Avaya Resells Meru for VoWi-Fi

Starting immediately, IP telephony infrastructure provider Avaya will not just be a co-marketing partner with Meru Networks. Avaya will actively resell the Meru MC-500, 1000, and 3000 controllers and the AP-200 access points to its own customers.

This is a more formalized agreement between the two companies than existed before, despite a relatively close past. Meru joined Avaya’s DeveloperConnection interoperability program in July. Both companies work with Voda One, a distributor that specializes in triple-play (voice/data/video) products and solutions.

“Anyone in Avaya direct sales can sell our products,” says Meru vice president of marketing Ben Gibson. “They have all the Meru part codes.”

Gibson says that Avaya “battles tooth and nail in the VoIP infrastructure space. It’s a tight battle, and they want to extend their value proposition” against companies like Cisco. Avaya reselling Meru’s “cellular WLAN” infrastructure equipment, which is geared directly to voice over Wi-Fi use, is a “key factor in deepening this relationship,” he says.

Meru last week announced a co-marketing relationship with Juniper Networks—no direct reselling there as yet. Juniper can provide end-to-end (wired and wireless) security for an enterprise that wants to utilize Meru equipment. Juniper and Avaya, similarly, have an existing partnership. Gibson says such “combined solutions can get more traction.”

Avaya and Meru decided to go the resell route rather than have Avaya try to rebrand equipment with its own name as an OEM. “It’s a faster time to market with a full solution,” says Gibson. “OEM agreements, there’s usually some customization involved, more time elapsed before you can go to market with a partner. There’s benefits to that, but in our case, the decision was to have quick traction in the field.” The two did interoperability testing when Meru joined the DeveloperConnection program, so they’re confident that the systems work well together.

Administrators looking to do VoWi-Fi with the two companies have a number of choices for phone systems. Avaya resells SpectraLink phones, and because Meru sells a version of the Hitachi-Cable Wi-Fi handset, Avaya sells it now as well. They’ll also work with specialty VoWi-Fi product makers like Vocera, which has a strong following in the healthcare space for its wearable, hands-free, voice recognition “badges.” Any Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based phone should work with the two companies’ systems as well. Avaya itself offers handsets and softphones for Windows and Pocket PCs.

Avaya previously had a collaboration with Motorola and Proxim to provide solutions for corporations that required heavy use of 802.11a. Status of that deal is unknown. Proxim recently was bought out by TeraBeam Wireless after facing financial trouble.

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