This strategic alliance reinforces the inter-relatedness of the wireless market and portends disruption.
Juniper Networks, which has been looking for a unified communications solution for quite some time, recently announced its partnership with carrier/enterprise Wi-Fi hardware and software vendor Ruckus. The companies plan to offer solutions that pair Juniper’s EX Series Ethernet switches with Ruckus’ ZoneFlex Wi-Fi access points and SmartZone Wi-Fi management software to enterprise, government, and education clients. This alliance comes on the heels of another significant announcement: HP’s (Juniper Ethernet competitor) acquisition of Aruba Networks, which was Juniper’s partner since last year.
Juniper’s alliance with its interesting value proposition will pose significant competition to Cisco/Meraki and HP/Aruba and no doubt will shake up the expanding unified communications market. We believe that the Cisco/Meraki and HP/Aruba will maintain strengths as they do have extensive wired and wireless offerings but as Juniper puts down stakes we would anticipate some serious changes in market shares. The bottom line is that it’s all about innovation and positioning, for example, if Juniper can enhance the enterprise environment by introducing products that could lower the number of logical network devices that need to be managed by IT administrators that could result into a key advantage. Similar solutions could be attractive enough to disrupt the WiFi enterprise market and threaten the major vendors’ leadership.
We do see this partnership as one of many in broader enterprise access realignment (in parallel with Enterprise Small Cells market) with more to come this year and next. The enterprise and the indoor coverage and access markets have been a hot field lately with high promising revenues, on which undoubtedly Juniper wants to capitalize. This alliance is expected to pay bigger dividends in the service provider market where both companies see their strengths.
This next step for Juniper is extremely important as it joins this upcoming unified communications market in a “never too late” move. Perhaps market pressures, dynamics and the new strategic plan will force a severing of the Aruba relationship, which will most likely cease in the next six months or earlier. Time will tell.