Networking vendor Juniper has adopted Meru's radical Wi-Fi architecture for voice on Wi-Fi, but speculation continues over the company's Wi-Fi strategy.
As the only large enterprise networking vendor still without a clear strategy for wireless LANs, Juniper has been courted by Wi-Fi vendors who want to provide Juniper's solution for Wi-Fi LANs. Meru's distinctive single-channel architecture, which has won the largest ever Wi-Fi voice contract, has now won favour at Juniper, which will co-market it according to a Meru press release.
The deal is only for voice applications, but Meru would like it to be more wide-ranging: "Although wireless VoIP is definitely the focus, this has broader applications for wireless LAN," said a Meru spokesperson, pointing out that Juniper's channel partners will get training on the Meru technology which can also be applied to data networking.
Juniper's Wi-Fi gap is rather obvious: the company's only in-house wireless product so far is a firewall developed from its NetScreen acquisition, which includes a wireless access point (and is reviewed here).
The company does already have a deal to resell public Wi-Fi hotspot kit from Colubris, another Wi-Fi vendor that would like to get into Juniper's Wi-Fi trousers. Colubris has launched a Wi-Fi switch architecture which is intended to combine wired and wireless switches. Without a partner that sells wired Ethernet switches, there's very little point to Colubris' product, but so far no-one, including Juniper has signed on the line.
Getting into Wi-Fi LANs this late, Juniper needs something different, and both Colubris and Meru claim to have new approaches to Wi-Fi LAN architecture. In Meru's case, this is a "blanket" WLAN where all access points use the same Wi-Fi channels, and clients roam between them under central control, instead of changing channels as they associate with new access points.
Juniper, meanwhile is doing what anyone would with this level of attention. It is playing its cards close to its chest. The company did not make any comment, and has not issued its own press release on the deal at the time of writing.