Aerohive Atom AP30: My New Favorite Access Point

I came into the IT world when 802.11n was the primary Wi-Fi technology being used. Even back then, I always thought that wireless technology was racing towards a single common purpose: making deployments and management simpler.

One of the challenges that I’ve had (and I know others have as well) is dealing with legacy cabling and older buildings. Our building is 60+ years old with lots of concrete. We’ve got multiple firewalls (and not the kind you are used to reading about). These “firewalls” are extremely difficult to get new cabling through. When there is cabling in place, it’s down near the level of legacy desktop computer cabling. When deploying Wi-Fi, IT departments have been forced to work around this for years. They’ve either had to run new cables or hope they’ve got enough slack to pull the cable up and re-use elsewhere.

That is, until now. I’m happy to say that I now know of a solution to this problem.

Enter: Aerohive Atom AP30 

What is Aerohive Atom AP30? It’s a 2×2:2 dual radio 802.11ac access point. It’s made to plug directly into an electrical outlet. For connectivity, you can either connect it into nearby ethernet cable or let it mesh to an existing access point to extend network coverage. If you are using a mesh connection, the ethernet port can be alternatively used to connect ethernet only devices such as printers or other IoT-gear.

Although it might come in a small package, it’s no slouch. It includes a L7 firewall, application visibility and control, QoS, user profiling, and VPN. It also has Bluetooth Low Energy support.

Aerohive Atom AP30 is also changing the purchasing model for enterprise Wi-Fi. It comes in a 3-pack for $599, and one cloud license covers all three devices. You can mix and match mesh and wired connections amongst your Aerohive Atom AP30 APs.

Aerohive Atom AP30 fits right into a network of other Aerohive APs. You can mix and match with the entire portfolio of 802.11ac and 802.11ax access points. Once your serial numbers are loaded into HiveManager NG, you can start plugging them up. If they are on wired ethernet, they’ll grab their policy and start serving clients. If they are meshed, they’ll connect with a nearby access point for their configuration.

Where might Aerohive Atom AP30 be used?

  • Places where cabling is already in place
  • Rooms where you need to extend coverage to, but new cabling isn’t feasible or cost-effective (coverage dead zones)
  • Temporary locations (pop-up stores, kiosks, enterprise events, etc)
  • Remote workers (supports layer 2 VPN client)
  • Network overlay for sensors or analytics

When Aerohive gave me an early look at Aerohive Atom AP30, the main negative for me was that it wasn’t out yet. I have about five locations that I want to use Aerohive Atom AP30 in right now. I do not doubt that Aerohive Atom AP30 will be a primary AP for me in the future. It’s built on the excellent Aerohive technology (cloud-managed, RF-IQ, AVC, etc) with a form-factor that fits select cases in my challenging environment (a building built before 1960). It’ll be out with a US plug in April.

Do you know who’s going to love Aerohive Atom AP30? Our facilities crew. I’m no longer going to be asking them to re-wire cabling into challenging places. Aerohive Atom AP30 will be the solution instead. I might even talk them into paying for it!

Bradley Chambers has been the Director of Information Technology at Brainerd Baptist School since 2009. At BBS, he manages a network of Apple and Chrome OS devices. He also writes at Tools & Toys. The Sweet Setup, and 9to5Mac.

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