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WLAN Entrant Aerohive Gets Cash, Makes Progress

Although venture capital funding announcements don't excite the average network administrator, it does provide some kind of indication that a vendor is moving along the right path. According to Aerohive CEO David Flynn, a contributing factor to the success of this $20M Series B round was because investors wanted a larger stake in the company. The money will be used to fund sales and marketing initiatives. Aerohive launched their company this spring and won Best of Interop for Best Startup (product started shipping shortly thereafter).

Aerohive's controller-less design is based on self-organizing and self-healing hives that communicate with each other to share state and manage the control plane. A separate Hive Manager appliance is used to manage the appliance, but it's not a choke point as the data traffic is locally switched onto the network. The initial software release missed features such a layer 3 roaming, but an update will be coming out shortly that addresses at some of the "1.0" deficiencies. "Some of our customers say that we even have more features than our competitors", commented Flynn, in reference to the emphases that Aerohive has placed on QoS and resiliency.

That said, Aerohive is still in its infancy and has yet to build out the partnerships that other enterprise WLAN vendors have formed to create their own Wi-Fi ecosystem, such as site planning and post-install surveying, locationing, and wireless IDS/IPS. Vice President of Product Management Adam Conway stated that some announcements in this area will likely trickle out later in the year, with a more complete list by March of 2008. Aerohive already has a relationship with Microsoft for NAC. Aerohive officials would not share details regarding IEEE 802.11n Draft 2.0 support, but they
acknowledged it something they are working on.

In spite of missing some features and the partnerships that more mature products and vendors offer and entering the enterprise Wi-Fi market so late in the game, Aerohive claims that their architecture is so compelling that even if the customer prospect perceives that they have 90% of the features of the other guy's product, people are willing to try them out. While these four months has given Aerohive only enough time to participate in trials and pilots, Flynn shared that there has been more interest from the Fortune 500's than he could have had hoped for.

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