Aerohive SD-WAN solution simplifies management of multi networks

With Aerohive's SD-WAN solution, customers now have a single console for managing wired networks, Wi-Fi and the enterprise WAN.

Aerohive SD-WAN solution simplifies management of multi networks
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Most people think of Aerohive Networks as a Wi-Fi vendor, which makes sense given most of the company’s revenue comes from selling wireless access points into businesses. In actuality, Aerohive is a cloud management vendor that has applied its expertise in that area to wireless LANs. About year ago, the company introduced its software-defined LAN (SD-LAN) solution that includes wireless APs and wired switches, enabling its customers to manage the entire campus network from the cloud.

This week, Aerohive extended its reach into the WAN with the release of its SD-WAN solution that can be managed through HiveManager, the same cloud management tool used for its SD-LAN products, giving customers a single console for managing the WAN, wired network and wireless APs.

In addition to HiveManager, there are two other components to Aerohive’s SD-WAN solution. The first is its new XR200P Router, which is a small appliance with two WAN ports, two PoE ports, four 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN ports, as well as a console and USB port with support for LTE. The other is a virtualized VPN gateway appliance that has the same SD-WAN features and is designed for locations where the customer wants to keep its router.

aerohive sdwan Aerohive Networks

SD-WAN features in Aerohive's new router and gateway

The router and gateway are outfitted with the following SD-WAN features:

  • Application optimization. Aerohive continually monitors application performance and can dynamically adjust traffic flows based on application importance or pre-defined bandwidth requirements. It can also direct important traffic, such as mission-critical apps to the company's headquarters or data center over a VPN, with the highest priority and send SaaS apps directly to the branch from the cloud. This ensures the best performance for all apps regardless of whether they are in the cloud or on premises.
  • Always-on connectivity. The solution constantly gathers network information, such as packet loss, jitter, latency and throughput, and can automatically remediate traffic flows to eliminate downtime. The two WAN ports, plus LTE, give customers flexibility in how they want to use the links. For example, the two WAN ports could be put in an active-active mode with LTE as a backup, or all three could be configured active-active-active.
  • Network policies. Aerohive built a stateful firewall into the product, as well as contextual traffic profiling. Forwarding policies can be defined on a per user, operating system, MAC address, location or even time schedule basis. Network administrators can set up a wide range of usage policies that can be enforced at all locations but administered in the cloud.
  • Automate provisioning. One important consideration for SD-WANs should be zero-touch provisioning that enables the hardware to be configured without having someone on premises. Aerohive’s endpoints are automatically discovered and provisioned with HiveManager.
  • Unified management. This is Aerohive’s biggest differentiator, as only one other SD-WAN vendor, Meraki, has has a solution to manage wired LAN, WAN and Wi-Fi through a single console. And I don’t believe Meraki has a virtual gateway. With the rise of the cloud, the lines between the LAN and WAN are being blurred, so policies need to be consistent across these. 

Aerohive is certainly late the SD-WAN party, but the market is still in its infancy so there is time to catch up. The company has always prided itself on having a solution that is dead simple to set up and even simpler to operate, and now its customers can enjoy these benefits across the WAN. One final note: Although pricing hasn’t been finalized, the XR200P is expected to list at under $700.

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