Aerohive targets education with 802.11ac access point release

Simplified system aims to capitalize on possible resurgence in educational wireless LAN buying

Aerohive Networks today announced the availability of the AP130, the company’s latest wireless access point to target educational institutions.

The AP130 is a 2x2, 2-stream access point designed to use existing Power over Ethernet infrastructure and to run HiveManager NG, Aerohive’s cloud-based network management platform. HiveManager is generally thought to be one of the company’s key advantages in the wireless marketplace, as it removes the need for a traditional network controller.

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Webster Alfonso manages network services at Fresno Pacific University, which has been using the AP130 as an advance customer. He said that Aerohive’s gear represented an attractive proposition in terms of both price and simplification, allowing the institution to deploy 802.11ac networks to an extent that might not have been possible before.

“We came from an Aruba controller environment and were not a fan of the complex licensing and configuration,” he told Network World. “We liked how simple Aerohive’s licensing was as well as not having to host our own controller/appliance.”

New 802.11ac access points have been taking over the market in recent months. Research from Infonetics found that ac-capable devices accounted for fully a quarter of all wireless LAN gear shipped in the fourth quarter of 2014, causing downturns in sales for 802.11n devices.

However, the education market was also noticeably weak in that period, according to Infonetics – the segment gained only 6% in sales, rather than the double-digit percentages that have been seen for years.

That said, analyst Matthias Machowinski stated that this is a momentary blip, rather than a sign of a changing trend.

“RFP activity from K-12 customers is accelerating in anticipation of new funding in 2015,” he said in a statement. “[T]hat, coupled with the introduction of 802.11ac wave 2 access points, will drive renewed growth in 2015.”

If that prediction holds, Aerohive could find itself well-positioned to reap the benefits of a resurgent education market – and it might not stop there.

According to IDC analyst and Vice President Rohit Mehra, Aerohive’s redesign of HiveManager NG could prove valuable as the company targets new verticals.

“Aerohive has completely redone its cloud management and orchestration platform, thereby giving it the scale and performance it needed as its focus went beyond its traditional customer base in education and other market segments,” he told Network World.

This story, "Aerohive targets education with 802.11ac access point release" was originally published by Network World.

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