“Enterprises that already use open technology in their own data centers want to use the same approach and maybe the same software and analytics and extend that out to their access network that connects wired and wireless,” says Jeff Catlin, associate vice president of technology with Edgecore. “For those customers it’s a natural extension.”
The three open WiFi access point designs include two for indoor WiFi deployments and one for outdoor. The associated open access switches provide Power-over-Ethernet for interconnecting and powering the open access points. Or the WiFi access points can be powered with a 12-volt power outlet.
Open WiFi access points will be cheaper than proprietary hardware. But Catlin says, “Customers say cost is not the primary driver; they want to get away from vendor lock-in.” He also notes that open hardware will permit more innovation in the long run, and that will allow end-users to get services to market faster and make more money. It’s all part of a network evolution.
“This open technology enables some of the WiFi players focused on delivering software value to their customers a broader base that they can innovate on top of,” he says. “They’re not offering hardware design value.”
OCP has gotten a lot faster in accepting designs. Catlin says it used to take up to eight months for OCP to approve a design, but now it’s taking about eight weeks or less.