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Aruba, HP partner on WLAN outsourcing

Aug 02, 20043 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork SecurityWi-Fi

* WLAN switch vendors get more money

If the prospect of buying, installing, and managing wireless LANs on a large scale seems particularly daunting, you can opt for a managed Wi-Fi service from HP, according to HP partner Aruba Wireless Networks.

According to Aruba, HP – which occupies a prominent seat at the enterprise table – has become an Aruba partner offering managed Wi-Fi services, including integration and Help Desk services, based around Aruba wireless switches, lightweight access points and security audits.

Enterprises can pay a monthly fee to HP, which will assume the soup-to-nuts role of integrating network interface cards (NIC) and drivers, clients and back-end systems with the Aruba gear, and making sure changes in one part of the IT environment are in sync with others.

“The systems integration component of wireless deployments in large enterprises is quite a challenge,” acknowledges Keerti Melkote, Aruba vice president of product marketing. On the Help Desk side, he says, HP will assist end users who don’t understand how to log on to the wireless network. And it will resolve two-factor authentication integration issues for enterprises, such as blending the use of token cards with RADIUS servers.

Melkote says HP will also iron out nits such as figuring out if connections aren’t working because the latest Microsoft wireless driver has not been installed.

Aruba, in the meantime, has said that its centralized WLAN switches support the newly ratified 802.11i standard for security, although Wi-Fi Alliance interoperability testing will not begin until September. Also, NICs and client software must support the various components of 802.11i, including Advanced Encryption Standard, and Melkote says Aruba is working with Microsoft to support 802.11i, also called WPA2, in Windows.

Meanwhile, Aruba last week announced a third round of financing, $27 million, bringing the company’s total backing to $59 million.

WLAN switch company Airespace, an Aruba competitor, last week also announced that it has landed another $20 million in funding, bringing total investment in the company to $58 million. During the past year, Airespace has also announced a number of partnerships, including OEM agreements with Alcatel, NEC and Nortel.


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