HP ProCurve Releases Its First Access Router

With the launch of the ProCurve Secure Router 7000dl series, HP is plugging a major hole in its product line, said Kevin Meany, director of technology at Versatile Communications, a solution provider in Marlborough, Mass. It's a move that should chip away at router sales of market-leading Cisco Systems, he said.

"This is our first ability to do an end-to-end ProCurve sale," Meany said. "We've always had to bring in third-party technology to do the WAN." In many cases, that third party was Cisco, he said.

Versatile's HP networking business has grown as the product line has evolved, Meany said. The company's ProCurve business this year is up 30 percent to 40 percent, he said.

Developed in-house by HP, the 7000dl family of access routers targets the SMB and branch-office markets and includes security features such as a stateful firewall and optional IPSec VPN capabilities, said Amol Mitra, director of worldwide product marketing for ProCurve Networking at HP, Palo Alto, Calif.

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"Given Cisco's lion's share [of the] market share in this space, one of the things we're focused on and differentiated on is making this platform easy to use, easy to manage and at the same time driving and delivering the ProCurve value proposition--which is lifetime warranty, free software upgrades, free phone end-user support, etc.--into this product class," Mitra said.

The new WAN products are a "huge introduction" for HP that squarely target the recently launched 2800 Series Integrated Services Routers from Cisco, said Nick Lippis, president of analyst firm Lippis Consulting. The inclusion of a lifetime warranty should drop maintenance expenses on the routers, which can commonly add about 18 percent to the acquisition cost of new equipment, Lippis said.

The new router will be available in two models: the 7102dl, which supports up to four T1/E1 connections, and the 7203dl, which supports up to 12 T1/E1 connections. Both models are scheduled for availability in April. Pricing has not yet been finalized.

In addition to the router, the company is rolling out the ProCurve Switch xl Access Controller Module for its ProCurve 5300xl edge switch, which integrates identity-based security features for wireless users. The same functionality is available separately through the ProCurve 720wl wireless switch.

The new module is scheduled to ship in April with an estimated list price of $5,499.