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Who made the cut in Gartner's LAN/WLAN Magic Quadrant?

By Heather Wright
Tue 22 Sep 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cisco and HP – fresh from its acquisition of Aruba – are the only vendors deemed ‘leaders’ in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure.

The newly released report says Cisco is the number one vendor in both access wired switching and WLAN when measured by 2014 revenue and ‘appears on nearly all client shortlists’.

Gartner says it has observed over the last year that ‘Cisco is increasingly leading with the Meraki portfolio for new opportunities and upgrades to existing installations versus its on-premises solutions’.

“Thus, the Meraki portfolio is growing much faster than traditional Cisco WLAN.”

On the HP front, Gartner notes that the vendor’s acquisition of Aruba combined the number two campus switching vendor with the number two WLAN vendor.

“However, as with any large acquisition, execution within the first 12 months is critical to success and HPE (Aruba Networks) is faced with the daunting task of integrating and rationalising multiple hardware, software and management product lines and merging corporate cultures.”

Gartner says it anticipates that the new division will continue to leverage the HPE internal switching line but will promote Aruba Network’s WLAN portfolio and ClearPass to be the flagship WLAN and policy management software, while Aruba’s AirWave and HPE’s Intelligent Management Center management applications will be merged.

Huawei was the sole vendor to make the ‘challenger’ quadrant while the visionaries quadrant was somewhat crowded with Dell, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprises, Extreme Networks, Aerohive, Avaya and Zebra all making the cut.

Ruckus Wireless, Juniper Networks, D-Link, Brocade and Allied Telesis – which made its first appearance on the Magic Quadrant – all placed in the ‘niche players’ segment of the quadrant.

The report says while vendors have begun deploying 802.11ac Wave 2 radios with new capabilities including multiuser multiple input/multiple output, and theoretically more than 6Gbps of higher performance at 5GHZ, it has limited consideration of availability of those products until later this year, or early 2016.

“Higher performance radio exposes an architectural issue that arises from the introduction of the new radio technology: Wave 2 access points and switches connecting to the enterprise infrastructure are typically limited to 1Gb, which creates significant oversubscription for higher speeds,” the analyst firm notes. “Several LAN industry consortia are addressing the need for upstream access point connectivity to the enterprise infrastructure beyond the current 1Gb connection, but currently there is no industry standard.”

The report says enterprises are looking for complete solutions that address wired and wireless connectivity and access layer services.

“Moving forward, flexible pricing and packaging will also be important ans small and midmarket enterprises expect the same functionality as larger enterprises, and vendors attempt to close the gap that historically seemed to exist in functionality and ease of use.

“Additional services that provide improvements in managed services, indoor location, analytics and application visibility are just the beginning for new application capabilities as vendors search for new areas of differentiation,” Gartner concludes.

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