The technology landscape has dramatically changed in the last decade with the rise of mobility. Offices, schools, stores, hospitals, our homes, all not so long ago had very limited sources of technology, utilizing basic computers and networking. Now it’s near impossible to find an object that doesn’t have a chip embedded somewhere. Smart watches, cars, homes… did you know you can even get Wi-Fi enabled Barbie now? Everything seems to be ‘smart’ now, but are we making smart decisions when it comes to the underpinning network infrastructure?
We all know those two famous, polar opposite expressions ‘nobody ever got fired for buying Cisco’ and ‘anything but Cisco (ABC)’. I always think it somewhat unfair to ask people which camp they sit in, mainly because you can’t deny Cisco’s foundations, contributions, and success in networking, but with the wider adoption of technology in the home and office in recent years, Cisco isn’t able to dominate and innovate in every area, which has lead many organizations to move to an increasingly open stance on technology providers. Now every sector is benefiting from tech advances from new and established players alike, just look at innovations from people such as Palo Alto in the security market or Aerohive in the enterprise Wi-Fi space.
Keep Connected and Carry On
Today we expect secure Wi-Fi connectivity to be as readily available as electricity from an outlet. With 98% of organizations citing mobility as important to critical for their productivity, it’s clear that solid supporting infrastructure must be in place. Imagine the revolt if your staff, customers, students, or patients couldn’t send their email, login to your systems, do an online presentation, or watch a funny cat video, because of poor connectivity. We all know that feeling of going connectivity cold turkey!
The Evolution of Wi-Fi
Aerohive recognized a decade ago that the WLAN market needed a makeover, introducing the concept of distributed control, the notion of placing the intelligence aka the control plane, into the access points themselves rather than in a centralized controller. Why? Because controllers are scale limited, require +1 redundancy, and can act as a data bottleneck. Distributed control eliminates the need for dedicated controllers, and instead utilizes protocols that enable wireless access points to share the control plane and communicate with their neighbours (basically the same proven principle as routing and switching). This approach has given tens of thousands of organizations increased speed, security, and scale.
Reducing Network Complexity
Having a reliable platform for connectivity is only part of the solution. Once the foundations are in place, a successful WLAN deployment needs to be simple to manage and support. Aerohive’s enterprise public and private cloud networking provides simplified management of thousands of access layer devices from a single location to reduce WLAN cost and complexity. Additionally, innovative security methods such as Private Pre-Shared Key help administrators to deal with the growing number of mobile devices flooding the network, with a simple yet secure authentication method.
Value Beyond Connectivity
How do you measure the performance of Wi-Fi today? Is it with speeds and feeds, or value beyond connectivity? We once assessed solutions based around speeds and feeds and TCO, however, with the growing potential of cloud-enabled Wi-Fi solutions, more organizations are viewing Wi-Fi from an ROI perspective. Aerohive uses the cloud in two ways, firstly to simplify network management, and secondly to enable the creation of an open mobility platform for customized business and IT applications. For customers, you can now leverage your network for more than just connectivity, it can be a rich source of insights, and a vehicle to increase business intelligence and deliver new forms of engagement with your people. This is the next wave of Wi-Fi.
Choice and Flexibility
As I mentioned at the start, I believe nobody should live in an 'all or nothing' Cisco world. I believe in picking the right solution for the right task. There are some incredibly exciting shifts in the technology market place today and Cisco has strong capabilities in some areas, and not so much in others. Enterprise Wi-Fi solutions are changing yearly, and you should evaluate solutions based on your challenges you are trying to solve, and also on the new opportunities that Wi-Fi vendors can offer you.
Nobody ever got fired for driving their organization forward.