Extreme Networks Snags Zebra's WLAN Business

The ongoing consolidation in the wireless LAN market continued Wednesday with Extreme Networks agreeing to acquire Zebra Technologies' wireless LAN business for $55 million in cash. It was only about two years ago that Zebra bought Motorola Solutions' Enterprise business, including its WLAN technology, for $3.45 billion.

Extreme executives said the deal will bolster the company's wired and wireless portfolio and extend its reach into new vertical markets such as retail and transportation. The acquisition also provides Extreme with in-house managed services, and wireless intrusion detection and prevention capabilities.

Zebra Technologies, meanwhile, will concentrate on its products for tracking and managing enterprise assets and transactions.

The acquisition is the latest in a string of M&A deals in the WLAN market. In May, Brocade completed its acquisition of Ruckus Wireless for about $1.2 billion. That followed Ruckus' 2015 acquisition of WiFi onboarding specialist Cloudpath Networks. Of course, that was something of a minor deal compared to Hewlett Packard Enterprise's $3 billion acquisition of WLAN vendor Aruba Networks in 2014.

Other relatively recent deals in the WLAN space include Fortinet buying Meru Networks and Cradlepoint acquiring Pertino.

According to a report issued in June by market-research firm IHS, worldwide WLAN equipment sales totaled $1.2 billion in the first quarter of 2016 -- a 14% drop sequentially, but up 5% on a year-over-year basis. In the first quarter, 4.7 million wireless access points shipped, up 20% compared to the first quarter of 2015.

Cisco nabbed nearly half of all global WLAN equipment spending in the first quarter of 2016, IHS reported. HPE's Aruba accounted for about 16%.

According to IHS, the top year-over-year share gainers in the WLAN market in the first quarter were Aerohive, Brocade/Ruckus, and Ubiquiti.