In the last 3 years OpenWiFi has matured from an idea to a vibrant ecosystem of WiFi providers, Access Point manufacturers and software providers pushing hard to bring open source based disaggregation to the WiFi World. Disaggregation meaning the separation of the hardware from software, such that a Cloud based WiFi controller from one software vendor can interoperate with Access Point hardware from multiple – and different – vendors. So hello diversity of supply and goodbye vendor lock. Being built on an open source foundation means unprecedented velocity in development and democratization of the ecosystem.

It seems there is strong appetite to extend this approach beyond WiFi and with a little nudging from WiFi providers we and our ecosystem partners started working on a similar approach for LAN switches. Naturally, the project is called OpenLAN. When applied to switches the successful approach taken for WiFi means having an open source core technology foundation, and using the same harmonized software interface to the Cloud. The result is when a WiFi provider combines OpenWiFi and OpenLAN, they get a unified access architecture with management and workflow. Plus the benefits of open source now also apply to switches.

But what kind of switches? Eventually, there will likely be OpenLAN variants for all the categories from access, aggregation, core, data centers, etc. But the initial effort – driven by the early adopters of OpenWiFi – is focused on the access switches directly connecting Access Points. The initial “lineup” of switches in 2023 has the following attributes:

  • Has variants of 8/24/48 Ports with several upstream interface options
  • Support (strong) POE to power the Access Points
  • Low cost compatible with the WiFi providers business case requirements

If you attend 2023 HITEC Hospitality technology conference and exhibition in Toronto later this month, come by our booth for a demo of combined OpenWiFi and OpenLAN.

Bernard Herscovici
Founder and CEO at NetExperience
[email protected]