Dell Revamps Wireless Gear With Faster Speeds, Easier Management

As part of its networking refresh, Dell adopted the faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol for its Networking W-Series access points, up from 802.11n, tripling wireless speeds to 1.3 Gbps. Dell also introduced new Dell Networking N-series 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches, which use open standard protocols and include technology to interface with Cisco protocols.

Dell said its new switches help companies manage "network peripheral sprawl" in the workplace, saving space and operational expenses with equipment that easily plugs into existing server racks.

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The third networking product is Dell's Networking C-Series chassis, which the company boasts as being versatile, modular (supporting 1/10/40GbE switching system), and space-optimized.

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In an interview with CRN, Alan Atkinson, vice president and general manager of Dell Storage, said the release of the three new networking products, which Atkinson referred to as "new campus solutions," offers a network architecture that can streamline access for a mobile-centric workplace that's being increasingly taxed by employees BYOD gear and bandwidth. Dell 220 series wireless access points, for example, offer centralized configuration, data encryption, policy enforcement and network services, as well as distributed and centralized traffic forwarding.

"Most campus environments were designed 20 years ago for the wires and tubes," Atkinson said. He told CRN that the Dell Networking C-series is part of the company's end-to-end infrastructure allowing standardized systems across multiple locations -- all with the flexibility to support future improvements.

Networking has been a bright spot for the fading PC champ, with its network business representing 19 percent year-to-year growth for the company. According to analyst firm Dell'Oro Group, Dell is now the No. 3 provider of blade switching (hardware for virtualized data center infrastructures) by revenue. IBM and Hewlett-Packard are the top two.

Those networking strides are aimed at accelerating both the adoption of Dell technology deeper into the enterprise and the nascent market for software-defined networking. Dell, along with rival HP, is one of only a handful of companies to offer soup-to-nuts server, networking and storage.

Dell's networking news coincides with related news from Dell's storage team surrounding its EqualLogic flash-based storage arrays, which boast half the latency of hard disk-based arrays and offer higher performance levels at cheaper prices.

The news announcements come just days ahead of Dell World, the company's partner conference, which officially kicks off Wednesday in Austin, Texas.

Dell Networking W-series is available worldwide Tuesday. Dell Networking N-series availability is expected in early 2014. Dell Networking C-series with POE+ and 10G line cards is available Tuesday, while 40G line cards are expected in the first quarter 2014, according to Dell.