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Aruba Plots Open Source

Enterprise Wireless LAN startup Aruba Wireless Networks is open sourcing its access point (AP) code so that third-party APs can be controlled via its switch offerings.

The first manufacturer to get with the program is SOHO access point vendor Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR), which has long had designs on the corporate market (see Netgear Addresses Small Biz).

Aruba says that any manufacturer using Atheros Communications Inc.'s (Nasdaq: ATHR) chipset can get the Aruba code running on its AP. Aruba will then test the AP in its labs and certify that it runs with its switches.

"Essentially, we're creating a model where a third-party access point can be Aruba-cized," explains VP of marketing, Keerti Melkote [ed. note: That sounds painful].

Melkote says that Aruba's aim in going open source is to expand the number of APs that can connect with its switch -- particularly, as the market for standalone APs is becoming increasingly commoditized (see Cisco Spirals AP Market ).

He does admit, however, that Cisco's acquisition of Airespace Inc. and planned move to the lightweight access point protcol (LWAPP) makes an open standards push somewhat inevitable for other vendors in the market (see Cisco Buys Airespace, The Switch Fix Is In and Cisco's Airespace Program).

"What we're trying to do is promote true vendor interoperability."

Which is all well and good, but the success of this program will likely depend on Aruba getting some big-name corporate kit providers to sign up to its new initiative.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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