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Aruba Networks Replaces Cisco in Starbucks

Sarah Thomas

Aruba Networks is the WiFi router vendor that Google will be bringing in to 7,000 US Starbucks to replace AT&T and Cisco's gear in the coffee chain. (See Is Google the New WiFi of Coffee Snobs?)

The official word of the parties involved, including Starbucks, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is a "no comment" on which companies supply present or future routers, while AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) did not respond, and Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) had no new information at press time. (See Google, Starbucks Start AT&T Router Swap.)

That being said, Light Reading community members have apparently unearthed the answer on their own. Using Android's WiFi Analyzer app, one member observed Cisco WiFi routers in 15 Starbucks in Midtown New York, all using AT&T's WiFi service, which meshes with what Light Reading observed in Chicago.

Another community member, alexboone40, pointed out that Aruba Networks CEO Dominic Orr confirmed its partnership with Google on the company's fourth-quarter earnings call last Thursday.

"And regarding the specific North America, the Starbucks, Google deal, all I can tell you is Aruba products were provided, and to be provided, to replace the incumbent for the rollout of the Wi-Fi services in all the Starbucks in the United States," Orr said in response to an analyst question, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "This is just starting and it is going to be a multi-quarter effort."

Orr went on to say that Aruba has finished all the Canadian Starbucks stores, which is a small faction of what is in North America, and it's just starting on the US portion now.

Google will eventually be completely replacing all the routers with its Aruba gear. It expects the process to take 18 months. Cisco would not confirm if it was the exclusive supplier for AT&T's 7,000 store deployment, but it's safe to say it will be getting the boot from several Starbucks locations, in the least.

Ruckus Wireless Inc. (NYSE: RKUS), which Google held a 5 percent stake in, appears to have switched loyalties to Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS). As another enterprising community member, @jopocop, points out, Arris now lists its products online post Motorola-divestiture from Google in April. (See Arris Secures Motorola Home.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
9/5/2013 | 1:38:41 PM
Switchover has started
Looks like the first signs of switchover have been spotted on Wall Street. Rich Brome, noticed it there: https://twitter.com/rbrome/status/375673553133125632. I'm going to KC Google Fiber territory this weekend, so I'll check out if it's happening there too.
User Rank: Moderator
8/29/2013 | 5:56:44 PM
Re: Community spirit
Dan, Could it be the enterprise class will stay with the 2.4 Ghz ISM band for a while longer while the carriers sort out the 3.5 Ghz proposal for Carrier Band Wi-Fi?  Then it would be more appropriate for a BelAire Networks or improved Cisco or Juniper WAP.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
8/29/2013 | 12:48:17 PM
Re: Community spirit
Yeah, I thought we were on to something with the Google/Ruckus tie up.
User Rank: Blogger
8/29/2013 | 12:46:39 PM
Re: Community spirit
Yeah, just interesting that neither deployer has chosen carrier WiFi gear over stuff that is traditionally used in the enterprise setting.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
8/29/2013 | 10:40:43 AM
Re: Community spirit
Good point, Dan. Cisco was an AT&T partner though. Seeking Alpha, which picked up our story today, points out that Cisco is still leading in the enterprise. Aruba needed the Starbucks win more than it did.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
8/29/2013 | 10:37:51 AM
Re: Community spirit
Now this is what community is all about! I'm glad the WiFi Analyzer app was brought to my attention too. It's good for not just sleuthing out who makes the gear, but also showing you how crowded WiFi channels are so you can pick the best network. Check it out.
User Rank: Blogger
8/29/2013 | 10:22:59 AM
Re: Community spirit
Interesting that both Starbucks deployments have used what we would consider enterpise rather than carrier WiFi gear.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/29/2013 | 9:18:42 AM
Community spirit
Great job in sniffing this out, Community! Starbucks franchises in San Jose should get ready for a downturn in business.
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