Ooma Offers WiFi As-a-Service, Powered by Extreme Networks

Life is moving fast towards a subscription model. Microsoft Office 365, Teams, Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-service, etc.

Of course, UCaaS is another huge area of growth as companies move their PBX into the cloud. Network-as-a-Service is also booming – allowing a company to provision their network via a central console as opposed to phone calls and emails to a service provider.

These latter two areas of growth have intersected in the latest news from Ooma. Their new WiFi service allows companies to move from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model and receive managed WiFi as a result.

Why is this important? Many WiFi solutions used by smaller companies are based on consumer access points which have security and other issues. When patches are available, companies who don’t have a top MSP or IT manager who is proactive, do not always update their equipment. This means they leave a hole in their system which can be an entry-point for a hack.

In addition, companies in retail, looking to lure customers back, often use WiFi as a hook. Obviously, there are social distancing issues we have to contend with these days but people still value retail WiFi that is functional. Often, retail and restaurant WiFi has issues. The access points are slow or nonfunctional. This means consumer devices often connect to the WiFi and then hang – because for whatever reason, many phones today still are not aggressive enough about defaulting to 4G/5G when WiFi has issues.

This leads to frustrated customers.

These are just a few reasons business needs managed WiFi.

In 2010, Aerohive said to us they were looking for world-domination in WiFi. Sure – they were sort of kidding when they said this but what differentiated them really came to light in 2015 when they made their UI less complicated and leveraged centralized management for truly painless handling of WiFi APs and networking.

This management in fact is part of the reason we said Extreme Networks acquired the company last summer. I guess it is now in Extreme’s hands to dominate the world. 🙂

With this in mind, you now understand why and how Extreme is the networking equipment vendor behind Ooma’s new WiFi Offering. According to CMO Wes Durow, “Today’s news brings the enterprise capability that Extreme is known for and make it accessible to small businesses via a subscription service.” He continued, “Certainly, the past few months have driven up interest in subscription services so we believe this offer will be a market catalyst toward future growth.”

These are the choices customers have:

  • The Ooma AP 250 provides Wi-Fi coverage for up to 3,000 square feet.
  • The Ooma AP 150 covers up to 1,000 square feet and can support a downstream router or switch for wired networking.
  • The Ooma AP 30 is a Wi-Fi range extender that can make a wireless mesh connection to other Wi-Fi access points.

Here are the features:

Multiple networks. Employee workstations, guest devices, and IP phones can be assigned to separate networks to keep information secure and manage performance.

Quality of Service (QoS). Data can be prioritized for Wi-Fi phones, to maintain consistent audio performance even when there is heavy network traffic.

Guest Network and Abuse Prevention. Customized login screens and terms of service agreements control how and when guests access a company’s network. Abuse prevention features allow the company to set bandwidth limits for individual devices and block malicious users.

High performance access points. Enterprise-grade hardware, with internal 3×3 MU-MIMO antennas, designed for demanding environments, with advanced features such as software-defined radios for optimizing coverage and capacity.

Easy setup. Wi-Fi access points and the management system are preconfigured by Ooma, allowing for plug and play installation at the customer’s site. No technicians required.

24/7 Customer Support. Ooma experts are always available to monitor the customer’s managed Wi-Fi network, diagnose problems and make remote repairs when possible.

The cost is $11.99 per month for the first access point under management and $6.99 per month for each additional access point.

The move to as a service is beneficial to companies who don’t want to deal with big investments and enjoy the vendor accountability which comes with monthly payments. It also benefits vendors who can often move upmarket by providing not only hardware but service for the lifetime of the equipment. For these reasons, we think this is a great move for both companies and their forthcoming new customers.

One last point – Ooma also is offering WiFi phones which allow companies to not worry about stringing Ethernet cables to remote areas of their workspace.

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