Aruba, AlcaLu Team for Enterprise FMC

Enterprise wireless LAN vendor Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) is strengthening its ties with major OEM partner Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) through a new joint venture. (See Aruba, AlcaLu Plan JV.)

The pair are to develop a secure enterprise convergence system that will allow corporate users to switch among multiple types of wired and wireless networks.

They say the joint venture will work to add secure wireless LAN switching modules to AlcaLu's future LAN switches, unified messaging, and teleconferencing systems. AlcaLu also says it will sell an enterprise mobility system based on the two firms' technology.

Aruba has already started work on its FMC strategy. It is initially working on developing hooks into third-party PBXs, and a "handover helper" that lets the system switch connections among wired, WiFi, and cellular networks. (See Aruba Outlines FMC Strategy.)

Security will be a key element of the joint FMC venture. In May, Aruba unveiled its Mobile Access Point software, which deploys role-based user access control, stateful firewalling, and split tunneling for Aruba access points.

Aruba is marketing the product as "follow-me security" that associates security and access policies with individual users, as opposed to specific network ports. The firm says the joint venture will apply this software capability across multiple network types. (See Wireless: Fix, Not Flaw.)

Creating a joint venture isn't too much of a stretch for the duo, as they're already long-time partners. Alcatel-Lucent is Aruba's major OEM, as the startup revealed in its pre-IPO S-1 documents. For the six months ended January 31, 2007, Alcatel-Lucent accounted for approximately 21 percent of Aruba's total revenues. (See Whither Wireless IPOs?)

Alcatel-Lucent and Aruba are by no means the only WiFi-related firms eyeing corporate convergence as a hot market in the near future. Firms such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) are working with partners like Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and others, on different facets of FMC. And even WiFi startups like Bluesocket Inc. are now buying up enterprise FMC capabilities. (See Bluesocket Buys PingTel.)

Aruba has already had a busy week in the WiFi field, announcing the acquisition of Network Chemistry Inc. 's wireless security business. (See Aruba Buys Wireless Security Biz.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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