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Brocade To Get In Cisco's Face With Motorola 802.11 Wireless Tech

Brocade is OEMing Motorola 802.11 wireless switches, access points and security products in a move to offer fixed mobile convergence capabilities and provide a wireless services platform.

networking OEM

Brocade on Wednesday unveiled a strategic relationship with Motorola under which it will OEM that company's 802.11 wireless access point and controller technology for sale initially as a stand-alone wireless infrastructure while readying the ability to integrate that wireless capability into Brocade's wired LAN infrastructure.

The goal is to provide technology to service providers to help build wireless services as part of a shift toward cloud computing, said Ken Cheng, vice president and general manager of Brocade's IP products division.

"There is a lot of development going on around the cloud," Cheng said. "Brocade has a lot of experience here with our data center expertise. We will develop wireless capabilities for people using both public and private clouds, and let our customers add additional services."

Brocade, which was best known as a leading provider of storage networking technology, expanded its business into IP networking from its legacy storage networking with its $2.6 billion acquisition last year of Foundry.

Foundry previously had a three-year OEM contract with Meru Networks, Sunnyvale, Calif., which provided Foundry with wireless network capabilities, Cheng said.

"Instead of looking at wireless LAN as a point product, we wanted a partner with whom we can collaborate on other fronts. With Motorola, we can collaborate on cloud services and fixed mobile convergence."

Brocade's plans call for a three-stage rollout of the new Motorola technology-based products.

In the initial stage of the relationship, Brocade is OEMing three wireless access points and two wireless switches from Motorola, which it will sell under the Mobility brand.

It is also OEMing Motorola's wireless security products, which will be sold under the AirDefense brand. They provide wireless firewall, intrusion detection, and automatic cutting off of rogue wireless devices, Cheng said.

The Mobility access points include two models featuring the 802.11a/b/g specification and one featuring 802.11n, said Harry Petty, director of product marketing for enterprise campus networks at Brocade.

The two Mobility wireless switches will allow switching between wireless devices and between a network and wireless devices, Petty said. The switches can be clustered to scale to the needs of large enterprises, he said.

When used with the wireless switches, the Mobility wireless access points are combined in a mesh so that if one switch is unavailable for any reason, the wireless access points automatically connect to another switch to prevent disruption of the service, Petty said.

Brocade plans to launch the Mobility and AirDefense products through its direct sales force by year-end, with channel sales starting early next year, he said.

The next stage of the rollout includes integrating the new Motorola technology into Brocade's wired networking products, Petty said.

"This will let customers manage their wired and wireless products under one management console," he said. "It will also bring the wireless security features into our wired controllers, and help integrate voice over IP into our architecture."

This will involve integrating the Motorola technology into the FastIron Edge X Series switches, Cheng said.

"We'll have multiple blades in the FastIron chassis to let customers scale up," he said. "Those chassis have redundant power supplies and fans. And since many customers are concerned about wireless hacking, we want security to be built in."

In the third stage, which is expected to start rolling out in 2011, Brocade will make its wireless products available to service providers as a base on which to develop hosted service offerings related to wired and wireless networking and security, Petty said.

"We'll be able to help service providers build hosted cloud platforms with Motorola technology," he said.

The new Motorola relationship will give Brocade a new front in which to compete with its primary competitor, Cisco, Cheng said.

Motorola allows Brocade to introduce a wireless networking infrastructure that is more scalable than Cisco's, he said. And the Motorola technology is more sophisticated than Cisco's because of the redundancy between the switches and the mesh capability in the wireless access points, he said.

With the Motorola technology, Cheng said Brocade will be able to offer one more capability that Cisco does not have: fixed mobile convergence, or FMC.

"Unless you have a partner like Motorola, you can't have a service like FMC," he said. "With FMC, when you arrive at your destination, your wireless device automatically finds a wireless LAN, which allows VoIP and the ability to connect to a wired network infrastructure."

Cisco declined to comment on Brocade's new relationship with Motorola, with a Cisco spokesperson saying that the company does not comment on other companies' business decisions.

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