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Cisco penta-gone from Pentagon as Aruba rolls in a new net

3,000 Wi-Fi access points and 150,000 wired ethernet ports

The Pentagon, the colossal office that serves as the headquarters of the United States’ Department of Defence, plans to install 3,000 new Wi-Fi access points and 150,00-plus wired ethernet ports after turfing out old Cisco kit.

Aruba is both the source of news that Cisco’s been given its marching orders, and the supplier of the new kit. But the biz has not scooped the entire pool: its canned statement says it was asked to supply “software-defined networking capabilities in a solution that could interoperate with other vendors and systems.”

The company is chuffed nonetheless, as it’s been trusted to build a rig that can handle classified and everyday traffic without requiring two sets of physical infrastructure. Which is probably why the DoD has acquired plenty of Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager, the vendor’s role-based-access tool.

“In the future, the Pentagon will consider using ClearPass to unify access control for wired and wireless access across all network classifications,” said Aruba’s announcement of its win

The Register understands Cisco bid for the gig after its incumbent kit was deemed to have reached end-of-life, at which point the DoD sought a new network in line with its digital modernization agenda.

The DoD tender and details of the awarded contract are elusive; however investment analysts have suggested it could be a nine-figure score for Aruba with years of maintenance and licencing to flow from the initial win.

HPE, Aruba’s owners, see the networking company as a likely source of faster growth as organisations refresh and extend Wi-Fi implementations that both struggle to scale and lack the sophistication such platforms have acquired in recent years. ®

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