HP releases kit to unify business networks

Hewlett-Packard's ProCurve network division is showing new hardware allowing companies a unified wired and WLAN network. ProCurve's global mobility product manager, Kail Krall, said, "We're providing a single 'pane of glass' to manage both user policy and devices [wired and wireless] across the network." The new hardware includes a Wireless Edge Services xl Module for HP's 5300 series switches, a Redundant Wireless Services xl Module and three thin access point models (HP calls them "Radio Ports"). These models are the 210, 220, and 230 and they differ in their use of external and internal aerials and 802.11 wireless standards.

Note that HP has also released a fat AP, the Access Point 530, characterized by an on-board Radius server. It is aimed at firms needing local authentication or remote site failover. HP says it can deliver a complete end-to-end system for a centrally managed WLAN, including the network infrastructure as well as devices for staff, such as Intel Centrino-based notebooks and 802.11-based WiFi PDAs.

HP's moves comes at an opportune time. IDC's Evelien Wiggers says that firms are getting used to mobile email and wireless access, but that deployment of WLANs is more common in some industries than others. She added that consumer wireless systems are spreading faster than business ones (see story above about consumer demand driving UK WiFi equipment sales). "But vendors have seen demand picking up for centralized-architecture WLANs. However, there are still challenges, such as the need to motivate CIOs [to support WLANs], and to develop specific WLAN-focused applications, and further improve security and operational management."

For more on HP's new kit:
- see this ITWeek report

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