SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Zeus Kerravala | August 09, 2011 |

 
   

Adtran Leaps into Wireless LAN with the Acquisition of Blue Socket

Adtran Leaps into Wireless LAN with the Acquisition of Blue Socket Bold move for Adtran, now it's time to go execute.

Bold move for Adtran, now it's time to go execute.

On Tuesday, Adtran announced that it has acquired privately held Bluesocket. Bluesocket is one of many wireless LAN solution providers that offer a solution that is an alternative to the traditional controller based products. Bluesocket's solution uses VMWare to virtualize the controller functionality. This allows Bluesocket to create a completely virtualized control plane for managing the WiFi infrastructure. This means greater flexibility for IT as to how and where to deploy the controllers, which optimizes for both performance and cost.

Bluesocket is trying to capitalize on the current shift going on in the IT marketplace of raising the bar on wireless LAN, where it becomes a company's primary network instead of augmentating the wired network. Wireless LAN has gone through several evolutionary changes before--from autonomous access points to controller based solutions to where we are now, which is a controller-based solution with independent control and data planes. This type of solution has been great for building out wireless networks that act as an augmentation to the current wired network.

Because of mobility, consumerization, and device evolution, we're clearly trending towards wireless as the primary network, which is creating another transition point in the industry. If you've followed my blogs and reports over the years you'll know I'm a big believer that market share change only happens at points of market transition, and this shift to wireless as the primary network creates a great opportunity for vendors in the wireless LAN space with alternative solutions.

For this reason, I like the move by Adtran acquiring Bluesocket much more than Juniper's acquisition of Trapeze. Trapeze was one of the first wireless providers to separate the control and data planes and there was a window where they had a technology advantage over the market leaders Aruba and Cisco. However, Aruba and Cisco have caught up and it's unlikely that Juniper can significantly gain share with a product that is actually well behind Cisco and Aruba now.

Bluesocket, like Aerohive, Ruckus and Meraki, promotes an alternative deployment approach. Of all the alternative wireless LAN solution providers out there I liked the approaches taken by Aerohive and Bluesocket the most. Both promote the concept of creating distributed intelligence with different ways of managing it, which is why I'm a fan of this move by Adtran. So now for Adtran to take advantage of this new asset, they'll need to step on the gas and be a lot more edgy and marketing-focused than they have in the past. Those who know Adtran know them to be a very well run, efficient company with high quality products. They also know that Adtran's marketing prowess, particularly on the enterprise side, is somewhat limited. I've been down to the Huntsville facility and when you're there you do get an appreciation of how well run a company they are and why they roll out such high quality products that are reasonably priced with good margins.

The current level of marketing aggressiveness, though, won't be enough to catch the technology leader Aruba or the share leader Cisco, as they're two of the best marketing organizations out there today. I certainly don't expect Adtran to market like Cisco overnight, but I would like to see the company step on the gas with marketing material like white papers and webinars around the concept of virtual wireless LAN. Virtualization and wireless LAN are two of the hottest IT trends and combined should create some interest from current evaluators.

Since I can't realistically expect Adtran to change their marketing roots overnight, a good interim step would be to work with the likes of Microsoft, Citrix and VMWare to build demonstrable case studies of how the Bluesocket solution provides a distinct benefit for things like VoIP, video and desktop virtualization. This can be difficult to do but as I said before, Adtran is a great engineering organization and they should be able to find the verticals and use cases where they do have an advantage. The difficulty with all of these various wireless solutions is that they all have their own unique strengths and weaknesses and it's important that Adtran be able to identify and articulate what those advantages are as soon as possible.

One of the other interesting points about this acquisition is that Adtran actually chose to buy instead of build. Adtran has historically built almost everything. Instead of buying a switch vendor, it built its own; instead of buying a UC vendor, it built its own; so I find the fact that it chose to buy here a recognition of how fast and how competitive the wireless LAN market is.

Bold move for Adtran, now it's time to go execute.





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017
March 27-30 | Orlando, FL
Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Special Offer - Save $200 Off Advance Rates

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

March 8, 2017

Enterprise IT's ability to innovate is critical to the success of the business -- 80% of CIOs agree. But the CIO role has never been more challenging than it is today, with rising operational respo

February 22, 2017

Sick of video call technology that make participants look like they're in the witness protection program? Turns out youre not alone. Poor-quality video solutions can give users an unprofessional ap

February 7, 2017

Securing voice communications used to be very simple since it was generally a closed system. However, with unified communications (UC) you no longer have the walled protection offered by a dedicate

February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.