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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What Happens When Cloud Services Expire

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If you've read about #GenMobile, then you know that the appetite for connectivity – 69% of younger GenMobile employees want to connect at work via Wi-Fi.  So more than ever, business continuity relies on your Wi-Fi network being "always on."

That's why Aruba networks has ensured that even when our Aruba Central management service isn't available, you can still run and manage your network.  If your WAN link goes down, or if your subscription expires, your Aruba access points still operate perfectly, and you retain network monitoring and configuration.

It was recently clarified for me that there is a huge difference in behaviors between Aruba, Meraki and Aerohive when online management service subscriptions end.  I point this out because it's easy to overlook and potentially very disruptive to your business or school.

Can you imagine a classroom full of kids taking an online test using tablets and computers, and the Wi-Fi network goes down?  That's what can happen if you don't pay your Meraki bill.

Aruba

With Aruba, when your Aruba Central subscription expires, you have a 15 day grace period, and then you are unable to log in to your Central dashboard to do management tasks.  However, your Instant APs will then be fully manageable through a local web-based user interface to the virtual controller in the conductor AP.  While you lose the centralized multi-site management of Central, you retain the cluster-wide ability to:

  • Authenticate new users
  • Manage guests with a simple captive portal
  • Set access rules with the firewall
  • Identify voice and video traffic and apply QoS
  • Perform WIPs scanning
  • Monitor and troubleshoot the network

Aerohive

With Aerohive, if your HiveManager Online subscription lapses, you lose the ability to manage and fully operate your Wi-Fi network.  After your 30 day grace period, Aerohive devices are moved to an "unmanaged" state in your HiveManager interface – so you can see your device list, but you can't make any config changes.  You're left with an interface on each AP do to basic view-only monitoring one AP at a time.

Meraki

Worst of all, with Meraki if you don't continue your subscription, you actually lose your NETWORK, not just the management of it.  So let's say you're a school and the economy hiccups a bit, so that your annual IT budget is cut.  Even though you bought the hardware APs, you lose the ability to operate them, they shut down.  Wi-Fi turns off.  Even though you own the access points.

It's worth noting that if you have more devices than licenses, the same shutdown will occur.  No room for administrative errors here.  Remind me, do bureaucracies ever make paperwork errors?