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Juniper Teams Up With Ruckus Wireless
Juniper Networks and Ruckus Wireless unveiled a strategic partnership this week, marking another new WLAN alliance in the wake of HP's acquisition of Aruba Networks earlier this year.
Juniper and Ruckus said they plan to work together to offer midsize and large enterprises open and unified wired and wireless systems. The partnership includes combining Juniper EX Series Ethernet Switches with Ruckus ZoneFlex access points and SmartZone WiFi management.
In March, HP announced a deal to buy WLAN vendor Aruba Networks for nearly $3 billion. The deal immediately raised questions about what would happen to Aruba's OEM partnerships with other networking vendors. In late April, Aerohive Networks unveiled a deal with Dell -- an OEM partner of Aruba -- to resell Aerohive's cloud-managed WLAN products. Reports indicated that Dell's partnership with Aruba continues, but could not be confirmed.
For Juniper, the alliance with Ruckus comes about a year after the vendor forged a partnership with Aruba. In an email, a Juniper spokesperson said the company continues to partner with Aruba.
"Last year, we announced the Open Converged Framework (OCF) in conjunction with our partnership with Aruba, which entails partnering with multiple WLAN vendors to deliver unified, best-of-breed wired and wireless infrastructure solutions. Aruba was the first technology alliance partner and now Ruckus is the second," the spokesperson said. "We will continue to work with other pure-play wireless LAN vendors in the future as we expand the OCF alliance."
However, wireless networking has proven somewhat problematic for Juniper. In 2010, the vendor acquired Trapeze for $152 million. Tom Hollingsworth, a networking engineer, noted in a blog that Juniper already stopped selling Trapeze-based products.
Lee Badman, a WLAN architect and Network Computing contributor, said in an email interview that Juniper "mishandled the once-strong Trapeze WLAN line, then sought rebirth with Aruba." He added, "Over time, these maneuvers collectively are off-putting."
The partnership with Ruckus gives Ruckus a much-needed wired-side story to be able to compete beyond WiFi, he said.
"It’s good that both can now offer a 'total' solution with a brand-name ally, but it’s still a two-vendor partnership and not an acquisition resulting in single-vendor solutions. As with so many similar deals, how the relationship is packaged and marketed will ultimately make or break it," Badman said.
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