Aerohive's New "Dynamic Airtime Scheduling" Delivers up to 10X Faster Wi-Fi

By PRESS RELEASE — February 10, 2009

Aerohive Networks, the award-winning creators of the controller-less "cooperative control" wireless LAN (WLAN) architecture, today announced the introduction of Dynamic Airtime Scheduling. Dynamic Airtime Scheduling dramatically improves wireless LAN performance by measuring each client's instantaneous data rate and airtime use and scheduling airtime based on IT-specified policies. It can be used to ensure that fast clients, such as 802.11n clients, aren't slowed down by lower-speed clients, and it can enforce IT-specified policies to ensure that critical applications and users receive adequate airtime. Dynamic Airtime Scheduling provides greater system capacity in busy wireless networks and can increase individual clients' performance ten-fold.

On wireless LANs, only one network client may transmit data at a time. Traditionally, faster clients must wait while slower clients take their (relatively long) turns. Clients can be slow for many reasons, including lower-speed protocols (i.e., 802.11a), wireless interference, inconsistent RF coverage, and distant or obstructed network connections. On the vast majority of wireless LANs, there are slow clients that significantly degrade the performance of all clients. These factors prevent many enterprises from realizing the full value of their 802.11n investments, because their 802.11n clients operate far below their maximum data rates. Airtime Scheduling enables faster clients, such as 802.11n clients, to complete their transmissions without waiting for the slower clients to complete theirs, unlocking the performance potential of the faster clients without penalizing the slower clients.

"In wireless LANs, the worst client dominates the air, as only one client can transmit or receive at a time, and slower clients take more airtime to send the same data," said Adam Conway, vice president, product management, Aerohive Networks. "Aerohive's breakthrough Dynamic Airtime Scheduling technology resolves this issue, creating dramatic performance improvements in a wide array of common, yet challenging, wireless LAN environments."

Because Dynamic Airtime Scheduling measures the actual airtime of each client's packets, it delivers better performance improvements than protocol-based scheduling approaches that simplistically prioritize 802.11n clients over 802.11ag clients. Protocol-based scheduling does not address the issue of slow 802.11n clients impacting faster 802.11n clients, nor does it prevent slow 802.11n clients from restricting faster 802.11ag clients. In fact, protocol-based scheduling can inadvertently prioritize slow 802.11n clients at the expense of faster-performing 802.11ag clients.

"A fast radio isn't sufficient by itself to produce great performance in large-scale production WLAN environments," said Craig Mathias, principal, Farpoint Group, a wireless and mobile advisory firm. "As we've seen over the years with operating systems, how traffic is scheduled, along with QoS management, can make a huge difference in how well a WLAN system actually succeeds. Aerohive's Dynamic Airtime Scheduling is a great step forward in assuring that mission-critical Wi-Fi installations provide the best possible service to users and their applications alike."

Aerohive's unique cooperative control architecture features a distributed control plane, which puts control and data intelligence in the HiveAP along with the radio, creating a microsecond-feedback air interface that is able to react to instantaneous changes in the RF network, such as clients changing their data rates.

Dynamic Airtime Scheduling is delivered in HiveOS 3.2, the latest version of Aerohive's HiveAP operating system software. HiveOS 3.2 is a substantial release, with 20 other new features that are focused on application support, resiliency, and management, including firewall enhancements and Track IP path resilience.

A significant new feature of the latest HiveOS release is HiveUI, an easy-to-use embedded network management application that can quickly deploy a hive of up to 12 HiveAPs. An entire hive can be managed via the HiveUI Web interface on a single 802.11n HiveAP, providing configuration, status, and guest-management functionality to customers who do not require the advanced features of Aerohive's HiveManager network management system. This free, intuitive interface reduces the cost of and simplifies small deployments, extending the benefits of
Aerohive's cooperative control architecture to smaller businesses.

HiveOS 3.2 is available now as a free upgrade for all Aerohive customers.

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