Tropos Gets With the Program

So, what exactly do you do if you're widely recognized as the leading player in a fast-growing niche of the wireless LAN market and big daddy (Nasdaq: CSCO) decides to horn in on your game?

That's the dilemma facing metro-mesh startup Tropos Networks right now as it eyes Cisco's immminent entry into its market. (See Cisco Plots Mesh.) The startup's answer is to try and make friends with established players and other startups orbiting the WLAN world through a partner program.

To this end, Tropos today announced its "Tropos MetroMesh Partner Program" with a roster of 18 firms, some of which already work with the startup. Tropos wants to sign up both development partners and "solution" partners in a bid to flesh out its mesh offering with new hardware and dedicated services.

Solution partners include Boingo Wireless Inc., Ellacoya Networks Inc., and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), among others.

But the development partners are possibly the most interesting aspect of Tropos's push for pals. The startup has decided to open its code kimono and let interested third parties see its APIs.

APIs (application programming interfaces) are the hooks that allow other companies to simply bolt their systems software together with Tropos's mesh management code.

High-speed wireless startup Ruckus Wireless Inc. is one of the first companies to jump onboard and is developing a customer box that uses its smart antenna technology to "listen two to three times harder," than standard gear and improve the range of such devices, according to the firm's tenaciously tousled director of marketing, David Callisch.

Ruckus's MetroPlex box is expected to be launched in January.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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