Extreme To OEM Motorola Wireless Products As Part Of New Partnership


Extreme will now offer integrated wired and wireless networking infrastructure products using Motorola's WLAN capabilities -- including WLAN controllers, network management tools and wireless access points (APs) -- through Extreme's channel.

The products include Extreme's new WM3000 family of WLAN controllers -- the Summit WM3400 (with 22 APs), the Summit WM3600 (with 256 APs) and the Summit WM3700 (with 1024 APs). Software upgrades will include increased security and unified management capabilities, the companies said.

Extreme and Motorola will also work together to developed unified wired and wireless LAN product sets going forward that draw on both Motorola WLAN and Extreme XOS portfolios.

"Phase one is the OEM relationship," said Paul Hooper, vice president and general manager for volume products at Extreme. "Phase two is where we leverage the experience of Motorola and pull that into the existing Extreme experience. We will be delivering fully converged wired and wireless leveraging Extreme LAN and Motorola WLAN solutions."

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"It's the customers that will benefit," added Sujai Hajela, corporate vice president and general manager for enterprise WLAN at Motorola. "Now they get the best of both worlds without having to worry about management infrastructure. It's unified, with different levels of access, whether wired or wireless."

The key difference in how Extreme will develop products with Motorola, said Hooper, is that it wants to provide integrated wired-wireless instead of overlaying a wireless infrastructure on a wired infrastructure. The latter style of infrastructure is what's seen in many existing enterprises, he argued, forcing customers to run two networks -- wired and wireless -- with centralized controllers that don't scale to 802.11n and require separate policies for each.

"Wireless was that dream we all had that you'd be connected no matter where you were and be able to have the performance, security, stability and reliability everyone had come to expect from a wired network," Hooper added. "The CIO of tomorrow is the guy faced with everything from PCI compliance to users having the same expectations of air as they get from copper."

Extreme plans to unveil the partnership and products to channel partners at its North American Partner Conference Wednesday. European partners were briefed a week ago, Hooper said.

Hooper said Extreme took a look at Motorola's wireless portfolio offerings and saw it as among the "top three" vendors in both products and its penetration into key vertical markets like health care and education.

It'll also help Extreme as it competes with both wireless specialists like Aruba and networking giants like Cisco, he said.

"We're convinced this can help us take [market] share, and address the needs of the customer base," he said. "In the initial calls we've had with partners and customers, we believe we've hit the marks."

"Extreme has a very strong partner community, and we feel like the relationship has a lot more to offer us," said Hajela. "I wouldn't put my credibility on the line and stand on stage with Extreme if we did not."

The move comes on the heels of a similar Motorola partnership with Brocade Communications. Announced last week, that deal has Brocade OEM-ing Motorola's 802.11 wireless APs and controllers to be sold initially as standalone wireless infrastructure and later added into Brocade wireless LAN infrastructures.

"Where are we going with the Extremes of this world? Is our strategy going to be just OEM? My straight answer is no," Hajela said. "Motorola is committed to both of these companies [Extreme and Brocade] but both have their own play. The timing of both of these announcements was close, but [Extreme and Motorola] have been doing our due diligence together for nine to 10 months."

When announcing the strategic partnerships, both Motorola and its two OEM partners called out Cisco.

"Cisco claims they've got the whole unified thing, but you know and I know that Cisco's thing was to acquire AireSpace and bolt on IOS [Cisco's switching and routing software]. It's lip service from them," Hajela said. "Looking at Extreme as a pure wireless LAN vendor and looking at a wired/wireless play, it's one operating system -- it's truly unified -- and I think that's going to be a valuable difference."

Extreme Networks, for its part, has spent much of 2009 pushing substantial updates to its partner program and making moves to attempt to counter Cisco and other networking titans.

The company in August acquired Soapstone to broaden its Ethernet software capabilities, and earlier that month began offering limited lifetime warranties on some Extreme gear.

Earlier in October, Extreme updated its BlackDiamond 8800 switching family with BlackDiamond 8500-series modules, which Extreme said increase its ability to deliver end-to-end network deployments within a single chassis.

David Lover, CTO of Cross Telecom, a Bloomington, Minn.-based solution provider and a Diamond Elite Extreme partner, said he was encouraged by a lot of the moves Extreme's made in 2009. (Cross Telecom's primary telephony partner is Avaya, which resells Extreme Networks IP networking products and is another key Extreme partner.)

"They're doing some really interesting things with the feature sets of their products," Lover said. "I think a lot of what they do with switching infrastructure allows you to do some really creative things with Ethernet switches -- things in nontraditional ways. That's helping."