Monday, 27 July 2015 06:31

Aerohive looks for Wi-Fi differentiation

Aerohive's Gareth Green Aerohive's Gareth Green

Wi-Fi networking and management vendor Aerohive is looking to the enterprise for Australian growth. And the search is on for a new local head.

Whoever Aerohive chooses to replace former managing director Peter Davison, they will have a busy time on their hands.

Head of international operations Gareth Green is in town scouting for potential candidates. An announcement is expected soon. They will join at a good time for the company, a year after a successful public offering and in a period where the Wi-Fi market is booming.

Connectivity is becoming universal. Wi-Fi vendors are on a roll, but the market is extremely competitive. Aerohive is in a very tough market.

Cisco is biggest, as it is in many of the markets where it operates. But it t is being kept honest by smaller competitors, many of them with innovative products and approaches to market. Aerohive is one of them.

Cisco’s three main Wi-Fi competitors are all based in Sunnyvale, the suburb in Silicon Valley that has been home to so many celebrated US startups. Ruckus, Aruba and Aerohive all play in the wireless space, and all work hard to differentiate themselves so they can stand out in Cisco’s long shadow.

Now Aruba has been acquired by HP, which gives it corporate oomph, leaving Ruckus and Aerohive to compete on innovation. Ruckus has directional antennas, and Aerohive has a unique controllerless cloud-based Wi-Fi management system (the ‘hive’) which has given it an edge in medium to large organisations.

That, says Green, has ensured Aerohive’s success. “All other Wi-Fi networks needs a central controller. We don’t – ours is in the cloud. It’s a completely different architecture, and makes us infinitely scalable.”

Aerohive’s wireless access points (WAPs) are controlled from a management console that can run in Aerohive's cloud, on the customer's hardware, or on an in-house appliance. Even if there is a console outage, the network keeps running.

Capabilities include policy-based access and application control. For example, marketing staff may be given unrestricted access to Facebook and Twitter, while these services may be severely limited for sales staff to help keep their minds on the job.

“With the increasing demand for mobility, wireless has become the primary access method for many people,” says Green. “Organisations have focussed on the speed of a vendor’s access point, but while bandwidth is important, it’s not the only element that should be measured.

“Management, speed of implementation and scalability are also very important issues. That’s where we believe Aerohive has an advantage.”

Green says organisations should use Wi-Fi to understand what’s happening at the edge of their network. “How can you use Wi-Fi to connect with the anonymous shopper to get a better understanding of where they are, what they are doing and what they are using.

“Aerohive is a unified mobility management platform. We can manage end user applications, and through APIs organisations can gain relevant insights into their operations, connected devices, employees and customers.

“That means they can better understand what is happening on their network, ensuring they can make informed business decisions based on this information, increase communications and engagements.”

Aerohive’s HiveManager includes ID Manager, which manages enterprise guest and personal devices. “It simplifies mobile device management on the network by providing self-service device onboarding as part of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT),” says Green

“User organisations need to accommodate the influx of mobile devices while still retaining management, control and visibility of the network, as well as the myriad of applications, security risks and compliance requirements they are subject to.

”ID Manager uses Aerohive’s Cloud Services Platform to eliminate the need for additional hardware or software to deliver a simple-to-administer management solution that streamlines the onboarding of BYO devices and visitors, without breaking the budget or requiring the expertise of IT staff.”


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.



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