HP snubs own WLANs for Cisco’s

The two vendors 'maintain relationships' with many partners

Hewlett-Packard’s services division has signed a deal to use Cisco’s wireless LAN kit —snubbing HP’s own wireless networking products.

HP Services has launched a systems integration practice that will plan and build “pervasive” WLANs for companies. However, it has decided to go with Cisco hardware and software instead of buying from HP’s ProCurve networking division, which has been competing with Cisco in the LAN switch market.

So why use Cisco and not Procurve? The official line is that HP “maintains relationships with a wide range of business partners” and ProCurve and Cisco are no exceptions. “The past few years have proven that HP’s ProCurve networking business and the Cisco partnership can profitability co-exist,” an HP spokesman says. “HP’s relationship with Cisco does not have a direct impact regarding direction or decisions regarding the ProCurve business.”

In reality, of course, HP Services has made the choice because it’s what large customers want from an outfit of that kind, and it’s gone for a large established brand for the same reason. The networks in question will support applications such as security, location-based services, voice and guest access to WLANs.

But ProCurve may also have been snubbed because of internal politics and product specifications: the division has fought to establish the ProCurve brand’s independence, which allows it to compete more directly with other switch vendors.

Also, its wireless switch is a recent addition, and HP Services may have felt it is unproven.

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