Aerohive’s Founder Weighs in on 500K controller-less AP shipment
We recently sat down with Aerohive co-founder and CTO, Changming Liu, to celebrate Aerohive’s shipment in November of its 500,000th enterprise AP and what that means for Aerohive and the industry overall.
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Q: What does shipping 500K enterprise-class APs mean to you personally and for Aerohive, and what does this say about the industry?
A: This is a huge milestone for Aerohive as a company, and I must say it feels pretty good for me personally as the co-founder. Looking back to 2007, the first year we started shipping product, we sold about 500 units. We’ve come a long way and the entire Aerohive team can be proud of our collective accomplishments. I am especially proud of the effort and hard work demonstrated these past few years by the people who have worked at Aerohive, who have contributed to the milestone we celebrate today.
Without a doubt, I am also proud Aerohive has changed the landscape of enterprise wireless technology, introducing a new controller-less architecture that is now well-proven and considered an advanced networking solution for a ‘mobile-first era’.
Q: What are the biggest changes in the market since founding Aerohive?
A: First, Wi-Fi access technology has undergone enormous changes. With a huge proliferation of wireless devices, as well as increased demand to run applications over Wi-Fi, it is hard to believe network connectivity has leaped from 54Mbps six years ago to 1.3Gbps today.
Second, Wi-Fi access has become more mission-critical than convenient, and more ubiquitous than sporadic. People expect Wi-Fi access wherever they are, from home, to work, to school and even in public venues like airports, shopping malls, cafes and airplanes.
Third, Wi-Fi has become the strategic choice for access within enterprises, and I believe will soon replace the wired Ethernet port. It is possible that many people born in this century will not know what an Ethernet port looks like.
Finally, increased mobility has dramatically changed how people work and communicate. People can access information anywhere and at any time. BYOD is a common thing today. Doctors and nurses access patient data almost instantly from tablet PCs via Wi-Fi. Classrooms are more productive and engaging. The service sector improves customer satisfaction by meeting demand quickly.
<== This is the very first "revenue" unit shipped Feb 13, 2007.
Q: How is Aerohive changing operations across business and organizations?
A: To many IT professionals, deploying Wi-Fi is always hard, or much harder than deploying a switch. We experienced the same during the earlier days of the company when we ran into lots of issues, such as client interoperability and RF interference during our QA testing. So, from very early on, we've been focusing on simplification of Wi-Fi deployment, starting from the architecture.
Without controllers, it’s possible to deploy APs from anywhere and use any number of them without worrying about the capacity, placement or budget requirements called for in controller-based environments. In 2009, we offered central network management as SaaS through the cloud, simplifying Wi-Fi deployment dramatically.
Aerohive has focused on simplicity in everything we build, such as Wi-Fi planners for the end user with built-in floor plan maps that sketch out the number of APs needed and preliminary placement for automatic network deployment.
Wi-Fi has moved beyond providing mere connectivity; it provides business intelligence and policy enforcement at the edge by knowing when, where, and what device and/or application a user is running. Businesses and organizations can enforce different policies like security or QoS on different devices or applications by location or by time, or by any combination of these factors. The policy is truly context sensitive for complete visibility and control.
Q: What have been some of your favorite ways Aerohive customers are using Wi-Fi?
A: There are too many to list.
However, one of my favorites recently has been applied in K-12 education. I visited a high school near Boston this past October that deployed Aerohive with Apple TV in 20 classrooms. I met their superintendent, IT director, and toured classrooms to talk with teachers; they all told me how Aerohive has changed the way the teachers teach and the way the students learn. Students are much more engaged and interactive with teachers, and have more innovative ways at their fingertips to explain concepts.
It’s these types of stories that demonstrate the changing landscape of enterprise wireless technology. Today’s milestone confirms the impact Aerohive will no doubt have in shaping future networking architecture standards.