Juniper's Wireless Hole

Networking incumbent Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) has a big, enterprise wireless LAN-shaped hole in its product portfolio, according to analysts.

Unlike the majority of its major networking rivals, Juniper has yet to deliver enterprise wireless LAN products, or even elucidate an 802.11 strategy for its corporate customers -- even though the firm is clearly stepping up to try and take on main rival Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in the enterprise space with its acquisition of NetScreen earlier this year (see Juniper Buys NetScreen).

IDC analyst Abner Germanow says that -- despite the NetScreen acquisition -- Juniper doesn't yet have a "concise enterprise strategy" for 802.11 wireless networking.

"Today, there's a fairly big hole between the firewall and the wired networking equipment," Germanow tells Unstrung.

So far, Juniper has concentrated solely on the service provider market, inking a deal with startup Colubris Networks Inc. for a WiFi front end to its B-RAS product (see Colubris Finds Juniper's Hotspot).

Germanow says Juniper will buck up its efforts soon. "They're not enterprise-focused; we expect that will change over the next year."

The analyst says that Juniper will have to flash some cash to play catchup with Cisco and the whole host of WLAN startups that have developed systems for centrally managing wireless LANs.

"They need to make a few acquisitions if they're going to be serious about the enterprise business," Germanow opines.

"The best way for them to get into the market is to partner with, or acquire somebody," concurs Will Strauss at Forward Concepts Co, noting that the enterprise market may be "less certain" for a company like Juniper that has traditionally been carrier-focused.

Juniper itself remains tight-lipped about any potential business-class wireless LAN plans. "We remain very focused on what we do," a laconic Juniper spokeswoman told Unstrung. She had "no further comment."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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