Juniper & Meru Partner
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