Wireless LAN technology: A buyer's guide
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Editor's note: This Aerohive HiveManager product overview is part of a series on buying wireless LAN technologies for the enterprise that compares cloud-controlled WLAN versus locally managed WLAN. We also look at the buying criteria for cloud-managed WLAN products and the criteria for buying locally managed WLAN solutions. We also compare the top cloud-controlled wireless LAN vendors in the market and the leading vendors in the locally managed WLAN market.
Aerohive offers both indoor and outdoor wireless access points (APs) that are best suited for small to medium-sized enterprise deployments. In terms of management, customers can choose between a cloud-managed solution and an on-premises solution. Both operate identically, so the choice depends on whether you prefer local management or management in the cloud.
Aerohive HiveManager access points offer nine options for wireless planning -- eight indoor models and one outdoor. Aerohive categorizes the APs into one of three areas: indoor internal APs, indoor external APs, and outdoor antenna APs.
Indoor internal antenna Aerohive access points
The AP121 (priced at $499) is considered Aerohive HiveManager's most cost-effective AP device and is used when general-purpose, no-frills wireless access is required. It is a two-radio, two-stream AP that provides connectivity at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz for 802.11 a/b/g/n clients. It is capable of providing data at speeds up to 300 Mbps.
The AP130 (priced at $649) is similar to the AP121 unit with the exception that its dual radios also provide connectivity using the 802.11ac Wave 1 protocol. The dual stream AP has a maximum throughput of 867 Mbps when devices connect using 802.11ac.
The AP230 (priced at $799) steps up the speed by using three streams out of the dual radio unit. This provides up to 1.3 Gbps throughput when using 802.11ac. This AP includes two 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports that can be aggregated together so it does not become a bottleneck if wireless throughput goes above 1 Gbps on the AP.
This series focuses on "cloud-controlled" wireless LANs, which are configured and managed entirely from the cloud, with only the access points on premises. By contrast, "cloud-managed" WLANs are managed partly from the cloud and partly through on-site equipment.
The AP330 (priced at $999) is an 802.11n AP that uses three spatial streams and provides up to 450 Mbps per radio. Like the AP230, it also has dual Ethernet ports to allow for port aggregation to the switch uplink if desired. This hardware is commonly used in areas with high concentrations of wireless devices.
The AP370 (priced at $1,199) is Aerohive's flagship internal access point, offering the highest performance in areas where high capacity is required. Like the AP230 and AP330, it offers dual Ethernet ports. The AP370's three streams allow for throughput up to 1.3 Gbps when operating 802.11ac. It provides the same throughput as the AP230, with the added benefit of being able to connect far more devices with no loss of performance.
Indoor external antenna APs
The Aerohive AP141 (priced at $499) internal AP is identical to the AP121, using dual-radio, dual-stream components. The primary difference is that the AP141 has no internal antenna and instead allows for external antenna connectivity using four RP-SMA antenna connections. Two connections are for the 2.4 GHz radio and two for the 5 GHz radio.
The AP350 (priced at $999) uses a three-stream 802.11n radio and dual-Ethernet ports. The internal hardware is similar to those found in AP330's. It is intended for areas where wireless devices will be highly concentrated. The unit includes six RP-SMA antenna connections. The hardware is also rated for use where temperatures range from -20 to 55 degrees Celsius (-4 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit), and in environments with up to 95% humidity. These units would work well in warehouses and manufacturing plants that are not temperature-controlled.
The AP390 (priced at $999) shares internal similarities to the AP370 and physical similarities to the AP350. It leverages Aerohive's top-end, three-stream wireless chip, which is capable of throughput rates up to 1.3 Gbps using 802.11ac. The AP390 has six RP-SMA antenna connections for external antennas and also is rated for operation in indoor environments where temperature is not easily controlled.
Outdoor external antenna APs
The Aerohive AP1130 (priced at $1,399) is a ruggedized AP for outdoor use that utilizes a dual-stream 802.11ac wireless chipset. This means it can provide up to 867 Mbps of wireless throughput. The unit has four N-Type connections for mounting of external, outdoor rated antennas.
Aerohive HiveManager options
Aerohive requires that you choose from one of three management plans based on its HiveManager network management software. Users can run the standard cloud-controlled HiveManager, the cloud-controlled HiveManager NG, or an instance of HiveManager on premises installed on a virtual machine. If you choose to operate an on-premises version of Aerohive HiveManager, you must work with a sales manager to get pricing. If you choose either the traditional Hive Manager or the newly released Hive Manager NG platform, licensing is $95 for a one-year license, $190 for a three-year license or $285 for a five-year license.
The longer the license, the more money the organization can save.
Like Meraki, Aerohive's product portfolio includes router/firewall and switch network hardware that can also be managed from the cloud. This is a great option for smaller sites that are managed remotely.
Learn how to defend your wireless APs
Learn more about moving between APs
Know what to look for when buying an AP
Prepare your network for the 802.11ac standard