Enterasys, Meraki Wield WiFi Agendas

Enterasys doubles-down on its wireless strategy with a channel program boost built around its IdentiFi WAN technology. Meraki prepares its access points for wide scalability and more sophisticated BYOD demands. Both vendors are on track to capture the rising demand mobility brings upon company infrastructure.

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Enterasys Networks Inc. and Meraki, the Cisco-bound cloud networking company, are both focusing on the growing need for robust wireless networks. Enterasys is providing an expansion of its IdentiFi wireless solutions with a channel program boost, while Meraki focuses on the nuts and bolts of wireless with a feature-expansion for its access point technology.

IdentiFi is Enterasys's solution for "high density challenges," typically found in wide-scale deployments like educational institutions and manufacturing plants -- but that doesn't eliminate sprawling corporate campuses or mobile-heavy SMBs. IdentiFi is part of Enterasys's networking fabric, via the OneFabric Edge architecture, which can links access points, controllers, switches and network management capabilities under a single roof. This provides the much-needed visibility on network activity which partners and admins can use to maintain the "new normal" of "hyper-dense" wireless environments. With a promise of wired-like performance, partners can lead with Enterasys by promoting quality of service as a differentiating factor or roll IdentiFi into a value-added managed network offering

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To promote this through the channel, Enterasys's will be creating "several new programs" for its partners, designed to accelerate the move to WLAN solutions. Partners that team up with Enterasys will now have incentives that can provide up to 300 percent more potential sales payout, while new partners are rewarded with back-end rebates and marketing funds. Sales and technical training and courses are provided at no cost, and virtual classrooms are available for more advanced training. Enterasys says they have also "doubled [the] investment in co-marketing and demand generation through new WLAN marketing programs and additional personnel."

Getting the word out is a priority for Enterasys. And like Enterasys, Meraki is also looking create more manageable networking fabric out of wireless capabilities. The latest upgrades to the Meraki MR-series access points (APs) help improve upon networking visibility and scalability, topped off with analytic capabilities and remote cloud management.

The MR-series access points come equipped with a "tag-based configuration and management engine," delivering tight control over AP access policies, login and landing/splash pages, plus a variety of other accessibility controls for the network. Meraki also notes that this tagging technology will soon find its way into other Meraki features.

The most specialized addition to the MR-series APs is the introduction of the Bonjour gateway, a direct response to the huge demand on iOS-enabled Apple products. By baking in Apple's zero configuration service, AirPlay and AirPrint can be quickly enabled on large-scale networks. This also helps solution providers lead with a wireless networking solution that has BYOD in mind, since the Bonjour gateway can rope in traditionally unruly Bonjour traffic by maintaining separate networking pockets for specific devices and tasks.

Alongside the tagging engine, Meraki has also included a traffic shaping engine, helping organizations craft network activity to better meet quality of service, prioritize special services (like VoIP) and shift traffic based on network behavior patterns. Likewise, partners can use these traffic tools as a way to craft a new solution sets for customers or provide a consultative look into network activity and potential enhancements. With "layer 7 application fingerprinting," a deep dive on apps and services living on the network can allow a skilled partner to build network polices for firewall and scale out group-based restrictions and compliance requirements.

All of Enterasys's technology is out now. Meraki's wireless partners and customers will have to sit tight until halfway through December, but the upgrades to existing MR-series access points will come at no cost.

Both companies are well prepared for the coming wave of tablet-based computing, which makes their respective partners well prepared for demands that next-generation networking and computing will require. Considering the competitive sea of wireless infrastructure technology, Cisco's $1.2 billion investment in Meraki may be very well placed.

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