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Aerohive helps manage mobile devices and Wi-Fi infrastructure together

Aerohive adds the ability to manage mobile devices to its Wi-Fi management platform, combining mobile device management and network management.

Aerohive Networks has released a cloud-based mobility management suite that allows IT organizations to manage mobile devices and applications through its wired and wireless network management platform.

IT teams have historically relied on third-party mobile device management (MDM) software, which left a gap between device management and wired and wireless infrastructure management. By combining both Wi-Fi and mobility management onto one console, Aerohive claims it gives IT organizations increased visibility and control over their own environments. They can also onboard new devices and users faster.

"This functional consolidation is something that end users are demanding -- they don't want to go to several different vendors that offer overlapping functionality to assemble a mobility solution," said Craig Mathias, principal at the Ashland, Mass.-based advisory firm Farpoint Group. "Aerohive's mobility suite is helping to fulfill this need."

Manage mobile devices and Wi-Fi together

Aerohive's Mobility Suite simplifies enterprise networking and allows IT teams to control different classes of users -- from guest users who may require only basic Internet access, to employees who need tightly controlled access to corporate applications, Aerohive said. IT administrators will be able to personalize the mobile experience for users with different policies, based on the user profile and device, said Abby Strong, senior product marketing manager for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Aerohive.

The mobility suite includes two new cloud-based applications -- the Client Management app and the ID Manager app. Client Management is a device control app that provisions network access for devices based on device credentials to ensure the security of enterprise data. "Some organizations are buying thousands of devices at once -- like for one-to-one programs within education … and customers are really struggling with managing all the different users, devices and applications. The Client Management app simplifies that onboarding experience and allows IT to easily implement device restrictions and controls," Strong said. The Client Management app displays data in Aerohive's management console -- HiveManager -- for simple monitoring and reporting, she said.

More on managing mobile devices:

Ensuring mobile security through a MDM strategy

MDM vs. mobile application management

Integrating mobile application, device management

ID Manager gives users a self-service portal for guest or visitor registration. "This app is perfect for a conference or board [meeting] with guests coming in for only a few days, needing temporary access to the network," she said.

Some enterprises need deeper control over their corporate data and devices. Aerohive has also announced expanded partner application programming interface support with MDM vendors AirWatch and JAMF Software. The deeper integrations between Aerohive and its MDM partners will allow IT to enroll devices with MDM profiles onto their networks. The tighter MDM partner integration is now available as a free upgrade to existing customers with the latest release of Aerohive's HiveOS 6.0, Aerohive said.

Chesterfield County Public Schools in Richmond, Va. uses Areohive for its wireless infrastructure across its 62 K-12 schools and five administrative buildings. The county is in the process of increasing its Wi-Fi density to accommodate a one-to-one Chromebook program for its 12 middle schools and 12 high schools, said Adam Seldow, executive director of technology for Chesterfield County Public Schools.

Seldow and his team can easily push out wireless settings to the students' Chromebooks once the device is connected to the Internet; they have struggled with getting multiple devices online in the first place. "We tried MDM using a few different vendors, but there are still challenges with bringing any device onto a secure network -- particularly when you want to make that experience as easy as possible, or use the least amount of technicians as possible," Seldow said.

 The school district is beta testing Aerohive's device onboarding features within the mobility suite, and plans to roll the technology into production this summer. "We have to have a way to connect a student to the wireless network that is simple and 100% effective. Aerohive's technology will help us join the Chromebooks to our wireless network securely, prior to retrieving its setting from the Google cloud," he said.

Combining wired and wireless, mobile device management

With the new mobility suite, IT will be able to manage mobile devices together with Aerohive's Cooperative Control wireless access points and third-party wired infrastructure from the same user interface -- the Aerohive HiveManager, Strong said.

"One of the advantages of having mobility management at the wireless layer is that this will help enterprises better entertain BYOD [bring your own device] without having to buy a third-party product to handle," Chesterfield County Public Schools' Seldow said.

Aerohive's mobility management suite isn't complete yet, but the vendor is headed in the right direction, Mathias said. "A complete mobility solution requires device, application, content or information management, as well as expense, policy and identity management. Aerohive has many of those elements, but not all of them yet," he said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writer and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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