For two years, I've been singing, even SHOUTING the same tune . . . and still there's misinformation out the wazoo flying all over the place about how Aerohive's technology works. Our competitors are piling it on thick too . . . either out of dishonesty or utter ignorance . . . though I want to assume the latter.
OK, so let's talk about Cooperative Control. That's Aerohive's special sauce, our secret weapon, the good stuff. It's the giant can of whoop-ass that's changing the Wi-Fi industry quarter-by-quarter, and customer-by-customer. It will, and you can quote me on this, force every vendor in the Wi-Fi industry to replicate it in some way (if they intend on staying in business that is). Why:
• Increased deployment flexibility & simplicity
• Increased scalability & throughput
• Increased security
• Increased reliability
• Decreased costs (CAPEX & OPEX)
• Decreased management complexity
What Cooperative Control is not:
1) One access point (AP) controlling a bunch of other APs.
That's what Aruba Instant and Motorola's WiNG5 are, but it's NOT what Cooperative Control is. Some vendors think that because Aruba and Motorola aren't clever enough to create something resilient that can scale infinitely and inexpensively, that Aerohive isn't either. Silly rabbit.
Oh, and for the record, whoever made up that rumor about Aerohive having to have one AP operating the Cooperative Control protocol for every 25 APs serving clients is a lazy idiot. It's wholly untrue. Maybe they need to read our architecture whitepaper. Hey, it's free, just like our protocols.
2) A way for the APs to talk to the HiveManager.
HiveManager is a Wireless Network Management System (WNMS). Just as Aruba has Airwave and Cisco has NCS Prime, Aerohive has HiveManager (and HiveManager Online). Aruba and Cisco use their WNMS systems to manage controllers and APs while HiveManager manages HiveAPs (because we don't need controllers).
The primary difference is that Aerohive offers HiveManager as an online (public cloud) service and VMware-based (private cloud) virtual appliance, whereas the other vendors offer only an on-premise based solution for a significant multiple of the price. The protocol used between HiveAPs and HiveManager is CAPWAP, a standards-based AP management protocol, the same one Cisco uses between their APs and their controllers.
What Cooperative Control is:
1) Cooperative Control is a suite of intra- and inter-AP protocols that negate the need for a controller (and its friends called backup controllers, branch controllers, and added-capacity controllers) by forming a distributed control plane across all APs.
Cooperative Control protocols serve the same purpose as controllers from all of the other vendors, while having inherent redundancy, being infinitely scalable, and being free. All control-plane functions happen in a distributed fashion, making them resilient and scalable.
2) A paradigm shift away from the antiquated, decade-old, de facto, centralized control model whereby hardware, software, and cloud controllers offer half the functionality for double the price.
Cooperative Control scales linearly to any number of APs, whereby all APs work as a collective computer (called a "Hive"). The only way to take Aerohive's distributed control plane offline is to take down 100% of the APs at the same time because Cooperative Control exists everywhere across the APs.
If Aerohive's control plane ever goes down, I might suggest running from the building - as the building is probably on fire or has been hit by a natural disaster.