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Gitex is one of the largest IT exhibitions in the world and we have it right on our doorstep in Dubai. The event ran from September 25-29 and provided the perfect occasion for network professionals across the region to build relationships with suppliers and installers and learn about the cutting-edge technology that can take their business to the next level.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  October 3, 2005

Storming Gitex for network community|~||~||~|Gitex is one of the largest IT exhibitions in the world and we have it right on our doorstep in Dubai. The event ran from September 25-29 and provided the perfect occasion for network professionals across the region to build relationships with suppliers and installers and learn about the cutting-edge technology that can take their business to the next level. It is a must attend event for network professionals and also provides a showcase for network vendors that are new to the region. The most exciting of these from a network standpoint was F5 Networks. The multi million dollar Layer 4-7 switch vendor is a major player in the US and Europe and is looking to extend its network security and application traffic management solutions to the Middle East market. The firm used the show to meet potential clients and to cement its new partnership with regional distributor Secure Way. As part of its participation, F5 has brought its flagship product BIG-IP Version 9. The product, which accounts for 80% of the company’s business, is a local traffic management system that can provide intelligent and adaptable solutions to secure, optimise and deliver applications. Other new vendors included denial of service (DoS) attack focused security player Arbor Networks as well as Top Layer, which is an intrusion prevention systems (IPS) focused company. New companies flocking to the region signifies two things, first that the market is growing and increasing in sophistication. Secondly, it also shows that the networking field is playing an important role in this. It wasn’t just new players that grabbed the headlines at Gitex, many major companies used the show to announce important deals that will help them to form the alliances needed to stay alive in the ever more competitive networking world. One deal that caught the eye in particular was Alcatel’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the UAE’s Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT). The deal will see Alcatel providing training using its equipment for the twelve colleges. In the coming weeks, Alcatel will be installing an IP communication server free of charge and providing training to HCT teachers, who will in turn train students studying IT in XML application development. In line with this, the training that will be delivered by Alcatel will enable college students to design and develop their own XML applications through the company’s own application programming interface (API). This is very clever indirect marketing by Alcatel. It hopes to influence the next generation of network and IT specialists as they grow up learning their skills using Alcatel products and solutions. The thinking is that when the students graduate and enter the world of work they will naturally gravitate towards Alcatel solutions. It is a tactic that has also been used widely by Cisco in the region. In terms of technology, most of the show plaudits went to Intel for its WiMax demonstration. Intel stunned show delegates by carrying out the first regional demo of the solution by connecting the Cisco, Redline and Intel show booths in conjunction with DIC. The showcase gave users a glimpse of what life will be like when WiMax is adopted, and highlighted just how fast wireless broadband access will be when base stations are installed.||**||

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