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Aerohive pushes branch networks to cloud

Stephen Lawson | Nov. 16, 2011
Aerohive Networks intends to put branch offices' networks in the cloud for a monthly fee starting at US$99.

Aerohive Networks intends to put branch offices' networks in the cloud for a monthly fee starting at US$99.

On Tuesday, the company introduced a product that combines Aerohive's wireless LAN gear and network management software with cloud technology it acquired by buying Pareto Networks in January. The end product is designed to be a secure, enterprise-class network that can be set up and managed with virtually no effort by at-home workers or branch employees.

The product, called Branch on Demand, has roots in Aerohive's wireless LAN management system but takes the company beyond Wi-Fi into complete branch networks. With it, enterprises can send routers out to branch offices and telecommuters' homes and automatically upload a consistent set of policies to them as soon as they're plugged in, said Joel Vincent, director of product marketing.

Once the remote router has those policies, it can operate autonomously if it needs to, a capability that competitors' products don't have, Vincent said. But Branch on Demand is intended to be a "network as a service," with regular reporting from the branch to the cloud-based management system and the ability to send updates.

Customers can also add cloud-based security services, specifically Websense and Barracuda, to strengthen their branch network capabilities, Vincent said. They also can deploy Aerohive's Cloud VPN Gateway, a centrally located appliance, to provide VPN (virtual private network) connections at branches. The gateway is available for $450 per year, per box.

Enterprises will be able to send a router out to remote workers, let them follow simple instructions to plug it in, and monitor and manage the device from then on, Vincent said. Leveraging capabilities in the cloud, the router can become a network with effectively the same features as a full enterprise LAN, according to Aerohive. The enterprise doesn't have to own any hardware at the branch, though it can purchase the router instead of renting it, Vincent said.

Branch on Demand incorporates technology that originated with Pareto Networks' cloud-based router/VPN service. Aerohive had said it would start selling those features in the second quarter of this year, but it then decided to integrate them more seamlessly into Aerohive's own technology, which took more time, Vincent said. The management software and user interfaces are consistent across all features of the product now, he said.

Aerohive is introducing two branch routers to use with the service. The BR100 will have five Fast Ethernet ports, IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi on the 2.4GHz band and a USB port for adding 3G or 4G wireless backhaul. The BR200 will have five Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual-band Wi-Fi, USB and other added features. The BR100 will be available in the middle of next month and can be used with the $99-per-month service. The BR200 will ship in early 2012, according to Aerohive.

 

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