12 WiFi Vendors To Keep An Eye On

  • The wireless LAN has transitioned from a “nice to have” secondary connection to the primary mechanism used to connect end-user devices. As reliance on enterprise WiFi continues to grow, numerous WLAN vendors are vying for a piece of the pie. According to IDC, worldwide enterprise sales of WLAN hardware increased nearly 6% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2015.

    Looking strictly from the perspective of WiFi transmit and receive capability, enterprise-class WLAN vendors offer largely the same capabilities. Yes, there are some architectural or manufacturing differences that may make one product perform better in certain circumstances. But for the most part, they all perform adequately. This is precisely why WiFi vendors are looking beyond sheer performance to differentiate their products based on ease of management and unique features.

    In this slideshow, we'll look at a dozen WLAN vendors who stand out in a crowded market with innovative enterprise WiFi products.

    As you click through the slides, you may notice that there’s no single, centralized theme in terms of ground-breaking features that WLAN vendors are bringing to the table. Instead, innovation is happening across the board. This includes areas such as BYOD, cloud management, security, analytics and the Internet of Things.

    Wireless vendors are no longer the same. Instead, many offer unique benefits and traits that the others don’t. If you're in the market for a new enterprise-class WLAN, it’s up to you to determine what features are most important to your organization, and seek out wireless vendors that cater to those specific needs.

    Learn more about wireless infrastructure and supporting the mobile enterprise in the Wireless & Mobility Track at Interop Las Vegas this spring. May 2-6. Don't miss out -- Register now!

    (Image: leszekglasner/iStockphoto)

  • Mojo Networks

    @mojonetworks

    Formerly known as AirTight Networks, Mojo Networks has dramatically refreshed its WiFi offerings by getting into the highly popular cloud-managed WLAN market. Mojo is hoping to compete with other wireless cloud vendors such as Cisco Meraki and HPE Aruba.

  • Cisco Meraki

    @meraki

    Cisco Meraki isn’t just about wireless access points. It also offers robust and easy to manage cloud switches and firewalls. Combining all three products into a single unit for small businesses and branch offices is a great way to cut costs and reduce complexities. It’s also exciting to see enterprise-grade wireless security features such as unified threat management (UTM).

  • Xirrus

    @Xirrus 

    Xirrus is hopping on the red-hot as-a-service bandwagon with its CommandCenter product. According to Xirrus, CommandCenter, along with its existing Xirrus Management System (XMS) “radically simplifies the ability for MSPs to offer Wi-Fi-as-a-Service (WaaS) to their customers.” Even more appealing, CommandCenter is offered to MSPs for free.

  • Aruba, a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise company

    @ArubaNetworks

    The marriage between HPE and Aruba went off surprisingly well. Now that the merger is complete, Aruba is looking to get into the rapidly expanding IoT market by updating its ClearPass Policy Manager to allow for easier management of WiFi-connected IoT devices.

  • 4ipnet

    @4ipnet

    A relatively small vendor compared to the likes of Cisco and Aruba, 4ipnet is a Taiwan-based company looking to aggressively expand into regions around the globe. 4ipnet is especially popular in the public WiFi space thanks to the wide variety of methods that end users can authenticate. This includes authentication via common social networks such as Facebook, Google+, OpenID, and social apps that are popular in localized regions throughout the world. By offering free WiFi in exchange for personal information gleaned through social media authentications, public WiFi providers are coming up with unique ways to mine and monetize this data.​

  • Zebra Technologies

    @ZebraTechnology

    Zebra Technologies, the company that acquired Motorola Solutions in 2014 -- largely for its wireless portfolio and customer base -- is banking on the fact that enterprises are tired of being in the dark when it comes to troubleshooting application performance problems on the WLAN. The company's recently released Zebra NSight platform provides the visibility and analytics that many WiFi administrators seek.

  • Edgecore Networks

    @EdgeCoreNetwork

    Primarily known for its open-source layer 2 and layer 3 switches, Edgecore is seeking to make its name in the world of WiFi by offering the industry’s first open WiFi products. While open networking is hot, it’s not made a tremendous impact in the world of enterprise WLANs. It will be interesting to see if Edgecore changes people’s perspective.

  • Aerohive Networks

    @Aerohive

    Aerohive sells a range of WiFi access points, routers and switches, as well as its flagship HiveManager NG network management software, which it describes as a "next-generation, enterprise-class cloud-enabled network management solution." The company has won quite a bit of industry recognition over the past couple of years, including being named a "visionary" mobility solution by Gartner, and being ranked the number 245 fastest-growing company in North America on Deloitte’s 2015 Technology Fast 500.

  • Cucumber Tony

    @Cucumber Tony

    You might not be able to tell from its very unusual name, but London-based Cucumber Tony offers a full-stack, cloud-based WiFi access platform. It offers products for providing guest WiFi at restaurants, hotels, retail locations and similar sites, as well as enterprise solutions for simplifying network management and improving network signal, stability and speed. Based on OpenWrt, the Cucumber Tony firmware runs on network hardware from a wide variety of vendors, including Meraki, Ubiquiti, TP-Link, Western Digital, D-Link, and EnGenius. Its branded WiFi plans are free for up 2,500 splash page views with paid plans starting at $250 per month.