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The Thin AP "Weight Debate"

We're facing similar thin-versus-fat issues with wireless LANs, except in this case, the access infrastructure devices--thin APs--have replaced the PC as the focus of our weight-watching efforts.

A Simple Start

Symbol Technologies kicked off the debate in 2002 with Mobius, a wireless LAN infrastructure that dumbed down the AP, off-loading many processing requirements to centrally managed switches. Given the immense financial and administrative challenges faced by IT pros who tried in vain to scale enterprise networks using conventional smart-AP technology offered by Cisco, Proxim and others, Symbol's solution was a breath of fresh air.

For many reasons, Symbol didn't fully execute on that vision, finding limited success mostly in its vertical market strongholds. In the carpeted enterprise, Cisco continues to dominate. However, Symbol's efforts paved the way for a cadre of start-ups, including Airespace, Aruba and Trapeze, to build on the promise of thin APs and centralized management.

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