Foundry Networks resells Meru's wireless LAN kit. So what is it doing supplying Aruba gear?

Foundry issued a release yesterday, saying it will be supplying US Government customers with Aruba wireless LAN switches - even though we've known for a long while that Foundry has an OEM deal to sell Meru's wireless LAN equipment.

Many US Government contracts require certification to the FIPS 140-2 Common Criteria, and Aruba's wireless LAN kit has been FIPS-certified for a couple of years, while Meru hasn't yet been certified.

"Meru has been unable to develop/deliver high security products," said Aruba spokesman Mike Tennefoss [or at least to get its equipment FIPS-certified]. "As a consequence Foundry is dropping Meru for Federal applications and co-marketing Aruba's high security solutions instead."

But the deal is only for a limited market and may only be temporary, according to Meru's vice president of marketin, Rachna Ahlawat. Meru is working towards FIPS-certification, and provides all Foundry's own-label wireless LAN equipment: "we continue to have a strong business partnership with [Foundry]," she said.

I have to admit that I don't know how big the market for wireless LANs in government contracts is - it may well be small, if security requirements are stringent.

No one from Foundry commented to us. The company's a bit hamstrung by the fact that - like many companies in a similar position - it won't publicly discuss the obvious source of its own-label equipment.