Meru Marches On Channel With WVoIP Program, Voda One Deal

The Meru Channel Partner Program, which was announced today by the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based WLAN vendor, was designed to educate new and existing partners on the ins and outs of selling and deploying the voice technology integrated into the Meru Wireless LAN System, said Ben Gibson, vice president of corporate marketing.

Meru, which makes about 60 percent of its revenue from indirect sales, also today announced it has struck a distribution deal with Westcon's Voda One division, a major Avaya channel partner, said Gibson.

While the Voda One deal can add partners, the Meru Channel Partner Program is essentially a mechanism to graduate as many partners as possible up from WLAN proficiency and into the ranks of WVoIP expertise, said Gibson. The structure of the program reflects this: There are only two program levels, one for all of Meru's existing WLAN-trained partners to be grandfathered into, and an upper deck where incentives increase after WVoIP certification takes place, Gibson explained.

"What voice does is change the way wireless needs to be deployed," said Gibson. "With voice, you are no longer just considering hot spots in guest lobbies and such. Once you add voice to the wireless equation you can't have anymore holes in coverage, so this program trains our VARs for the special requirements of voice over wireless LAN."

Sponsored post

What Meru sees as a sharp uptick in the use of Wi-Fi enabled phones makes the timing of its channel ambitions spot on, said Gibson. And even if a customer is only ready to deploy a WLAN for data traffic, having the credentials, and a vendor, to offer WVoIP down the road is a definite advantage for resellers, he said

"If I'm a VAR going head-to-head against another VAR bidding for a wireless LAN contract, I can go in and pitch a broader story [with WVoIP]," said Gibson. "I have a leg up to in helping to win that business."

Katie Brown, director of channel marketing at Microtech Information Systems, a Meru reseller in Rochester, N.Y., said one of the biggest selling points of Meru's WVoIP technology is the fact that the end-user experience doesn't drive people crazy.

"It almost sells itself when we perform a demo where we are downloading movie trailers over the WLAN and then simultaneously walking around on a Wi-Fi phone and not getting dropped off the call," Brown said, adding that the signal of Meru's system is so strong "we can deploy without a site survey."

Seamless WVoIP roaming and high-bandwidth performance are complimented by Meru's centralized WLAN management software, said Gibson. Security tools that can help prevent unauthorized devices from entering a network and detect rouge APs is integrated into the management platform. And later this year the vendor plans to add new software applications, such as tools that better manage wireless voice traffic, he said.

With Meru, VARs are able to offer their customers consolidation of wireless and voice traffic over a single network, a sales pitch particularly effective in vertical markets such as healthcare and education, said Gibson.