LWAPP Makes Tracks
The protocol, which outlines a methodology for communication between stripped-down access points and the centralized management and security boxes we know –- and love –- as wireless LAN switches, will be discussed at the next meeting of the IETF in Vienna [ed. note: It means nothing to me] on July 18.
Developing a standard way for these separate network elements to "talk" to each other is likely to be a crucial factor in facilitating the rollout of larger wireless LAN networks in the enterprise, according to IDC analyst Abner Germanow.
"It's certainly something that's really, really important for enterprise deployment, whether its the Airespace standard that gets adopted or something else," Germanow says.
Standardizing control mechanisms for access points will also mean that switch startups can concentrate on the software side of the business rather than spending money on designing hardware with features tailored to their specific systems. Airespace, for instance, currently designs its own access points, but Alan Cohen, VP of marketing at Airespace, says the company would probably source access points from a third-party vendor if it could. "Our focus is really software," he muses, in an introspective sort of a way.
Germanow thinks that standardizing control mechanisms could help to cut the price of this new class of "skinny" access points. "It will allow the price point of these wireless LAN access points to follow the general hardware curve down."
LWAPP will be discussed as part of the control and provisioning of wireless access points (CAPWAP!) birds of a feather (BOF!!) meeting [ed. note: You'll pry their acronyms from their cold, dead hands] in Austria. As well as Airespace and their partner NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY), a representative from rival WLAN startup Chantry Networks Inc. and cryptography wunderkind David Molnar (who's currently at Harvard) will be speaking.
Look here for the initial agenda of the meeting.
Naturally, this particular standards efforts has its naysayers. Trapeze Networks Inc. dumped on the very need for LWAPP back in April (see Access Point Tiff Simmers).
Meanwhile, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) was originally involved in drafting the LWAPP memo, but pulled out in May (see Zorn Is Shorn ), although a spokesperson for the networking giant recently told Unstrung that the company continues to watch the progress of the specification.
— Dan "Capwap" Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung