Alcatel-Lucent challenges Cisco, Brocade unified access

By , Network World |  Mobile & Wireless, Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent is offering its enterprise switch users a free software upgrade to converge wired Ethernet networks with wireless from Aruba Networks.

Aruba and Alcatel-Lucent have had a longtime partnership to jointly market and integrate each other's products. This software upgrade is an extension of that and is designed to bring all campus networking products under one view with consistent BYOD management.

The plan is similar to unified access strategies from Brocade and Cisco. Brocade ended a four-year arrangement with Motorola to enter into a new one with Aruba.

[THE COMPETITION:Cisco takes next steps to blend wired, wireless networks]

The free software provides an interface between Alcatel-Lucent's OmniSwitches, OmniAccess routers and OmniVista network management system to Aruba's ClearPass access management system, software that allows enterprises to provision and manage mobile devices. The software performs device configuration, guest registration, troubleshooting and monitoring across wired and wireless networks.

Also supported is Aruba's AirGroup Services under ClearPass Policy Manager, which enables end users and IT administrators to self-register Apple devices and set access limits to them.

The software also features automatic configuration of 802.1X security and certificates for laptops, tablets, printers and cameras. Alcatel-Lucent is also offering professional services to support customers deploying the unified access and BYOD management system.

Even though Alcatel-Lucent's unified access software is free, Aruba ClearPass is not: pricing for ClearPass starts at $6,500 for a 500-device Virtual Machine license and $10,000 for an appliance license, both of which include device profiling and policy management. Additional BYOD services, like onboarding and guest access, etc., are priced separately, varying by service and block of license.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 27 years, 22 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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