Sputnik offers early, savvy adopters a chance to work with their new access point and Central Control: Sputnik's goal is provide high-quality wireless LAN systems that use their Central Control software to manage any number of access points that run their free firmware. Their revenue comes from per-AP license fees to using the Central Control, which can provide authentication, centralized configuration, access control list management, and other features.
The goal at Sputnik is suck the cost of WLAN deployment out of expensive APs: their firmware is designed to run on commodity equipment, including their own cheap AP 120 (currently $185 as part of their testing program). Actiontec, a Taiwanese maker of very very inexpensive Wi-Fi equipment, has Sputnik's firmware embedded.
Ultimately, you might be able to buy $100 APs and link together oodles of them to form a robust WLAN without spending $500 per point. Of course, there are always issues about how much management and how much Layer 2 activity you can control or offer with commodity gear that's not designed for the enterprise. But for probably 100,000 to a million middle-tier small to large businesses, this solution is more than good enough.
(Meanwhile, seven companies will be announcing switched WLAN products that will incorporate centralized management, Layer 2 options, roaming VLANs, and all kinds of AAA at Network+Interop next week -- the market's about to become crowded and baroque.)