Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard (HP) see the wireless LAN as something that can help the whole enterprise, not just departments.
On Tuesday, HP launched a systems integration practice to plan and build wireless LANs as a strategic asset. The practice uses Cisco hardware and software that can support applications such as advanced security, location-based services, voice and LAN access for guests and visiting contractors.
In enterprises, wireless LANs were first set up by individual departments that had specific uses for them, but Cisco and other vendors have been scaling up their offerings for more general deployments. HP, a long-time Cisco partner with enterprise credibility worldwide, will promote and carry out such deployments through its services business.
HP will take advantage of Cisco's Light Weight Access Point Protocol, a management protocol that lets enterprises centralize network intelligence. This approach can bring faster deployment of the whole network and simplify management, according to the companies.
Over time, HP's experience in putting together Cisco wired networks should help in achieving Cisco's long-term goal of integrating wired and wireless LANs, said Ben Gibson, Cisco's director of mobility solutions marketing.
Emerging capabilities of wireless LANs, such as location-based services, will make them useful across enterprises, Gibson said. For example, the networks can be used in conjunction with RFID (radio frequency identification) to keep track of physical assets, he said. In addition, unified messaging systems could use employees' locations as part of presence information, informing other workers whether they were within reach of their desk phones or PCs.
The new systems integration practice is available now. The relationship is not exclusive, the companies said.