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Aerohive releases more flexible Wave 2 access points

Aerohive's latest Wave 2 access points are aimed at companies looking for higher speeds on existing Power over Ethernet infrastructure.

Aerohive Networks has released Wave 2 access points that do not require a company to upgrade its Power over Ethernet infrastructure to run them.

The Wave 2 access points (APs), called the AP250 and AP245X, operate in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum, and allow users to switch to dual 5 GHz mode to handle more wireless traffic. Doing so on existing 15-watt Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, rather than the 30-watt PoE+ standard required by other Wave 2 APs, means organizations can avoid expensive wiring upgrades.

That's an important benefit to Aerohive's customer base, which is dominated by educational institutions and retailers that may have older infrastructure installed.

The new APs also support Bluetooth Low Energy in dual 5 GHz mode. BLE is often used by retailers and airports to deliver location-based services to consumers' mobile devices.

In addition to the APs, Aerohive unveiled a cloud-based management tool, called the HiveManager NG, which supports up to 20,000 APs. The product also lets IT administrators perform security-related tasks.

Sales of Wave 2 access points expected to rise

Aerohive, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., joins other vendors, such as Cisco, Aruba and Ruckus, in releasing products that support the second wave of the latest wireless LAN standard, 802.11ac.

The products offer higher-speed connections -- up to 7 Gbps, rather than the 1.3 Gbps specified for Wave 1 APs. Wave 2 devices also have a new feature, called multi-user MIMO, or MU-MIMO -- a technology that lets an AP communicate with several mobile devices at the same time.

Companies have shied away from investing in Wave 2 devices to avoid having to make the expensive infrastructure upgrades needed to take full advantage of the technology. However, as demand for wireless network bandwidth increases, companies are expected to take the plunge.

The number of enterprise Wave 2 shipments is expected to grow from 90,000 last year to 1 million in 2017, according to research firm IHS, based in Englewood, Colo. Vendors shipped a total of 20 million APs in 2015.

"We're still very much in the beginning of this technology," said Matthias Machowinski, an analyst for IHS.

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