Sunday, November 02, 2008

Green wireless

Aruba fosters "green wireless" research

Aruba Networks has lifted the veil from its 2-year-old advanced wireless research group, Aruba Labs, and added a new research project to study the environmental impact of all-wireless workplaces.

Aruba Labs fosters research in all areas of wireless LANs. It does so by leveraging Aruba engineering and technical resources and working with customers, many of them colleges and universities, on research topics.

Read the latest WhitePaper - A Guide to Troubleshooting Application ProblemsThe research group (whose budget Aruba won't disclose) has three main components. The developer program supplies open-source software development kits and APIs to help participants quickly build and work with new wireless applications, says Michael Tennefoss, head of strategic marketing for Aruba. Examples include a Linux implementation of the CAPWAP protocol, and a network-aware RF spectrum mapping tool, all designed to open Aruba access points for experimental wireless networking. (Compare enterprise wireless LAN products.)

The Advanced Directed Research Program brings together selected customers with Aruba engineers to work on what Tennefoss calls "blue sky problems" in wireless networking. The projects can include sponsored research, joint development work, and grant-funded programs, with Aruba typically offering equipment, mentoring relationships with Aruba engineers, teaching and training materials, and several options for making public the research results, including presentations at the company's annual "Airheads" user conference.

The third and new program is dubbed the Green Island Project, and it's focused on studying the overall environmental impact of the all-wireless workplace. The program is seeking research proposals from education customers, and in addition to the existing tools, will incorporate Webinars and lectures, direct help from Aruba Labs engineers and funding help from the Aruba Foundation.

The main areas of interest are energy and resource consumption of wireless networks, the impact of wireless on mobile users' productivity and efficiency, how wireless can affect space and architectural planning, and the total cost of wireless network ownership over time.

Wireless research is a hot area for higher education. K-12 schools lack those research resources, Tennefoss says, but not the interest. Technology and the environment are topics of discussion in classes, and are often featured in science fair and similar projects, he says. Green Island will offer schools the chance to flesh out these ideas with money, materials, and engineering support, for individual, group and class projects.(

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