Internet Standards Group Picks Cisco Wireless Technology

The Internet Engineering Task Force chose Cisco's lightweight access point protocol to help ensure WLAN interoperability.
Cisco Systems chalked up an apparent win this week when the Internet Engineering Task Force chose its lightweight access point protocol as the framework for a future standard to allow WLAN equipment from different vendors to work together.

Alan Cohen, senior director of product management for the Wireless Network Business Unit at San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, said the lightweight access point protocol, or LWAPP, is designed to eliminate vendor lock-in and allow customers to adopt WLAN technology more freely.

“Apple did not invent the MP3 standard, they just made it more usable. We believe LWAPP will help grow customer confidence in a similar manner,” Cohen said.

Cisco’s revenue share of the enterprise WLAN market, which, according to Synergy Research Group, stood at 50.9 percent at the end of the third quarter last year, means that standardization on LWAPP will enable the vendor to ease RFP processes, said Gary Berzack, CFO and COO of eTribeca, a New York-based wireless solution provider.

“Having a standard in place means they can build in interoperability with other vendors’ equipment,” Berzack said.

One strength of LWAPP is that it provides centralized management, the value of which is most apparent in metropolitan networks that have thousands of access points from multiple vendors, Berzack said. “In these networks, you want to have insight into what’s happening on the network, and having an enterprise-class standard really helps,” he said.

Sam Coyl, vice president of business development at Netrepid, a Camp Hill, Pa.-based wireless solution provider, said that although LWAPP enables VARs to build a best-of-breed WLAN solution, he doesn’t expect it to fundamentally change the way he does business.

“Having a standard will be great, but even with Wi-Fi certification, most companies have generally bought equipment from a single vendor,” Coyl said. “I’m not sure LWAPP will have much of an impact.”

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