D-Link Making APs for Switch
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The evolution of Wi-Fi switches—or at least the access points they control—continues. Today, Trapeze Networks became the latest to announce a program making it possible for third parties to make APs that work with the central management of a Trapeze switch. (Aruba Networks was the first, announcing deals with the likes of Netgear last week.)
Trapeze believes it has done Aruba one better by scoring a deal with a company that is about as well known as they get in wireless, D-Link Systems. According to Synergy Research and others, D-Link is number two and Netgear is number three for sales of consumer and SMB Wi-Fi equipment.
Trapeze's Open Access Point Initiative (OAPI) is similar to Aruba's "open source" program, at least in intention if not in technology. The point is to let third-party AP vendors make hardware that will work with a Trapeze switch as soon as it is plugged into the infrastructure the switch occupies. A software layer abstracts the radio technology, making the switch radio-agnostic and ready for future tech like 802.11n or the eventual Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points (CAPWAP) standard for running "thin" APs.
Trapeze will resell a OAPI-tested, D-Link-made AP, a piece of hardware that will undoubtedly be cheaper than Trapeze's own, due to D-Link's incredible margins. The two companies have a strategic agreement to continue making new products in the future.
Bruce Van Nice, Trapeze's vice president of marketing, says that while "we're not talking about accommodating every access point installed... we're talking about a larger install base." By broadening the "solution set" of available APs (Trapeze calls its own Mobility Points), the goal is, of course, to sell even more switches.
Much like Aruba's plans, the OAPI program isn't truly open-source—tinkering with the code they'll provide is not expected—and Van Nice says "the capabilities are pretty basic today," since all the smarts rest at the switch. Trapeze will do full testing for integration of third-party hardware with its core switch and the RingMaster control software. For now, third-party APs on OAPI will be able to do simple things like status monitoring and determining transfer power, but in the future, Trapeze expects to offer roaming, encryption key management, over-the-air support for virtual LANs, and more.