Aruba Antes Up With New Branch Office Wireless Switch


Aruba Wireless Networks this week revealed details about its first formal channel program as well as a new wireless stackable switch system for branch offices, both scheduled for release within 90 days.

Keerti Melkote, founder and vice president of product management at Aruba, San Jose, Calif., said the Aruba 800 Series, a scaled-down version of its enterprise-class 5000 series, is targeted at enterprise branch offices and small and midsize businesses.


Aruba 800 has eight 10/100 ports, supports up to 1,000 users, 100 access points.

"The 800 should be attractive to the channel because it's really plug and play, but there are plenty of services [that] channel partners can offer on top of the installation, such as RF monitoring, radio management and rogue access-point detection," Melkote said.

The Aruba 800, which sources said will be priced between $5,000 and $7,000, is a fixed device with eight 10/100 ports that support up to 1,000 users and 100 access points. Like the 5000 series, the new switch system is interoperable with existing infrastructures, Melkote said.

Wireless switches are designed to take functionality such as authentication, access policies, encryption and firewall protection out of access points and integrate it centrally within the switch.

Dave Butler, vice president of worldwide sales and channel development at Aruba, is working on an accompanying channel program, dubbed Project Hurricane.

"Along with traditional partner initiatives, we are focused on delivering blended margins partners can see over a period of time and helping partners establish strategic areas of expertise to layer on top of Aruba's products," Butler said, adding that traditional initiatives will include site survey tools, training and marketing support.

Aruba has about 20 channel partners and expects to add about 100 by the end of the year, Butler said.

Bill Rubin, president of Connect Technologies, a solution provider based in Redwood City, Calif., said his enterprise customers are showing interest in Aruba particularly because its switch works with legacy access points, a feature he said most other manufacturers don't include.

"We've talked to all [of the wireless switch vendors]," Rubin said. "Most seem to be selling switch ports where these guys are selling intelligence back

to the switch and not port count."