Cisco Ups The Wireless Ante

wireless WLAN

Through the Value Incentive Program (VIP), which already includes VoIP and security, Cisco provides substantial incentives to qualified partners that push its advanced technologies and meet customer satisfaction requirements.

"Given our new products, the acquisition we've done in wireless and the place the wireless market is in now, the timing is just right [to add wireless to VIP], said Keith Goodwin, senior vice president of worldwide channels at Cisco, in an interview at the Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego. "Now's the time to crank it up."

Effective March 15, partners that carry Cisco's wireless specialization are eligible to join the program. To get rebates, however, they must earn Cisco's new Advanced Wireless specialization. Partners have until Aug. 30 to attain the specialization and qualify for payouts.

Cisco hopes that the extra incentives offered through VIP will entice partners to get an early start on getting the new Advanced-level specialization, said Edison Peres, vice president of worldwide channel programs at Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

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The new specialization is part of the revamped channel program the company launched this week at the conference. Partners have two years to transition to the program's new requirements.

"We're trying to use the carrot and not the stick," Peres said.

Through VIP, qualified partners will earn back-end rebates of 3 percent on core wireless technologies, primarily composed of the vendor's lineup of access points, and 8 percent on advanced technologies, such as the WLAN controllers Cisco acquired via its acquisition of Airespace earlier this year.