Ah, this crazy wireless world we live in. It’s easy to forget that 802.11ac is still not “really” a standard, although we’re getting very close. It’s also easy to get sparkly-eyed by the 11ac products available now, despite the fact that with the new standard’s promised weird and protracted “wave” planned evolution, 11ac in a couple of years will likely feature many a new AP. But.. let’s talk about the here and now, because we’re here- and it’s now.
Since Ubiquiti announced their 11ac offering in April of this year, many of us have watched as different WLAN vendors have pitched their new 11ac products (and accompanying back stories). There was Motorola, Meraki, Meru, Cisco, and Aruba. And then there are the not-yet-to announce, like Ruckus, Juniper, and until today, Aerohive.
Aerohive brings two new APs to the 11ac market, and No Jitter does a nice introduction of the AP-370 (internal antennas) and AP-390 (external antennas) along with Aerohive’s take on how the new units fit into a smooth, take-your-time-and-don’t-fret-it migration plan to full 11ac deployment. Aerohive’s entry into the 11ac market does two things: it both pushes the message of early 11ac adoption but in a less aggressive way than some competitors are going about it, and further delivers the truth that cloud-based networking is both viable and capable of evolving with new WLAN standards. This second point gets some added umph when you consider that Aerohive announced their 11ac APs on the same day that Aruba Networks announced it’s own maiden voyage into cloudy WLAN. (It certainly smells like the WLAN industry is marching towards both faster WLAN and a welcome de-emphasis of controllers, says I.)
It’s a bit curious that Aerohive took so long to let their 11ac cat out of the bag (though I confess to getting a sneak look at the AP-370 under NDA at Wireless Field Day 5) given that Matthew Gast is is both Aerohive’s Director of Product Management and the author of the current Bible du Jur on 11ac. Many of us have come to personally associate 11ac with Matthew because of his book, his excellent presentations on 11ac, and his willingness to talk with anybody who reaches out to him via social media. (If you think about it, this really isn’t fair to Matthew, the IEEE, Aerohive, or even ourselves!)
For what it’s worth, Matthew’s fellow cloud/11ac evangelists Devin Akin and Andrew Von Nagy recently left Aerohive, and both went to AirTight Networks (yet another cloud WLAN company)- who have yet to announce their own 11ac product.