HP ProCurve releases access router

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Hewlett-Packard's ProCurve Networking division has entered the WAN market this week with the introduction of its first router -- a move resellers said was long overdue.

HP has offered a ProCurve Secure Router 7000dl series to plug a major hole in its product line, said Kevin Meany, director of technology at Versatile Communications, a US-based reseller.

The move should chip away at router sales of market-leading Cisco Systems, he said.

"This is our first ability to do an end-to-end ProCurve sale," Meany said. "We've always had to bring in third-party technology to do the WAN."

Often, the third party was Cisco, he said.

Versatile's HP networking business has grown as the product line has evolved. The company's ProCurve business this year is up 30 to 40 percent, he said.

Amol Mitra, director of worldwide product marketing for ProCurve Networking at HP, said the 7000dl family of access routers had been developed in-house.

The range targeted SMB and branch office markets and had security features and optional IPSec VPN capabilities, Mitra said.

"Given Cisco's lion's share [of the] market share in this space, we've focused on making this platform easy to use, manage and [include] lifetime warranty, free software upgrades, free phone end-user support," he said.

Nick Lippis, head of US market research firm Lippis Consulting, said the WAN products were a "huge introduction" for HP that squarely targeted the recently launched 2800 Series Integrated Services Routers from Cisco.

A lifetime warranty should drop maintenance expenses on the routers. Maintenance can add about 18 percent to the acquisition cost of new equipment, he said.

The router will be available in two models: the 7102dl, which supports up to four T1/E1 connections, and the 7203dl, which supports up to 12 T1/E1 connections.

HP is rolling out the ProCurve Switch xl Access Controller Module for its ProCurve 5300xl edge switch, which integrates identity-based security features for wireless users. The same functionality is available separately through the ProCurve 720wl wireless switch.

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