Cisco’s Purchase of Meraki Underscores Importance of Cloud & Mobility Focused WLANs

December 4, 2012

Cisco purchased enterprise Wi-Fi provider Meraki for $1.2 Billion to expand its WLAN portfolio by integrating cloud, mobility and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)-focused offerings to its portfolio. Enterprise adoption of consumer-oriented mobile devices, particularly BYOD has increased corporate demand for mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management (MAM) and content management tools. In order to compete with similar solutions from WLAN vendors like Aerohive, Aruba and Meru, Cisco will fold Meraki into its Cloud Networking group to focus on developing scalable, mobility and software-centric solutions aimed at the mid-market. Meraki initially turned down the initial offer due to existing plans to go public, but Cisco’s huge cash offer, global distribution channels and large enterprise customer base were too compelling to pass up.

Almost 70% of companies use BYOD for mobile devices, either as their sole purchasing model or as part of a larger purchasing strategy. Enterprises report over 73% of their WLAN capacity growth over 2012 and ’13 will be provisioned specifically for mobile devices.

BTA Bottom Line: In the short-term, Cisco and Meraki’s solutions will remain independent. If you are looking for cloud-based WLAN offerings for mobile devices, continue to evaluate market leaders like Aerohive, Aruba and Meraki. Evaluate Cisco’s roadmap after the acquisition is complete; this is when Cisco will begin to integrate Meraki’s capabilities.