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Networking Channel News Roundup, Jan. 12-16

This week's headlines: Cisco CTO could be U.S. tech czar; SonicWALL adds deal registration; WLAN credit card compliance tightens

Cisco CTO likely Obama technology czar

Cisco Systems chief technology officer Padmasree Warrior is one of a few finalists for the newly created position of U.S. CTO for the Obama administration, Business Week reported last week. Warrior's main competition comes from Vivek Kundra, the CTO for the District of Columbia. Before joining Cisco in 2007, Warrior had been with Motorola for 23 years. Since joining Cisco, she has become a high-profile face of the company, keynoting industry conferences and often speaking to the press. Though Warrior would not comment on her possible appointment, she wrote in a statement: "Cisco is committed to working closely with the Obama Administration on their plans to deploy digital infrastructure to grow our economy and create jobs. Smart networking technologies and IT play a critical role in transforming government, energy, education, and healthcare." GigaOM's Om Malik points to Warrior as a favorite in the pick because she was in Chicago during her Motorola tenure and has also spent much of her career working on government projects.

SonicWALL pumps up channel with deal registration

SonicWALL has added channel deal registration, as well as new specializations for enterprise and managed services, reported last week. SonicWALL already has a reputation for having a strong channel program. Deal registration only adds to that by allowing partners to document new customers and pricing so that deals can't be poached by competitors. These channel improvements, dubbed Channel 2.0, debuted alongside SonicWALL's new SSL VPN appliance for enterprises and a new security appliance for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Google pushes Apps Reseller Program

Google is seeking partners for its Google Apps Reseller Program. Partners will receive discounts, training and marketing material to sell Google's hosted productivity and communications software, reported last week. Partners will have the opportunity to sell Google Apps Premier Edition, which includes Gmail, Google Docs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, Google Calendar, Google Video sharing and Google Talk. Google will continue to sell direct, but salespeople will receive incentives to work with channel partners. In this endeavor, new Google partners will go to battle with Microsoft's massive channel.

Nortel bankruptcy filing? No worries. Check out the new Ethernet switches

When Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovsky promised that the company's daily operations would be business as usual after filing bankruptcy, he wasn't joking. Right before news of the bankruptcy broke (see Nortel bankruptcy: Timeline of a fall), the company also announced updates to its Ethernet switch line. The Nortel Ethernet Routing Switch (ERS) 5600 family includes five switches that can be deployed in the data center or at the edge, distribution and core layers of the network. The switches are compatible with existing ERS 5500 switches, enabling interoperability between existing and incoming equipment. The 5600 also includes one model with support for up to 96 Gigabit Power over Ethernet ports.

Credit card compliance standards tighten for the Wireless LAN

Wireless LAN (WLAN) solution providers can find a new pool of service opportunities in helping users address compliance issues and requirements that are getting stricter. Now the payment card industry (PCI) data security standard has tightened rules for processing credit cards on WLANs. For one, beginning March 31, wireless transmissions of cardholder data are prohibited from implementing WEP encryption. Companies that fail to adhere to standards face heavy fines and a possible revocation of credit card processing rights. Some companies choose to do monthly compliance checks rather than a rush-audit once a year, while others have full-time compliance administrators. Either way, partners have the potential to lend a hand in network compliance planning.

Quality unified communications means measuring user experience

Ensuring unified communications (UC) quality means more than just monitoring network flow and packet loss: It means measuring user experience, reported last week. A number of network management vendors are angling to sell their wares to these users. Solutions range from network behavioral analysis tools to a company that builds algorithms to examine how users experience voice and video. That tool takes into account network conditions, activity and the devices used to access voice and video.

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