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Dell, Aerohive partner in WLAN infrastructure management

Partners Dell and Aerohive have collaborated on software for managing WLAN infrastructure hardware, including switches and access points.

Dell and Aerohive have developed a single cloud-based console for managing the wired and wireless infrastructure of a corporate Wi-Fi network. The announcement is the latest in an industry trend toward developing unified management tools for the wireless LAN.

The companies announced this week a cobranded version of Aerohive's HiveManager Next Generation (NG), which would monitor and configure the WLAN infrastructure vendor's access points (APs) and Dell's N Series wired edge switches. Customers have the choice of accessing the software online or deploying it in their data centers.

HiveManager NG is best-suited for small and medium-sized enterprises. The software monitors users and connections on the network and gathers data that's used to troubleshoot problems. The latest version also provides policy management and port status for the Dell switches.

Trend in managing WLAN infrastructure

The new product is in-line with what Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise provide with their Meraki and Aruba access points, respectively. The vendors offer the option of using a cloud-based console to manage their respective switches and APs.

All the above products do not extend to third-party hardware. The closed systems have given startups a niche in the WLAN infrastructure market. Nyansa, for example, sells cloud-based tools for monitoring and troubleshooting WLANs with multivendor APs and switches. Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and Boston-based Suffolk University use Nyansa in Wi-Fi networks that span 2,000 and 1,200 APs, respectively.

Broader in capabilities, the Dell and Aerohive software benefits joint customers, who will no longer need to run separate WLAN infrastructure management tools. The product also has pluses for each of the vendors.

Aerohive gets to piggyback on Dell's wider reach in the enterprise market, while the hardware maker adds a product to round out its networking portfolio, said Nolan Greene, an analyst at IDC. Overall, Dell becomes "a more serious player on the campus side of enterprise networking."

Dell leaving Aruba behind

Also, partnering more closely with Aerohive distances Dell further from Aruba, which rival Hewlett-Packard acquired last year. Dell, which has been a reseller of Aruba wireless hardware since 2010, is gradually building "an exit strategy" from the Aruba partnership, Greene said.

Dell signed a deal to resell Aerohive Wi-Fi products shortly after HP announced its $2.7 billion acquisition of Aruba. Since then, HP has split into two companies. HPE sells hardware and software to enterprises, while HP Inc. runs the former company's printing and personal computer businesses.

Next Steps

Troubleshooting WLAN connections

Finding a cloud-based WLAN management product that's right for you

Choosing a WLAN vendor for your organization

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