After attending the Interop 2007 show in family-friendly Las Vegas from May 21 through May 24, I’m hard-pressed to report any major news in the wireless networking space.

One of the most common questions encountered from press and vendors alike was, “So, what did you think of the show, what’s the big news?” With the exception of some product announcements around .11n compliant access points and some capacity increases in the controller offerings among WLAN vendors, technological advances were few and far between, however, there were some notable moments:

  • Enterprise mesh. Muni mesh? No, enterprise mesh. This is the idea of using mesh technology; wirelessly linking various access points in a WLAN is applicable to the enterprise. Think wide-area deployments outdoors or in non-traditional locations (like warehouses, shipping docks, and the like) where an existing wired infrastructure does not exist. I’ll be keeping an eye on vendors’ announcements around this technology (and watching the progression of this technology from Colubris, Meru Networks, and Aruba Networks) since I think this is a key ingredient in creating the ubiquitous mobile network.

  • Cisco’s mobility solutions announcement. The announcement crystallizes the vendor’s march to make the network a platform for business services — in this case the business service of mobility. Use cases dealing with location and vertical applications for the technology in areas such as retail show Cisco continuing to prove its point that it’s not the network, it’s the experiences, services, and tasks the network enables . . . IT to BT, anyone? I think the messaging is a strong indication of the types of things we’ll be seeing from Cisco — namely an increase in the areas ancillary to WLAN in which the vendor plays.

  • RTLS becomes real. In addition to Cisco’s announcement, Trapeze was showcasing its LA 200 location appliance and Meru Networks debuted new location technology. This is not a fad and this is not going away; RTLS on the WLAN will play a major role in mobility, and it won’t merely be for tracking people and assets.

By Chris Silva.

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