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As one of the last independent providers of wireless networking products, Xirrus is more dependent on the channel than ever.

To shore up those relationships, Xirrus revamped its channel program to include deal-registration options that protect solution provider margins, new lead-generation programs, an updated sales portal and the launch of Xirrus University, a free online sales and technical certification program that promises to teach partners how to sell Xirrus products and allows them to connect and share insights with each other.

As a manufacturer of wireless networks that span everything from individual rooms to stadiums using access points that can be configured with between two to 16 radio antennas, Xirrus gives solution providers a vendor partner that enables them to scale in any direction required, according to Jillian Mansolf, chief marketing officer for Xirrus.

The new Xirrus Xcellerate channel program now features three Authorized, Premiere and Elite levels. To help partners sell Xirrus wireless networking products and services, the company has also established an inside sales team dedicated to drumming up qualified leads for channel partners, Mansolf said.

“We’re making a lot of sales-enablement resources available to our partners,” said Mansolf. “We want to make sure the leads we generate are of a high quality.”

In addition, Xirrus has created a Proposal Generator tool that Mansolf said quantifies the company’s value versus that of competitors and has created customizable vertical marketing campaigns, data sheets and online resources that can all be co-branded.

Finally, Xirrus is making available free demo equipment for qualified sales opportunities along with providing free access points for passing sales and technical certification.

With Aruba Networks now part of Hewlett-Packard and Fortinet planning to acquire Meru Networks, Xirrus is betting that a significant portion of the channel will want to partner with a wireless networking manufacturer that is not nearly as widely distributed.

While that remains to be seen, most solution providers in times of disruption brought on by mergers and acquisitions generally do prefer to hedge their bets as much as the size of their line cards can reasonably allow.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.