Anyone have experience with Aerohive APs?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by MrEgo, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. MrEgo

    MrEgo Senior member

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    If so, what do you think? We are considering rolling them out for a school district, and we would require about 250 access points for the entire district. They are all "smart" APs, and they don't require a controller.

    We're also considering Cisco APs... does anyone have any personal experience with the deployment and implementation with either one?
     
  2. RadiclDreamer

    RadiclDreamer Diamond Member

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    I have done deployments with Cisco. I currently run a network with just shy of 300 APS. What are you questions/concerns regarding the cisco ones?
     
  3. MrEgo

    MrEgo Senior member

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    Have you had any issues with it? I'm inheriting an HP implementation, and we've had nothing but problems with it. The controller doesn't appear to be doing it's job. There is interference everywhere. Channels are overlapping with adjacent rooms. We reboot the controller, and half of the district's access points stop talking to the controller, and they need to be rebooted.

    I'm also concerned about density, not necessarily coverage. We're going to have about 30 devices (or more) per class, and the classes are wall-to-wall.

    Do you support your own APs or do you have a third party manage it?
     
  4. RadiclDreamer

    RadiclDreamer Diamond Member

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    We own and support both the controller and the access points. I've found they do an excellent job with no real complaints. You can absolutely run that many devices, however most vendors recommend under 15 especially if you want a voice grade network.

    We have a 6504 with WiSM bundle but the WiSM2 is out and has some pretty nice new features. The AP we use are the 1142 and they are lightweight meaning they get plugged in and then configure themselves based on templates you have created. I highly recommend WCS software as an add on to this which gives you some great management and tracking features.

    Let me know if there is something specific you are looking for.
     
  5. spidey07

    spidey07 No Lifer

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    Right now, Cisco and Aruba own this space and you really should only be looking at those two. Both are excellent solution, Cisco is a little pricier buy has some powerful features.

    Send out an RFP to both of them and they'll jump to beat each others prices/solutions. There's a LOT coming from cisco on wireless, but I can't say anymore (NDA).

    As far as reliability - they are both rock solid, never an issue and I've done designs with 1000s of APs. New cisco code will have 1 second controller failover. Plus they've redone their licensing so you don't have put purchase a 500 AP license for each controller in a redundant pair - only a single 500 AP license. Saves a TON of money. Cisco's NCS management platform is top notch.
     
    #5 spidey07, Nov 14, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  6. MrEgo

    MrEgo Senior member

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    Spidey - how new is the Aironet 1600, 2600, and 3600 series APs? I don't recall seeing them not that long ago. Also, can you explain in simple terms what 3x3 MIMO means, and what the benefits of having two versus three spatial streams are?

    I did notice that Cisco changed their licensing model for the controllers. That's very nice, but way overdue. Would you recommend having redundant controllers, or is that overkill?
     
  7. spidey07

    spidey07 No Lifer

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    Any network I build is completely redundant, so yes on two controllers.

    The 3600s are really nice, put in a few thousand this year. Cisco was getting slammed by Aruba because they didn't have a 4x4 AP. 4x4 MIMO just means more spatial streams = more speed. There is a difference in CleanAir on the 1600s, they are more "clearair lite" and don't have all the goodies. I only recommend 3600s unless budget is super tight, but the expansion module in the 3600 is worth it.
     
  8. MrEgo

    MrEgo Senior member

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    What kind of price points are you getting for the 3600s? I'm waiting on a few people from Cisco to call me back about EDU discounts, but what's the price disparity between the 1600s and the 3600s? I see on Cisco's site, they strongly recommend 2600s and 3600s in high-density areas.
     
  9. wifiguy

    wifiguy Junior Member

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    Ruckus Wireless also has good technology for high density in schools, and they seem to be growing and gaining adoption by schools. Their antennas give them a unique advantage with density.
     
  10. Awol_nc

    Awol_nc Junior Member

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    We implemented an Aerohive solution this summer in our district. 1200 AP's across 28 different subnets. These units are great. We spent about 2 years investigating different options, and the biggest deciding factor was the fact that we would not need to have any controllers. All of the control was done at the AP. We were struggling with the thought of how much overhead the controller traffic was going to add to our network, and then we found this solution. In conversations with our Cisco rep (we are a Cisco shop for the rest of our switch gear), he said that Cisco was about 24 - 36 months away from implementing a similar type of system that does not require controllers. The Aerohive engineers were extremely helpful in getting us some demo gear, and helping us get it configured to our specific needs for testing. We are averaging about 3000 wireless devices connected at any given time, mainly iPads and Macbooks.
     
  11. quicky2g

    quicky2g Junior Member

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    I used to work in the NOC for a very large 80+ multi-site retail company that used Cisco 4400 WLC's. I can't remember the flavor of AP's. They worked fairly well, but had a few problems. They only had 1 controller at each site and failover was to another controller in the data center...over the MPLS cloud. Not a great design. A 2nd controller at each site probably would've been better. They often had AP's get saturated with 35 or 40 devices and performance degraded. The company tried to get Cisco wireless IP handsets working and it failed miserably. A Cisco wireless engineer worked on the issue and it was still a disaster. Roaming and audio quality in particular were a big issue. Last I knew, they abandoned Cisco wireless IP voice and used 900MHz Spectralink phones tied into the Cisco IP voice system. I'm not a Cisco wireless expert so I'm guessing there could've been a better design/setup to resolve some if not most of the issues.

    I work for a different company now that uses Aerohive. I'm in charge of configuration and some of the deployment. We bought a pile of Aerohive gear for 15+ sites and we're replacing very old Cisco autonomous AP's with Aerohive. HiveManager has been very easy to centrally manage and monitor AP's for all the sites. We use a virtual appliance in our data center instead of their cloud HiveManager Online. I completely nuked the virtual appliance when I was trying to use some beta software. The AP's, RADIUS authentication, and everything else just kept running normally until I fixed it. The AP's don't depend on the virtual appliance at all. It's just for config pushes and monitoring. The monitoring isn't too shabby, but I'm a network engineer so I always think everyone's monitoring interface sucks.

    I love the single interface for creating policies. The radio profiles give tons of options for load balancing clients between AP's, band steering, channel bonding, etc. With the help of Aerohive support we're running Microsoft Lync successfully over Aerohive. I can make a WiFi audio or video call with the new Lync 2013 mobile client and roam around our offices without losing audio/video. We have BYOD policies restricting internal network access. We also have guest access using their PPSK (Private Pre-Shared Key) solution. A single blanket PSK for a guest network is a bad security practice...users could decrypt eachothers traffic. Each client should have a different PSK. I love that the Aerohive solution can do that without heavy handed configuration. Multiple people at each office have access to the User Manager to create 1 day or 5 day PPSK's for guest access.

    The local switching feature is nice with Aerohive. No more tunneling traffic back to a controller with bandwidth limitations and a single or dual point of failure. The only point of failure should be the AP...end of story. Cisco stuff can do HREAP to make a controller managed AP switch traffic locally but you lose roaming and authentication functionality with HREAP...it's listed right in their documentation:

    http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps10315/products_tech_note09186a0080736123.shtml

    We also use the branch routers for VPN. Someone plugs in a BR100 or BR200 at home and can connect to a wired port or a wireless SSID and get an automatic VPN connection. Regular internet traffic doesn't go over the VPN with split tunnel routing. No more VPN software on PC's or phones. We have a few people that even use a 4G card instead of plugging in the router at home.

    Aerohive support is great. Level 1 is out of Chicago and Level 2 out of California so I can actually understand what they're saying. I wish Cisco would stop outsourcing support to India. Most of the Cisco people out of India I've talked to seem fairly smart, but the accent is hard to get past.

    For a school environment, take a look at Aerohive's TeacherView solution:

    http://www.aerohive.com/products/applications/teacherview

    It's included for free. I'm not aware of other wireless vendors that can do what TeacherView does without paying extra for a 3rd party solution. Aerohive seems to have alot of features packed into one product that you can't really get from the other guys without buying 3rd party stuff. Best of luck in your search!