Optical/IP Networks

Juniper & Meru Partner

Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) will announce a wide-ranging wireless LAN networking partnership on Tuesday with startup Meru Networks Inc.

The firms plan to market Meru's centrally managed wireless LAN products to both enterprise customers and service providers, according to Ben Gibson, VP of marketing at Meru. Since its inception, Meru has been heavily focused on pushing voice-over-WLAN, but that's not the be-all and end-all of the Juniper deal, Gibson tells Unstrung:

"Wireless VOIP is certainly a key consideration for this collaboration, but also broader applications for wireless LAN. There will be a strong focus on training Juniper's channels on Meru's solution to address both data-only and data-and-voice applications."

For the last year or so, there has been a lot of speculation about what route Juniper would take into the enterprise wireless LAN market (see Juniper's Wireless Hole). The company has been linked with other wireless LAN startups in the past (see Sources: Juniper Eyeing Trapeze and Airespace Creates Turbulence).

But up until now, Juniper only has a hotspot deal with Colubris Networks Inc. on the service provider side (see Colubris Finds Juniper's Hotspot). It introduced its first own-brand wireless LAN offering -- a security gateway -- in March (see Juniper Unwires NetScreen).

All of which is pretty small beans compared to Juniper's major rival, Cisco Systems Inc., which dominates the market for enterprise wireless LAN access points and bought its way into the WLAN switch market with its acquisition of Airespace for $450 million in January (see Cisco Buys Airespace).

Now Juniper appears to be trying to right this imbalance through the Meru partnership.

Gibson claims that Meru has been pretty circumspect when it comes to partnerships, noting that Juniper is already working with the startup's other big-name enterprise partner, Avaya Inc. (NYSE: AV). (See Roll On, Wireless VOIP and Avaya Certifies Meru WLAN.)

"Meru has been working very deliberately and selectively on our partnership strategy," says Gibson. "We have our partnership with Avaya, with the obvious benefits of partnering with a leading provider of IP telephony systems. Juniper is very strong in enterprise security, which is even more key with wireless VOIP and an exponential number of WiFi-enabled devices on the market."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

COMMENTS Add Comment
lrmobile_strungup 12/5/2012 | 3:03:52 AM
re: Juniper & Meru Partner Nice one for Meru.

What would this mean for competitors like Trapeze and Aruba?
joset01 12/5/2012 | 3:03:50 AM
re: Juniper & Meru Partner I'd say that it gives Meru more legitimacy in the market. Now all 3 have large partnerships they can point to.

It'll be interesting to see how hard Juniper pushes these products in the marketplace. I figure they'll have to come up with a very specific strategy as they are hardly fresh entrants in a virgin market.

whithercisco 12/5/2012 | 3:03:48 AM
re: Juniper & Meru Partner This alliance is nothing more than the alliance Meru has with Avaya. Interoperability oriented and announcing that their products work together.

It great marketing for Meru. But nothing more.

Aruba and Trapeze have deep OEM relationships with Alcatel and Nortel while this sounds very shallow.

The numbers will prove it for next quarter.
lrmobile_strungup 12/5/2012 | 3:03:47 AM
re: Juniper & Meru Partner So if I'm understanding correctly, you're implying this is not an OEM deal. Rather, Juniper will "recommend" Meru when its customer wants a comprehensive solution.

Sounds like the usual Juniper strategy of partnering for its missing pieces. This may make it less likely for Juniper to consider acquisition of the other wlan vendors if they already have relationship with meru.
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