Wi-Fi Takes a Turn for the Innovative at Interop

Bigger, badder hardware gives way to innovative software and deployment strategies among Wi-Fi vendors at Interop '09.

 By Lisa Phifer
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Wireless mobility has gone mainstream. On the shrinking show-floor of Interop Las Vegas 2009, bigger, badder hardware has taken a back seat to innovative software and deployment strategies: virtualization, cloud computing, and mobile applications. Enterprise networking is becoming less about plumbing and more about business process enablement-on-site and off.

Wireless plays a starring role in this transformation, as enterprises and SMBs invest more extensively and exclusively in Wi-Fi for network access. But just cutting the cord is no longer big news at Interop. The wireless vendors making the biggest splash this week are those focused on mobilizing workforces on a broader scale, at lower cost.

Consider Interop's annual battle for Best of Show. Across the board, judges searched for products that enabled new business models, were easier to manage, and could do a lot more for less. For wireless mobile, it came down to three finalists: Cisco, Aruba, and Rhomobile.

Rhomobile: Overcoming cross-platform barriers

If you haven't heard of Rhomobile, you're not alone. While this young company didn't win the mobile wireless category, it did take home Best Startup by tackling an onerous mobility challenge in a simple, but elegant way.

From a small table-top at the rear of the show floor, Director of Business Development Cam Kramlich demonstrated RhoHub by creating very basic cross-platform mobile applications in real-time. RhoHub brings cloud computing to mobile application development, using the company's Rhodes Mobile Application Framework as a platform.

RhoHub is a hosted development environment for creating HTML or Ruby applications that are compiled to run natively on BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android, iPhone, and Symbian devices. The real magic is generating those OS-specific executables from a single source using the Rhodes framework, but Rhomobile didn't stop there.

With RhoHub, they made that framework easy to trial and deploy. Developers code using a Web portal to edit auto-generated XML stubs. Mobile users then visit a URL on a RhoSync server to download new apps over the air. According to Kramlich, this self-provisioning is possible for all five supported platforms, but prevented from downloading to iPhones to comply with Apple SDK licensing.

Read more about Cisco and other Wi-Fi heavyweights at Wi-Fi Planet.

This article was originally published on May 21, 2009
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