Aerohive announces IoT security solution, and new top of the line access point

The IoT announcement at this point is more strategy than solutions, with most of the product still to come. On the other hand, the AP550 access point, a top of the line product, is available today.


The Aerohive AP550

Milpitas CA-based mobility network vendor Aerohive Networks has made a pair of significant announcements. First, it has leveraged its SD-LAN technology to produce an Internet of Things (IoT) security solution for Wi-Fi and wired networks. In addition, today Aerohive is announcing the AP550, which becomes the top of the line model in its cloud-managed access point portfolio.

“Aerohive is a wi-fi company, but one which comes from a security background,” said Matt Edwards, senior product marketing manager at Aerohive. “Many founding members came from Netscreen, a next-gen firewall company acquired by Juniper. So our wi-fi development was always heavily focused on security.”

The key thing in the IoT solution is a technology called Software Defined Private Pre-Shared Key (PPSK), that is used to restrict network access to specific known and authenticated devices. While it is not a brand new technology, Edwards said it is ideally suited to the IoT environment.

“In the enterprise environment, radius space security has become more common, with two levels of encryption,” Edwards said. “A Windows name and password are both typically used to authenticate a laptop. The challenge for IoT is that this type can be cumbersome to set up on certain devices, and may be overkill on some guest devices. Many IoT devices may not even support radius space security to begin with. So then, security goes back to what we use at home – a preshared key. At home, that’s fine. It’s still authenticated and encrypted. But it’s not uniquely identifying you like radius does.”

Edwards said that the private pre-shared key has the advantages of both systems.

“Preshared key is easy, while radius is better, but more complex to set up,” he said. “Private pre-shared key sets in the middle, allowing each device to have its own unique password, anchored around user profiles, which unlocks context based access.” No specialized client configuration is required, and software defined private pre-shared keys can be used for IoT devices that don’t support 802.1X at all.

“Secured access to the network, while simplifying the approach, is the key for IoT, and this does that.” Edwards said. “It allows for strong security without unnecessary complexity.”

At this point in time, Aerohive is announcing one application with this technology, Kiosk, which it had released into beta earlier.

“The Kiosk application brings to the surface low-level capabilities we have had, in the weeds, for years,” Edwards said. “It’s focused on guest devices, lets guests register themselves and automatically provisions your device with secure credentials.”

Some additional applications will be coming next year, but which can’t be disclosed at this point.

Aerohive can, however, disclose its second announcement, the AP550, which is the latest addition to what they call their Software Defined LAN portfolio of cloud-managed adaptable access layer infrastructure. Aerohive uses the SD-LAN term to refer to the extension of software-defined technology into the access layer of switches and APs to create a programmable networking environment. Aerohive sees this as a more adaptable, secure, and cost-effective approach to wireless and wired access networks than the much more common SD-WAN.

The AP550 is a 4×4 MIMO, Dual Radio Wave 2 Access Point that is performance optimized for high-density, high-capacity environments. It enables the ability to future-proof an organization’s network for IoT applications, BYOD and high-bandwidth applications. It also has new enterprise-grade features such as MACsec, Air-IQ, and Zero Wait DFS. . Its software-selectable radios maximize customers’ return on investment by allowing administrators to select transmission at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, or to select dual 5GHz.

“The AP550 is the fastest way to SD-LAN, and is the biggest and best product we have developed,” said Devyani Pisolkar, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Aerohive. “The challenges in mobile management today relate to more mobility more devices and more users, and the rising tide of BYOD and IoT. The AP550 is built for them. It is our top of the line product.”

Pisolkar said that AP550 is extremely suitable for high density environments, like conference centres, libraries, cafeterias, retail and the education vertical.

The Aerohive AP550 is available now at a list price of $USD 1399.