Cisco has introduced a new programme for resellers bidding to increase their sales in the burgeoning wireless public access market.
The networking giant's Public Access Specialisation is for resellers focused on the planning, design and implementation of equipment for high-speed access in public areas.
Cisco's offering is based around its traditional switching products combined with the Building Broadband Service Manager application. Cisco will offer training, products and other support.
Paul Salmon, director of technical operations, channels and alliances at Cisco, said: "This specialisation integrates multiple product categories and software applications to deliver a complete solution.
"It will help our channel partners differentiate themselves from competitors, pursue new markets and migrate to higher margin solutions."
It is the latest in a long line of Cisco initiatives aimed at exploiting market growth areas.
Greg Carlow, managing director at reseller Repton Computers, explained that Cisco specialisations are expensive but that one big deal resulting from the investment will pay for it 10 times over.
"Cisco is always looking at new areas and this one is logical. But we have not seen a stampede amongst our existing customers for [public access technology] yet," he said.
"This is all about the future, because customers are still trying to reduce spending."
Research firm IDC predicts that by 2006 there could be around 18,000 venues in western Europe offering this type of connectivity.
But Keith Humphreys, an analyst at EuroLAN Research, suggested that wireless hotspots will only take off in certain environments if the method of charging customers is sorted out.
"I think only hotspots in places where people spend time, such as hotels and airports, will be pervasive," he said. "This will only work if it is on a pay-as-you-go model."
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