It’s rare that we add a new product or service to our offerings. The reason has been simple; whatever it is we choose to do, we make sure we do it better than anyone else. Focusing on a few key products and services has allowed us to become experts at those things. It means that adding something new is a big decision for us. Over the years, we have supported wireless products from SonicWall and we made them work in some difficult environments. But most manufacturers that focus solely on wireless deliver advanced features that have become more important in modern networks. This year, we decided to make wireless a focus for our offerings. Part of the reason is the increased demand, but the other was the increasing complexity of the products available along with the need for greater security. We now sell and support wireless solutions from Aerohive Networks. You might wonder how we arrived at that decision. There are surely many choices such as Meraki, Ubiquiti, Aruba Networks, etc. and they all provide good to excellent features and performance. But some brand had to win the beauty contest for best wireless solution from Cerdant and so it was with Aerohive.
There are several key features that we like about Aerohive including the following:
If you had to pick the most important attributes that customers want from a wireless solution, reliability and speed rise to the top. Wireless is to no one’s surprise, a radio signal and therefore it takes a physical path through objects that you may have no control over. Radio waves bump into materials and structures that impact the delivery of data. They also bump into other radio waves from other wireless networks or electronic devices causing interference.
If you’re like many of our customers, you discover the peril of wireless by experience. You can’t connect in certain parts of the office or maybe the signal is there, but the rate of transmission is slow or broken. If you have multiple access points and one of them fails, your only indicator just might be a worsening experience. And finally, having a good wireless solution doesn’t guarantee success. There are dozens of wireless protocols from the past 20 years that render some devices unable to connect with current technology. Connecting a device to a wireless network is like a dance. Both sides need to know how to do it. It’s not enough to have a powerful wireless network if that HP laptop you bought 8 years ago doesn’t seem to want to connect.
Aerohive Wi-Fi solutions solve many of the performance challenges inherent to wireless through their innovative Cooperative Control protocol. Among many other things, this protocol creates a self-reliant environment by adjusting settings automatically to adapt to its surroundings. If you have more than one access point, those APs share information with each other about connections, signal strength, devices etc….in other words, they form a “hive”.
The APs use that information to provide a smooth handoff for roaming, to provide efficient channel selection, to adjust signal strength and to determine the best AP for any given device to connect to. Unlike most solutions, this is done automatically without any adjustments to the devices themselves. In turn, this ensures the best wireless experience possible, all the time.
The days of having a wireless controller on-site are slowly ending. It’s just one more piece of hardware that could fail and render your network unusable. And when new features are introduced a hardware-based controller must be upgraded. Aerohive allows you to control all your devices in all your locations from their centralized management portal, HiveManager. At the same time, the configuration resides in the individual access points so that if a connection to the Internet fails, all your Aerohive devices continue to operate as they did before. Through the HiveManager portal, you can drill down and view the performance and statistics of every device connected to your wireless network. This is incredibly valuable for troubleshooting if everything isn’t performing optimally.
Wireless networks have become as secure if not more secure than wired networks. With modern encryption methods, it’s nearly impossible to hack into a wireless network that has been properly configured. But there are two key challenges to securing wireless networks that Aerohive does best. First, even if you use an encryption key to protect your internal network, there’s a good chance that some employee will leave who has that key. In the past, you may have had to change the key for everyone else. Aerohive solves this problem by allowing you to designate a device specific key, or Private Pre-Shared Key, so that if the device is lost or the employee leaves, that key can be disabled, and access would be denied from that point forward. In addition, Aerohive has several solutions for guests or visitors that allow you to build a network that cannot compromise your trusted corporate network.
In spite of all the performance enhancements that Aerohive provides, it may still be necessary to determine why performance isn’t where it should be. Often this is the result of conditions beyond the control of the wireless APs themselves. There could be significant interference or users may be using up all of the available wireless spectrum with applications that may not be business related.
Aerohive’s advanced reporting allows you to look at the activity and see errors and utilization either on a real-time basis or historically. It also allows you to examine the activity of individual devices and to identify whether non-business usage of the network (Netflix, YouTube) etc. are impacting the network. Armed with this information, you can use Aerohive’s suite of bandwidth management tools to adjust usage to meet the business needs.
Just as important as the right technology is the right deployment and support. We invested in training and tools that enable our team to design an optimal wireless network that will deliver the performance that you need and we back it up with our world-class support so that you don’t have to become an expert in yet another technology. You don’t have to know the difference between 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac, ax or Wave 2. We’ll be the experts and we’ll do the work and we’ll do it better than anyone else.