at $1,399 in North America, approximately $100 less than Aerohive's existing AP170 802.11n outdoor access point while delivering 1.5 times to 1.8 times faster speeds, the company said.

In addition, the product includes a feature that uses a buzzer that "works like a Geiger counter" to aid in long-distance antenna alignment, she said.

"[802.11]ac is a big deal. A lot of clients are looking at doing [802.11]ac refreshes," said Dominic Grillo, executive vice president of Atrion Communications, a Branchburg, N.J.-based solution provider. Grillo sees Aerohive's AP1130 as a good fit for security-minded businesses that want video surveillance coverage in parking lots. "We don't do a lot of outdoor wireless but we do have clients where it would have been nice to have been able to blur the border of the enterprise network," he said.

Boston-based market research firm Infonetics in a recent report said 802.11ac access points now account for nearly one-quarter of all access point shipments. The firm said 802.11ac access point penetration is up almost 10-fold over the past year, with almost one million units shipped in the third quarter.

Aerohive joins a number of networking vendors that tout outdoor 802.11ac access points in their portfolios, such as Aruba, Cisco Systems, Netgear and Ruckus Wireless.