Dell Goes to Aruba for Wireless Enterprise Gear

By Sean Michael Kerner

August 17, 2010

The PC and server giant enters into a new deal with Aruba for wireless tech as its enterprise networking push continues.

Dell is expanding its networking portfolio with a deal to market a series of wireless technologies from Aruba Networks (NASDAQ: ARUN). Through the multiyear deal between the two companies, several Aruba wireless technologies will now be sold as Dell's (NASDAQ: DELL) PowerConnect W-Series networking portfolio.

Michael Tennefoss, head of strategic marketing at Aruba, explained during a conference call announcing the deal that Dell will be taking on a number of Aruba technologies that it plans to market under the PowerConnect W-Series product line. The gear includes the 3000-series controllers, targeted at mid-market enterprise customers with support for up to 128 access points. The 600-series controllers, also involved in the two companies' OEM deal, are designed for branch offices and small businesses with support for up to 64 access points.

Additionally, Dell will be including Aruba's full suite of indoor 802.11n access points as part of the PowerConnect W-Series. One key feature of some models of the 802.11n access points include enabling administrators to analyze local radio spectrum to ensure the best connectivity. Rival wireless vendor Cisco has a similar offering it calls Clean Air.

Dell will also now also offer Aruba's Airwave wireless management suite, which enables an enterprise to administer both Dell PowerConnect W-Series devices as well as wireless access points from other wireless vendors.

"This solution set allows Dell to cover the complete market from small branches up to larger enterprise," Tennefoss said. "All of the products will bear the 'powered by Aruba Networks' logo that allows Dell's sales force to trade on Aruba's strong brand name and also offers a solution under the Dell umbrella that allows for single source for support all the way from the mobile edge back into the core of the network."

Larry Hart, senior manager for networking at Dell, said the PowerConnect W-Series gear would be priced competitively and delivered as part of a complete Dell solution, but added that he couldn't comment about revenue specifics stemming from the Aruba OEM arrangement.

For Dell, reselling gear from other vendors to deliver a complete networking portfolio is part of its overall networking strategy. The company recently expanded its server, storage and networking products with the help of new OEM gear from Juniper Networks and Brocade.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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