Airwave & Aruba Look to Legacy

WLAN startups AirWave Wireless Inc. and Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) have teamed up to offer enterprise users a combined system aimed at helping them control older "thick" access points as part of a managed WiFi network.

AirWave has been developing overall management software and systems for third-party access points for several years now. The firm can already manage APs from other vendors including Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL). (See WLAN Love-Fest.)

Under the new partnership, the firms will integrate AirWave's management tools with Aruba's new-ish "Mobile Edge" WLAN platform so that users can integrate older APs with Aruba's new gear -- a centralized WLAN architecture which works across the LAN, WAN, and Internet. (See Aruba Gets Edgy.)

There are, naturally, a large number of standalone access points out there in WLAN-land. Market leader Cisco recently said that it has sold over 3 million enterprise APs since 2000. (See Cisco: 3 Million's a Charm. Around 2 million standalone Cisco access points shipped before its acquisition of Airespace in December 2005, which highlighted the firm's move to a managed WiFi mindset.

Cisco is by no means the only vendor with a large catalog of legacy and current "thick" APs on its books. The challenge for firms like AirWave and Aruba will be convincing business users that they offer the right support and migration path as enterprises move towards a managed 802.11 future.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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