Enterasys links up with PCM on a cloud-based Wi-Fi service

The PCM Cloud Wireless Service covers access point costs as well as management

Enterasys Networks joined with PCM today to announce a cloud-based Wi-Fi service that offers daily management, access point hardware, software and network setup for one monthly fee.

PCM has experience in cloud-based services, while Enterasys is a unit within Siemens Enterprise Communications. The new service, called PCM Cloud Wireless Service, will rely on Enterasys identiFi access points (APs) and its OneFabric management software.

Pricing for the service is based on a price-per-AP model that can range from $50 to $80 per AP per month, which includes hardware, cloud management and managed services, said Patrick Lohmeyer, associate vice president of services development at PCM.

A customer could deploy an initial number of Wi-Fi APs, and at any time add additional APs to the network, which increases the quantity of a particular Wi-Fi AP model associated with the monthly price, Lohmeyer said.

Other cloud-based Wi-Fi offers from competitors don't include access points and usually cover the hosting costs of AP controller hardware and management, both companies said.

The cloud management is coordinated at a PCM data center in Atlanta.

Mike Leibovitz, direct of mobility at Enterasys, said the biggest beneficiaries of the new service will be companies and institutions without technical experts on-site at every Wi-Fi location.

Last week, Aruba Networks announced a cloud-based management service for Wi-Fi networks that charges separately for APs and offers cloud management of local Wi-Fi zones for $140 per AP.

Aruba faces competition from Aerohive and Meraki, now owned by Cisco, and more recently Motorola Solutions and Meru. Adtran sells AP controller systems that can be used by service providers to offer cloud managed services.

The cloud-managed Wi-Fi market is relatively new, but will reach $1 billion in revenues in 2017, according to Chris DePuy, an analyst at Dell Oro Group. In 2012, it represented about 5% of the $4 billion enterprise AP market.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at  @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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