The new series of wireless access points from Aerohive Networks is designed and priced to provide enterprise grade mesh networking to small and medium businesses that until now have had to either make do with consumer WiFi routers or go with expensive enterprise equipment that required IT support staff.
Aerohive has introduced two WiFi access points, both of which are managed in the cloud and which are selling for about two-thirds less than the company’s original enterprise gear.
The APs are the Aerohive AP122 and AP130 which cost $229 and $299 respectively. The APs include the company’s HiveManager Connect cloud-based management suite and its HiveCare Connect support. There are no subscription costs because they are provided as part of the purchase.
According to the company, the management software is designed so that anyone can set up and use the mesh network. The entire setup process is said to require only six mouse clicks.
But the key value to potential users is the fact that it’s a single purchase. Once an organization has bought an Aerohive AP, that’s all they need to spend. The manager and the support continue forever without further payment.
The Aerohive APs operate much like other competitive products from Ruckus Wireless and Cisco. Once the first AP is installed and configured, additional APs can be added simply by powering them up and letting them communicate with the mesh. When the need arises to expand the network, it’s accomplished by simply adding more APs to the mesh.
The two APs are different only in the sense that the AP130 can handle more demanding environments. In addition, Aerohive offers a software upgrade to Aerohive Select with advanced security with more network visibility and additional support options. The upgrade does not require any change to the AP hardware.
The low price and lack of a subscription plan for support make the Aerohive Connect APs and software very attractive for smaller businesses, and they offer a set of capabilities that will meet the basic needs of most smaller organizations.
They also do away with the implementation, configuration and security headaches that go with trying to put a consumer WiFi device into a business environment. This also eliminates the requirement to have a trained support technician available when something goes wrong.
But the things that make the Aerohive Connect products attractive to SMBs also make them attractive to larger enterprises. Even though larger enterprises will have some specialized requirements that are beyond the capabilities of the Connect level, those functions are still available by adding more capabilities through software upgrades. What’s important is that the initial implementation cost remains low, and the product line retains its scalability.