Aerohive makes Connect available across its entire product line

Aerohive makes Connect available across Its entire product line

Earlier this year Aerohive rolled out Connect, which is a low-cost offering it wanted to use to disrupt the incumbent vendors. Connect is basic WiFi connectivity that is managed through Aerohive’s cloud portal. Customers that want more advanced features can upgrade to Select at a later date and unlock all of the other configuration parameters. Given Aerohive’s relatively small size compared to Cisco and HPE/Aruba, an aggressive strategy like this certainly made sense.

Customers that choose the Connect solution can start with an access point with a price as low as $229. It’s important to note that despite the price, these are full feature, business grade access points that have the same set of functions as ones that are two to three times the price. If all the customer wants is connectivity, then that initial price is all that they will ever pay.

Connect is a simplified version of Aerohive’s HiveManager NG cloud management platform and is optimized for businesses that use WiFi for basic connectivity. WiFi hotspots, hotels and many small businesses will find this appealing. Connect also provides some basic configuration, troubleshooting and unified monitoring tools for wired and wireless networks. There are no subscriptions or renewals with Connect. Customers pay the low price and connect immediately.

Businesses that need a richer set of capabilities can upgrade to Aerohive Select and will have instant access to a number of advanced features such as visibility, security and more in depth troubleshooting tools. Select is also available as an on-premises solution for customers that want to deployment the management tool on their site.

The Connect program appears to have been a smashing success for Aerohive. Many WiFI buyers are interested in Connect because of the price but quickly find they need the broader set of features and pay up for Select. The low price opened the door and then the quality of product and ease of management with HiveManager NG closed the deal, even at the Select price.

From an Aerohive perspective, the rollout of Connect was so successful that it has now extended it to all of its products. With the initial release, the customer had a choice of two access points – the AP 122 and AP130, both considered entry-level products. Now the entire wireless access point and wired switch portfolio are available with a Connect option. As was the case with the Connect initially, Aerohive has dropped the price of all the products in its portfolio with the biggest drop in price being the SR2348P 48 port Ethernet switch that was reduced by a whopping $600 to $3,179. All the other products saw a price reduction in the $200-to-$400 range.

As part of the shift in strategy, the monthly subscription price of Select is actually a bit higher than the old pricing model but if one does a blended total cost of ownership that includes the access point and subscription cost for three years or more, the net result is a net price reduction of about 10%.

I’ve long felt the quality of Aerohive’s products are far better than its market share indicates but it is tough to gain share in a market with well established players with a price that is in the ballpark of the incumbents. The company has always had a lower price than the market leaders but it wasn’t so low that buyers would give them a shot. The new Connect pricing is low enough that it should open more doors at more companies, particularly in the Ruckus install base as Brocade goes through a sale to Broadcom and then spins Ruckus out post sale creating an elongated period of uncertainty.

In the book “The Success Genome Unravelled”, the author Agona Apell stated “Fortune crowns the bold before the unworthy”. For Aerohive, Connect was certainly bold and based on the initial rollout, the aggressive move should lead to more success.

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