Unleashing the Power of Open-Source Networking

Unleashing the Power of Open-Source Networking: My Journey with OpenWiFi, Edgecore Networks, and Beyond

At Edgecore Networks, we were already pioneering wireless disaggregation before the OpenWiFi project took center stage in 2019. Our vision was to leverage the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) to create Bare-Access Points. We started contributing hardware designs to the Open Compute Project (OCP) in 2017, but it wasn’t until the advent of OpenWiFi, with its OpenWRT-based software, that the pieces fell into place. Our OCP-accepted contributions include:

  • Edgecore ECWO7220-L: 3×3 Outdoor Wireless Access Point – Accepted in 2017.
  • Edgecore ECW7220-L: 3×3 Indoor Wireless Access Point – Accepted in 2018.
  • Edgecore ECW5410: 4×4 Indoor Wireless Access Point – Accepted in 2018.

More details here.

The Birth of OpenWiFi:

In 2019, I found myself in the heart of the inaugural gathering of the “TIP Wi-Fi founding group” at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The birth of a revolutionary concept, the OpenWiFi project, stole the show. As a proud member of Edgecore Networks, a trailblazer in the exhilarating world of open-source network solutions, I could hardly contain my excitement!

OpenWiFi Today:

Fast forward to today, and the OpenWiFi project has matured into a full-fledged giant, ready to reshape the world at any scale. Edgecore Networks fits into this grand scheme by providing a wide array of TIP-ready access points pre-installed with TIP’s Open AP software. These devices, including the Wi-Fi 6 models EAP101 and EAP102, are designed to provide superior capacity and reliability. They’re the superheroes of the Wi-Fi world, catering to an ever-growing legion of users who rely on Wi-Fi connectivity for pretty much everything.

Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into Edgecore’s Wi-Fi 6 Access Points:

EAP101:

EAP101
  • Enterprise-Grade, Concurrent Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Indoor Access Point.
  • Supports 2×2:2 uplink and downlink MU-MIMO, with up to 1.7Gbps aggregated data rate.
  • 3 x Built-in antenna (2 x 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz, 1 x Bluetooth Low Energy).
  • Gain: 4.8 dBi (2.4 GHz), 6 dBi (5 GHz), 4.6 dBi (BLE).
  • 1G/2.5G RJ45 PoE Uplink and 2 x 1G RJ45 LAN ports.
  • Equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and ZigBee.
  • Supports up to 32 ESSIDs – up to 16 per radio.
  • Performance: Up to 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz), Up to 1200 Mbps (5 GHz).
  • Wall/Ceiling/T-bar mount (Mounting kit included).

EAP102:

EAP102
  • Enterprise-Grade, Concurrent Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Indoor Access Point.
  • Supports 4×4:4 uplink and downlink MU-MIMO, with up to 2.9Gbps aggregated data rate.
  • 4 x Built-in antenna (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz).
  • Gain: 5.5dBi (2.4 GHz, BLE), 7.6 dBi (5 GHz).
  • 1G/2.5G RJ45 PoE Uplink and 1 x 1G/2.5G RJ45 LAN port.
  • Equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
  • Supports up to 32 ESSIDs – up to 16 per radio.
  • Performance: Up to 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz), Up to 2,400 Mbps (5 GHz).
  • Wall/Ceiling/T-bar mount (Mounting kit included).

Very interesting EAP104:

EAP104
  • Enterprise-Grade, Concurrent Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Indoor Wall-Plate Access Point.
  • Supports 2×2:2 uplink and downlink MU-MIMO, with up to 3Gbps aggregated data rate.
  • 5 x Built-in antenna (2 x 2.4 GHz, 2 x 5 GHz, 1 x BLE).
  • Gain: 3.9 dBi (2.4 GHz), 5.2 dBi (5 GHz), 4 dBi (BLE).
  • 1G RJ45 PoE Uplink and 4 x 1G RJ45 LAN ports (one with PoE out) plus 1 pass-through port.
  • Equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and ZigBee.
  • Supports up to 32 ESSIDs – up to 16 per radio.
  • Performance: Up to 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz), Up to 2,402 Mbps (5 GHz).
  • Wall-plate (standard bracket) / Wall mount (standard bracket) / Desktop (optional stand).

And another interesting AP but WIFI 5 under cost-optimized design which you can also use outdoor!

SP-W2-AC1200:

SP-W2-AC1200
  • Enterprise-Grade, Concurrent Dual-Band Wi-Fi 5 Indoor / Outdoor Access Point.
  • Supports 2×2:2 uplink and downlink MU-MIMO.
  • 2 x Built-in antenna (2 x 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz).
  • Gain: 6 dBi (2.4 GHz), 8 dBi (5 GHz).
  • 1G RJ45 PoE Uplink and 1 x 1G RJ45 LAN port.
  • Supports up to 16 ESSIDs – up to 8 per radio.
  • Performance: Up to 400 Mbps (2.4 GHz), Up to 866 Mbps (5 GHz).
  • Optional LTE Module.
  • Operating Temperature: -30ºC to 55ºC with IP55 Rating.
  • Wall/Ceiling/T-bar mount (Mounting kit included) / Pole (optional stand).

All of them we can operate as standalone or managed by Edgecore ecCLOUD, ecOPEN and EWS-Series controller, Edgecore VEWS Virtual Wireless LAN Controller and of course 3rd parties CLOUDs!

Advanced Technologies:

Edgecore’s Wi-Fi 6 access points also support advanced technologies like OpenRoaming and OpenMesh. With OpenRoaming, different Wi-Fi networks work together like a well-choreographed dance troupe, providing users a seamless, connected Wi-Fi experience. And OpenMesh? It’s like the friend who always has your back, allowing access points to wirelessly connect to each other, extending the Wi-Fi signal over a larger area, and minimizing those pesky dead zones.

Looking Ahead: Wi-Fi 7 and OpenLAN:

But wait, there’s more! Let’s talk about the Wi-Fi 7, the eagerly anticipated next generation in wireless technology. As Wi-Fi 6 is already making waves, Wi-Fi 7 promises to take things even further, with the possibility of supporting up to 30 Gbps of throughput. Edgecore is staying ahead of the curve, already working on Wi-Fi 7 solutions to provide faster, more reliable connections when it becomes available.

Now, every great access point needs a faithful sidekick, and that’s where the OpenLAN project steps in. OpenLAN Switching is building on the foundation of OpenWiFi to expand the project to provide a unified solution for LAN switches that has all the same attributes as OpenWiFi (open-source, multi-vendor, interoperable whitebox, hardened and validated E2E systems etc.).

OpenLAN Switching was specifically created to address these key requirements:

  • Support Wi-Fi 6E/7 and 6 Ghz AP’s that require new level of power to operate (PoE++).
  • Provide a common solution to WiFi & switching with a unified controller.
  • Future proofing network for immersive applications (extreme low latency, high bandwidth).

The recently unveiled ECS4125-10P, the world’s first OpenLAN switch, is a testament to Edgecore’s unwavering commitment to open-source networking. This advanced, fully programmable network switch is a Swiss army knife of solutions, providing a practical and cost-effective way to manage the increasing demand for network resources in a variety of settings.

The ECS4125-10P switch features:

ECS4125-10P
  • High-performance 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet access.
  • Perfect for SMBs, enterprise, and campus networks.
  • 8 x 1G/2.5G RJ45 ports and 2 x 10G SFP+ uplink ports, offering a smorgasbord of connectivity options.
  • PoE++ support Wi-Fi 6E/7 and 6 Ghz AP’s, nice 240W 802.3af/at/bt PoE budget, and a switching capacity of 80G.
  • L2+/Lite L3 routing and switching support.
  • Cloud manageable via ecCLOUD and soon ecOPEN.

The OpenLAN project, like a friendly neighborhood hero, realized that our Access Points needed a companion – a switch with Power over Ethernet (PoE). And thus, the OpenLAN switch was born, a testament to Edgecore’s commitment to open-source networking.

Third-Party Cloud Solutions:

But the OpenWiFi project isn’t just about hardware. It’s also about creating an ecosystem teeming with various third-party cloud options. It’s like a buffet of choices that enhances the flexibility and scalability of OpenWiFi, making it an irresistible solution for a wide range of users and use cases.

Several notable third-party cloud solutions have integrated with the OpenWiFi project. For instance, NetExperience provides an end-to-end cloud-native network software stack that streamlines network management and enhances user experience. Tanaza offers a cloud-based platform that allows users to operate and manage their Wi-Fi networks remotely, like puppet masters controlling their puppets from afar.

And of course, there’s Edgecore’s own ecCLOUD, a shining star in the open-source networking universe. This cloud-based controller simplifies device deployment, management, and monitoring. It’s like the trusty butler, always ready to help IT staff manage their networks with centralized intelligence and scalable solutions.

Nice but… What next? 😉

To sum it up, the OpenWiFi project, along with OpenLAN, has grown from a tiny seed in 2019 into a mighty redwood today. Thanks to the tireless efforts of founding members like Edgecore and the broad ecosystem of hardware and software options, it’s ready to revolutionize the world of Wi-Fi. As a networking professional and an ardent fan of open-source, I can barely contain my excitement! It’s an exhilarating time for wireless tech enthusiasts, and I can’t wait to see where this open-source revolution takes us next. Stay tuned, folks, because this ride’s only getting started!

And, oh! Nearly slipped my mind amidst all this excitement! Fancy giving these technological marvels a spin? Just ping me. We’ve just had a sea delivery docking into our warehouse, and we have more than 2,000 units each of EAP101, EAP102, EAP104 etc. and our first hero from the ECS4125 series – the 10P. So, whether you’re itching to test out these babies, or you have a project where a helping hand could be the difference between ‘meh’ and ‘wow’, remember – we’re here, ready to leap into action! Open-source networking is not just a revolution; it’s a party – and everyone’s invited! Until next time, folks, keep the Wi-Fi signals strong and the open-source spirit stronger!

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