Cloud-based WiFi: $100 a Pop

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Invictus Networks, a large wireless integrator and/or reseller/distributor, out of Portland, Oregon, unveiled a new line of Ubiquiti wireless access points that promise to break open the enterprise-grade market with cloud-managed, 802.11n access points under $100.

The UniFi access point combines carrier class performance, unlimited scalability, and a virtual management controller. You install, configure, and manage all of your UniFi Wireless Access Points from one User Interface.

The biggest selling point of Ubiquiti’s $100, 802.11n access point — the management software is free. Unifi uses a virtual client/server application. No additional controller hardware is necessary. It’s built into the access point.

Although not yet available in quantities, Invictus buys Ubiquiti products by the container, and is expecting to have the new Unifi access point in quantity, shortly.

PowerCloud Systems adds additional cloud management functions for enterprises. Andrea Peiro, Co-Founder of PowerCloud, explains the benefits of their Cloud Command to Dailywireless editor Sam Churchill at last month’s Innotech conference in Portland, Oregon (below).

PowerCloud can manage multiple sites from a single webpage — no matter how many APs they have, or where they’re located. Atheros is integrating some of its chipsets with PowerCloud technology so that wireless LAN vendors can build access points that can be managed through a cloud.

The combination of the inexpensive Ubquiti access points with PowerCloud’s Cloud Command is considerably less expensive than the combination of Meraki Access Points and Meraki’s Cloud Controller (below).

Other WiFi access points use hardware controllers for management. Those enterprise access points include Cisco’s 1142N ($799), ArubaAP 105 ($499), and Ruckus Zoneflex 7942 ($799). Other cloud-managed services with embedded controllers include the Aerohive AP120 ($695) + $110/year cloud fee, as well as Meraki’s MR16 ($649) + $100/year cloud fee. PowerCloud says the 802.11n hardware from Ubiquiti costs under $100 and can be flashed for their cloud management, which costs next to nothing.

It’s almost a plug and play situation. Once the APs are plugged in, they connect to the cloud-based console. A single login enables a manager to see each different site and assign those APs to different tasks.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 at 11:00 am .

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