Xirrus is latest enterprise WiFi pioneer to fall, snapped up by Riverbed


Gradually, all the pioneers of enterprise and urban WiFi are being picked off as WiFi becomes an integral part of the mobile and wireline broadband network. The latest to fall is Xirrus, which has developed dense enterprise WLAN solutions with cloud-based management options. It is to become part of Riverbed Technology, adding more WiFi capabilities to that firm’s software-defined WAN (SDWAN) strategy.

This is the latest in a stream of deals which has seen Ruckus acquired by Brocade and now by Arris; Meru by  Fortinet; and Aruba by HPE – other WiFi start-ups were snapped up even earlier, including Trapeze by Juniper and, way back in 1999, Aironet by Cisco.

Riverbed said the acquisition will enhance its SteelConnect SD-WAN offering, which promises unified connectivity and orchestration across the enterprise’s LAN, WAN, data center and cloud.

Joshua Dobies, VP of product marketing and strategy at Riverbed, said in an interview:
“Riverbed plans to integrate the Xirrus solutions into SteelConnect SD-WAN to deliver a more robust WiFi capability and a unique enterprise networking solution, and will also continue to offer a standalone enterprise WLAN solutions to customers.”

The price has not been disclosed, though Riverbed said most Xirrus staff will be retained. The firm says it supports 97% of the Fortune 100 companies.

Xirrus boasts “wired-like” performance from its WiFi portfolio, which includes high density access points and cloud services. Its customers include Microsoft. Its products target enterprises, stadiums and other high density situations. Instead of connecting multiple APs to a central controller, Xirrus’s products integrate controller functions into each access point, which it says is more scalable and fault-tolerant.  Those APs go up to a 16-radio option. One of its offerings is a four-radio 802 .11ac AP which quadruples the number of users supported, while keeping the price lower than for Wave 2 MU-MIMO systems.

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Caroline has been analyzing and reporting in the hi-tech industries since 1986 and has a huge wealth of experience of technology trends and how they impact on business models. She started her career as a journalist, specializing in enterprise and carrier networks and in silicon technologies. She spent much of her journalistic career at VNU Business Publishing, then Europe’s largest producer of technology publications and information services . She was publishing director for the launch of VNU’s pan-European online content services, and then European editorial director. She then made the move from publishing into technology market analysis and consulting, and in 2002 co-founded Rethink Technology Research with Peter White. Rethink specializes in trends and business models for wireless, converged and quad play operators round the world and the technologies that support them. Caroline’s role is to head up the wireless side of the business, leading the creation of research, newsletters and consulting services focused on mobile platforms and operator models. In this role, she has become a highly recognized authority on 4G systems such as LTE and WiMAX, and a prolific speaker at industry events. Consulting and research clients come from major mobile operators, the wireless supply chain and financial institutions.


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