Cisco Expands SMB Channel With New Partners, Products

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Cisco Systems says it is adding 100 certified SMB-focused solution providers per week as it drives to bring on 10,000 over the next two years.

The SMB partner push is part of a broader effort by Cisco to press into the low end of the market, a strategy that was supplemented this week with the launch of new VoIP, wireless and networking products.

Cisco is adding SMB-focused solution providers to its Certified Partner Program via its recently launched Select certification.

Partners that have earned the new certification said it opens up to them a bevy of new tools, support and financial incentives.

"It gives us access to resources within the Cisco organization such as support technicians, engineers and project planners that other resellers just wouldn't have access to," said Andrew Lehrfeld, director of business development at Flexible Business Systems, a solution provider in Hauppauge, NY.

Cisco Monday extended its recently launched Unified Communications (UC) 500 Series small business VoIP platform to support up to 48 users, up from initial support for eight to 16 users with the first release.

With the new 32- and 48- user models, Cisco is adding 19-inch stackable units to the UC 500 line. The existing 8- and 16-user versions come in desktop form factors, said Rick Moran, vice president of SMB solutions marketing at Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

Cisco also introduced four new Catalyst Express Ethernet Switches, offering versions with 24 Fast Ethernet access ports, 24 Fast Ethernet access ports including four with Power over Ethernet (PoE) support, 24 Fast Ethernet PoE access ports or 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The vendor also revamped its 521 Wireless Express Access Point and 526 Wireless Express Mobility Controller, adding new guest access features, automatic policy configuration and simplified security settings.


NEXT: The march toward 10,000

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