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AeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point Teardown

17 January 2012
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

Overview / Main Features

The Aerohive Networks HiveAP 330 is an 802.11n wireless access point which according to the company, "is an enterprise-grade, two radio (3x3) three stream MIMO 802.11n solution, capable of 450Mbps data rates. The key to network reliability here is the 3x3 MIMO and the concurrent service on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands which also improves throughput - which is advertised as being able to achieve an aggregate data rate of 450 Mbps.

The HiveAP 330 also features dual Ethernet ports for etherchannel or backup connectivity, and supports 802.3af PoE or can be powered with a standard plug-in power adapter. The HiveAP330 also features a USB interface for 'future 3G/4G services". This device also features Trusted Platform Module (TPM) hardware-based key storage and encryption.

Aerohive networks seems to be a strictly B to B business model focused on enterprise equipment buyers.

AeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point Main ImageAeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point Main Image

Target Market

Enterprise users - does not seem to be available via e-tailers.

Released

Per press releases, first release in July 2011.

AeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point - Main PCB TopAeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point - Main PCB Top

Pricing and Availability

Pricing - According to the press release the Hive AP 330 is available at a list price of $999 each per Aerohive's own press release.

Availability - Worldwide presumed - but probably North America-focused.

Volume Estimations

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 100K units over 5 yearss - or roughly 20K units per year.

As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

AeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point Cost AnalysisAeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

The Aerohive, from a cost perspective, is a tough call to analyze. In very low volumes, manufacturers can find that the sky is the limit on pricing, and if we priced absolutely all of the components as though the design were unique to the OEM and no ODM were involved (which seems unlikely at this volume) the pricing could be higher than we have indicated here. But with a list price of nearly $1,000 USD, Aerohive may have a lot of room to play with. The thing is, we are assuming that they are likely working with an ODM who would likely have more price leverage with vendors than an OEM with their own one-off, unique design and running it to a smaller EMS provider who could pass on a lot of extra costs to Aerohive that are inherent to low volume production runs.

Some of the items inside the HiveAP 330 that are also big ticket items are the 802.11n 2.4Ghz and 5GHz Mini PCIe cards. We could not determine if these were custom designed by Aerohive - which seems unlikely as 802.11 Mini PCIe cards are something of a commodity themselves. We did break out the costs of the individual components for these cards, but then performed a roll up of the costs, with an assumed manufacturing cost and mark up for the vendor ODM'ing these cards. The pricing assumptions are relatively aggressive as this seems to be the case for all WLAN cards - it's a tight market with a lot of competition keeping margins thin.

Remember that our BOM costs are seen, in this case, from the perspective of the assumed ODM in this case.

Main Cost Drivers Representing ~72% of total materials cost

WLAN Mini PCIe Module - IEEE802.11a/n, 5GHz, 3x3 MIMO (Qty:1)

Freescale Semiconductor - P1020NSE2DFB - Communications Processor - Dual 32-Bit e500 Cores, 800MHz, 256KB L2 Cache, 32-Bit w/ ECC DDR2/3 Support, 3 x Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x PCI Express, USB 2.0 Controller (Qty:1)

WLAN Mini PCIe Module - IEEE802.11b/g/n, 2.4GHz, 3x3 MIMO (Qty:1)

Hsu Tzu Electronic - Main PCB

Enclosure, Main, Bottom - Die-Cast Aluminum, Machined, Painted (Qty:1)

$4.56 (For all 24) - Tantalum - Encapsulated, 10V, 47uF (Qty:24)

Micron Technology - JS28F512M29EWH - Flash - NOR, 512Mb, 110ns (Qty:1)

WLAN, MIMO - Stamped / Formed Metal, w/ 6 200mm Length 1.8mm OD Coaxial Wires, 6 IPX Plugs, & Cloth Tape (Qty:1)

$2.49 (For all 548) - Ceramic Multilayer - X5R/X7R (Qty:548)

Promos Technologies - V59C1G01168QBJ3 - SDRAM - DDR2, 1Gb, 64Mx16, 667MHz (Qty:2)

Total BOM & Manufacturing Costs (Direct Materials + Conversion Costs) $131.59

AeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point - Main PCB BottomAeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point - Main PCB Bottom

What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

Manufacturing Notes

OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing

Unknown in this situation. But an ODM is strongly suspected based on the Made in Taiwan label, the nature of the company branding it and the volumes at which it is being sold.

Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions

Based on markings, the unit was assembled in Taiwan. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were sourced in Taiwan.

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as display modules or wall chargers), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

AeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point - Disassembly View 1AeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point - Disassembly View 1

Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity

Several years ago we looked at several access points. One of them was the Cisco Aironet AP1252 which also featured 2.4GHz and 5GHz and 2x3 MIMO antenna array. That device, if you exclude the quantities of components found on the PCI cards it had - came up to a total of 1330 components. On a comparable basis - this Aerohive access point comes up to only 867 - or about 35% less. As another point of reference, At the same time (2008) we also looked at a Motorola AP-7131 which on a similar basis also featured significantly more components (the Motorola access point measured 1340 components without the PCI cards). Clearly newer designs can benefit from improved integrated levels.

Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design.

Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.

Design Notes

At it's core - the Aerohive Hive AP330 access point is essentially two Mini PCIe 802.11 cards tied together by a core processor. The processor is a Freescale Semiconductor (P1020NSE2DFB) - Communications Processor which features dual 32-Bit e500 Cores, 800MHz, as well as many other integrated functions.

This chip represents the bulk of functionality of the device and requires little else to perform its functions, though the device does also have a number of discrete I/O components such as Qualcomm Atheros (AR8035) ethernet transceiver, and an SMSC USB Host / Device interface IC, as well as a TI RS-232 driver/receiver. The AP330 design also as part of it's security feature-set uses an Atmel AT97SC3204 - TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip.

This device also features Micron NOR Flash (512Mb) and Promos Technology DRAM (1Gb x 2 Devices).

Here is a summary of the major components used in the Aerohive HiveAP 330 design:

Main PCB

Processing

Communications Processor - Freescale Semiconductor - P1020NSE2DFB - Dual 32-Bit e500 Cores, 800MHz, 256KB L2 Cache, 32-Bit w/ ECC DDR2/3 Support, 3 x Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x PCI Express, USB 2.0 Controller

Memory

Flash (NOR) - Micron Technology - JS28F512M29EWH - 512Mb, 110ns

SDRAM - Promos Technologies - V59C1G01168QBJ3 - DDR2, 1Gb, 64Mx16, 667MHz

WLAN Modules

These two modules appear to be 'off the shelf' Mini PCIe cards purchased as units - though the manufacturer could not be determined.

WLAN Mini PCIe Module - IEEE802.11b/g/n, 2.4GHz, 3x3 MIMO

WLAN Mini PCIe Module - IEEE802.11a/n, 5GHz, 3x3 MIMO

AeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point - Box ContentsAeroHive Networks HiveAP 330 Access Point - Box Contents



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