Aerohive updates its 802.11n WLAN software

Aerohive release adds mobile device management, spectrum analysis

Aerohive Networks this week released new wireless LAN software, with new mobile device management and spectrum analysis features.

The changes are being rolled out in the version 4.0 release of HiveOS, for the company's 802.11n Wi-Fi access points, and of HiveManager, its network management applications. Aerohive, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is unique among WLAN vendors, creating intelligent access points that share information and functions usually done by separate wireless controllers.

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Aerohive is also offering a kind of "service provider" network, adding to capabilities based on its Pareto Networks acquisition announced early in 2011: a cloud offering that its resellers can use to demo, evaluate and deploy Aerohive access points to enterprise customers. Resellers can also use the cloud service to offer managed services to their own end-customers.

The 4.0 software release expands guess access capabilities, especially with regard to mobile devices with Wi-Fi radios, such as smartphones and tablets. Now, guests can use a Web browser and the HiveAP Web portal to register for Wi-Fi access, and receive Aerohive's unique pre-shared key.

At the same time, administrators now can set different rights for these guests, based on the type of device they're using, on information that the software collects from the Web session (via the HTML User Agent), from domain membership via new domain name support in the access point's built-in firewall, or from Microsoft Active Directory via a new interface to that directory.

Aerohive executives say the new features eliminate the need for separate stand-alone management applications, of which there are many including products from Good Technology, Mobile Iron, Sybase, Zenprise and other vendors. But many of those products offer features not found in the Aerohive software, including application and device provisioning features. 

Also new in the 4.0 version is built-in spectrum analysis, which some rival vendors limit to their high-end access points or offer for an additional charge. The Aerohive access points use Atheros' Wi-Fi chipset, which support spectrum monitoring on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, without the need for laptop-based software or separate Wi-Fi sensors. The software uses signatures to identify radio sources and device types, locating interference. The collected data is displayed graphically in a browser via HTML 5-based spectrographs.

Other features in the 4.0 release include:

- RADIUS support in the access points now can tie into college and university library information systems (LIS), adding a new set of criteria for Wi-Fi access based on library membership or overdue status.

- Individual radios in the HiveAP now can run as an access radio for clients and as a backhaul radio linking to other HiveAPs to form a mesh network.

- Access point firewalls now have policies to support VMware PCoIP and Citrix ICA desktop virtualization protocols.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Email: john_cox@nww.com

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