Juniper Networks has reached an agreement to acquire Wi-Fi systems and management software firm Trapeze Networks for $152m (£95m).
The acquisition underlines the growing importance of wireless network infrastructure among enterprises of all sizes, and will help Juniper gain a significant footing in the market.
Alex Gray, senior vice president at Juniper, told V3.co.uk that the company hopes to capitalise on growing demand for Wi-Fi equipment more quickly than it could have done by building its own tools from scratch.
"There are a lot of legacy 802.11a/b/g networks that are being upgraded to 802.11n, and many firms now look to take their wired and wireless products from the same provider, so this is an ideal time to enter this market," he said.
"The fact that Trapeze has management software as well as hardware complements the Juniper vision of providing the infrastructure and the tools to manage the network."
Juniper will continue to sell Trapeze products in their current form, reassuring Trapeze's 6,000 customers that there will be no major upheavals before it starts a major rebrand to Juniper by the second quarter.
"We feel Juniper's worldwide presence and brand will help bring a lift to the technology, so we intend to work on the branding fairly quickly," Gray said.
Trapeze currently holds 17 patents, which it claims is more than any other wireless LAN provider, and has 49 patents pending.
Gray said that Juniper does not intend to make any layoffs as there is no crossover with any areas at Juniper, and noted that the firm uses Trapeze's Wi-Fi product for its own wireless networks.
Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom suggested that the move makes a lot of sense for Juniper as it will offer a footing in the wireless arena.
"The need to get strongly into the wireless space meant that Juniper either had to build from scratch and persuade its customers that what it had was of good enough quality and performance, or buy it in," he said.
"Trapeze makes a lot of sense as Juniper will not have to reinvent wheels and plug holes in its portfolio."
However, Longbottom added that it remains to be seen how the move will play out and how customers will react.
"There will be issues in creating a single management suite across everything. Will Juniper manage to get Junos into all of the Trapeze kit? It's doubtful for some time, yet a mixed management environment won't go down well with users," he said.
The deal will be paid for on an all cash basis, and is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2010 subject to regulatory review.
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