When Cisco Systems casts its net--in wireless infrastructure, general network infrastructure or just about anywhere else in networking--few areas of the market are left untouched. And there are few areas where it doesn't invite its enormous channel to play. That's part of what has endeared Cisco to the channel year after year, and also why it has captured top honors in the Wireless Infrastructure category in the ARC for eight years running.
There's market strength in being a titan, too, especially in a rough economy. New wireless providers enter and exit the market all the time; with Cisco, notes one partner, "No one has a fear of whether they're not going to be here in two years."
"Among wireless providers, they spend more in R&D, and overall there's just a more cohesive story to their unified network architecture," said Don Seiler, business development manager for unified communications at World Wide Technology, St. Louis. "They provide themselves and for their channel the ability to go in and provide a full portfolio for an enterprise, and that helps get away from support for multiple manufacturers and gives the ability to have a key strategic partner."
Cisco scored 101.5 in the quality and reliability criteria, and bested second-place D-Link and other competitors in every other criteria, often by margins of 5 points or more.
"I'll say it as I've said it in the past: The secret to our success is a focus on the customer and the partner--the partner is just as important to us as the customer, and partners are absolutely the route to market," said Richard McLeod, director of unified communications solutions for Cisco's worldwide channels team.