Startups Back LWAPP
The LWAPP specification -- a standardized method of allowing wireless LAN switches to control stripped down "dumb" access points that should make it easier to mix and match equipment from different vendors -- is going to be discussed at an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting in Vienna, Austria, on July 18 (see LWAPP Makes Tracks).
Legra Systems Inc. has coauthored the latest draft of the IETF LWAPP memo. The Burlington, Mass., startup says that its major contribution has been to make LWAPP a "routable" protocol. This would mean that access points implementing the specification could be linked to the standard wired switches but tunnel back to "talk" to the wireless LAN switch, which could be centrally located (see Legra: The Perfect Prescription? for more on this).
Trapeze Networks Inc., which had originally expressed doubts about the need for a standard protocol, is now in broad support of the latest version of the draft (see Access Point Tiff Simmers).
"We think it’s a good thing," says Trapeze's VP of marketing, George Prodan. "Our team is going to be there listening and seeing what they can contribute." However, he also predicts that it could take "years" and plenty more "thrashing around" before a standard is actually arrived at.
Aruba Networks Inc. also backs the standards effort but says there needs to be a wider industry debate on what elements should make up the specification.
Initially, the company is concerned with establishing how media access control (MAC) layer duties are split between the switch and the access point. In Aruba's kit the switch handles higher-level elements like data encryption, while lower level, data transport elements are handled at the access point (see Aruba's Switch Pitch), but currently all of the vendors have a slightly different approach.
"It's time for us to debate what functionality gets dealt with at the switch and what gets dealt with at the access point," says Keerti Melkote, Aruba's VP of product management.
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung