Juniper, Ruckus Partnership to Challenge Cisco, HP, Aruba

The two vendors will jointly develop unified wired and wireless networking products as enterprises deal with the proliferation of mobile devices.

mobile devices

Juniper Networks and Ruckus Wireless are combining forces to develop unified wired and wireless solutions that could challenge Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard, which last month bought Aruba Networks.

The alliance will bring together Juniper—arguably the second largest wired networking vendor behind Cisco—and Ruckus, a fast-growing wireless networking company that is moving up against the likes of Cisco, HP and Aruba.

Officials with the two companies said Juniper and Ruckus will develop open wired and wireless networking offerings aimed at a broad array of customer bases, from enterprise to government to education. They'll also work to develop joint strategies for bringing their solutions to market.

Enterprise networks are under increasing pressure from the rapid growth of wireless devices and cloud applications being used by employees in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments. From the core of the network to the WiFi access devices, the demand for better performance and more capacity is growing, according to the companies. They cite Gartner reports that indicate the worldwide enterprise wireless LAN (WLAN) equipment market will increase from $5.3 billion this year to $7.8 billion in 2019.

Analyst firms are seeing growth in the markets. Analysts with IHS Infonetics in April said the WLAN equipment market hit $4.9 billion in 2014, growing 6 percent over the year, a slower rate than in previous years. Ruckus grew the fastest of the top five vendors, Infonetics said. In March, the Dell’Oro Group said the WLAN market jumped 7 percent in the fourth quarter 2014 over the same period in 2013.

Cisco is rapidly building out its unified wireless and wired networking capabilities, while HP is expanding what it can do with the $2.7 billion acquisition of Aruba, announced in March. The Juniper-Ruckus partnership comes a year after Juniper announced a similar alliance with Aruba. Despite Aruba's acquisition by HP, its partnership with Juniper remains intact, and the two companies will continue pushing forward with their joint development and go-to-market efforts, according to Aruba officials.

"Enterprises around the world are being challenged to accommodate the use of more and more mobile devices and applications, while still maintaining a secure, high-performance operating environment," Ruckus COO Dan Rabinovitsj said in a statement. "This 'no-compromise' partnership offers the value and [return on investment] that businesses are looking for, with the performance, flexibility and scalability they demand."

The goal is to offer customers networks that are flexible, open and reduce overall costs, according to the vendors. The companies will combine Juniper's EX Series of Ethernet switches and Ruckus' ZoneFlex WiFi access points and SmartZone WiFi management platform to offer carrier-class networking products to enterprises and to enable organizations to expand the network as needed.

The two companies also offer products—Ruckus' 3+1 SmartZone clustering and Juniper's Virtual Chassis technologies—that help customers reduce the number of logical wired and wireless devices. Also, Juniper’s Space Network Director offers organizations network visibility and management capabilities. Security will come from Ruckus Smart WiFi and Juniper EX Series switches, and BYOD provisioning and onboarding will be provided by Ruckus. Juniper's SRX Series services gateways will offer firewall capabilities.

The companies stressed that the products will be open and standards-based, leveraging Juniper's Open Converged Framework, an approach to networking introduced a year ago that entails using open, published interfaces to enable the convergence of wired and wireless networks from different vendors.

"The network infrastructure of our enterprise customers is experiencing incredible performance pressure due to the influx of mobile devices in the workplace connecting to mission-critical apps and to content in the cloud," Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager of Juniper development and innovation, said in a statement. "Building on Juniper's Open Converged Framework, teaming with Ruckus ensures carrier-grade level of scale and performance."