Migration from Legacy Autonomous APs

The first wave of wireless LANs saw autonomous access points being deployed in key verticals such as healthcare, retail, and manufacturing. These verticals discovered the overwhelming business advantages of giving users and devices wireless access to the network. Subsequent deployments saw autonomous APs being used for convenience guest and meeting room access across a broad range of industries. Now many organizations that bought autonomous APs in the past are looking to upgrade their wireless network to allow for voice support and fast roaming, and to remove the security problems with their old WEP-only APs. In some cases, their vendor has stopped feature development altogether on their installed autonomous APs.

As the IT organization looks at their choices for upgrading these older autonomous AP wireless LANs, they are finding that the controller-based architecture has some significant challenges with providing a clean upgrade from their existing solution. The upgrade is challenging because they have already architected their network around autonomous APs that directly forward traffic to the LAN, rather than around an overlay network that backhauls all traffic. In addition, most controller-based solutions will cost two- to four-times the cost of their original autonomous AP deployment, especially in mission-critical environments and when the need for redundant controllers is factored into the equation. Further compounding the situation, if the company is unsure about their future requirements for more APs, they are often forced to over-buy controller capacity. 

WLAN Component Aerohive Cost Controller Cost
Controllers (Primary, Backup, & Remote) - $$$$
Controller modules - $
WNMS $ $$
Access Points $ $
Controller Per-AP licenses - $$
Controller Feature licenses - $
Data Center Rack Space - $
Data Center Cooling & Power - $
TOTAL $ $$$$

 

In contrast, the controller-less WLAN architecture from Aerohive Networks provides a plug-and-play upgrade for these existing autonomous AP networks. By simply swapping out the old APs and replacing them with Aerohive access points – with no changes to the network architecture, IP addressing, or VLANs – the wireless LAN is able to support the fast roaming, security, dynamic RF management, advanced QoS, wireless mesh redundancy, and the stateful failover, and rerouting that modern wireless networks require. Our architecture provides this clean upgrade path to these next-generation capabilities without requiring controllers at each location, which means it is a substantially lower-cost deployment and as requirements evolve, capacity can be added on an as-needed basis, without having to worry about costly controller upgrades.