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Summary:

Every few months, almost like clockwork, rumor of Juniper-buying-some-WLAN-start-up pops up. And just as regularly nothing happens. There is word that #2 router maker is in talks to buy either Meru Networks or Colubris Networks for about $200 million. Unstrung has the details, and says Meru […]

Every few months, almost like clockwork, rumor of Juniper-buying-some-WLAN-start-up pops up. And just as regularly nothing happens. There is word that #2 router maker is in talks to buy either Meru Networks or Colubris Networks for about $200 million. Unstrung has the details, and says Meru is in the lead. But also, Colubris has an arrangement with Juniper. So who really knows. But still, worth keeping an eye on! Also read, my post on Juniper’s shopping list from almost a year ago.

  1. Colurbris would be cheap — didn’t they just loose some weight? Good technology company for enterprise. But compared to Airespace in the enterprise WLAN market ? — apples and oranges.

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  2. colubris be a good buy because of their relationships with carriers and all – same core market as juniper. cheap too. though not sure about how people feel about colubris.

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  3. Jesse Kopelman Monday, January 23, 2006

    Are either start-ups? Both have been around a long time in wireless networking dog-years. Nothing wrong with Colubris, but Meru’s technology is far more unique and sexy.

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  4. jesse, can you elaborate on that> it would be nice to understand what you are thinking here. colubris, while un-sexy has some serious momentum in fast growth markets like india, other parts of asia and europe

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  5. Jesse Kopelman Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    Ok. My understanding of Colubris is that their main claim to fame is the managability of their WLAN components. This is a critical issue to anyone planning a large deployment (> 100 APs), but I’m not sure that Colubirs is all that much better than Cisco (especially the Airespace product line) or a host of others including Meru. I think Colubris was very early into the game of allowing multiple VLAN/AP, but now everyone does that. On the other hand, Meru’s claim to fame is their use of some extended features of the 802.11 MAC to change it from a pure contention system to something that is almost TDMA. This allows them to support very high user density/AP and 1/1 frequency reuse among APs (very nice for large buildings). Meru also supports possible the fastest AP-to-AP handover in the business, making their system very well suited for VoIP. If I want a product line that can compete with Cisco’s new thin AP (Airespace) based stuff, Meru is the way to go (I think it is superior, but nobody ever got fired for buying Cisco, as it were). If I am interested in selling to the T-Mobiles of the world who want lots of reliable vanilla APs that are easy to manage and those who want a non-mesh outdoor solution (i.e. a telco/cableco that already has the wired backhaul at every location) that is easy to manage, Colubris is a good way to go (ADC sells them as part of package of line-powered WiFi for telcos). So, in the end, there is little overlap between the primary markets for these guys. Colubris is a solution for commercial network providers, Meru is a solution for private networks (schools, corporations, etc.).

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  6. Colubris solution is strictly layer 3 (IP). Why does that matter … well technology is this tricky thing. On the one hand it doesn’t matter at all. On the other hand it does. They strictly speaking — cannot build a wholesaleable private WiFi network. Likewise their systems is scaled to support low-density hot-spots. Although they have a hot-spot-in-a-box solution — they do not have a full fledged SMS (subscirber management system) to back it up and provide the kind of features (like hitless failover, detailed accounting, complex traffic engineering, etc.) Moreover — Cisco (Airespace) is far ahead in RF monitoring (read as “wireless security”). It’s a big deal to would be large scale WiFi operations. And by large scale I DO NOT mean hot-spots.

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