Meru Networks

Meru Networks

Based: Sunnyvale, CA

Founded: 2002

Why it’s Fierce: It used to be that businesses would slap a few wireless access points together to enable employees to access the Web and email. But those days are over. With applications like wireless VoIP deployed alongside high density data usage, the enterprise requires a scalable and reliable WiFi solution. Wireless VoIP is Meru’s claim to fame, and it’s positioned well to capitalize on the dual-mode cellular/WiFi device trend expected to hit the enterprise market.

Meru cut its teeth in the VoIP space through the world’s largest WiFi deployment in Japan. Osaka Gas, Japan’s second-largest utility company, successfully deployed 6,000 wireless IP phones across 49 offices in 2006. Meru beat out vendors such as Cisco, NEC/Airespace and Aruba based on two main factors. First, Meru’s system was able to support fast call handover enabled by Meru’s voice service module, which doesn’t require any dependence on proprietary extensions to the client or proprietary signaling from the IP PBX. Second, Meru could control over-the-air upstream traffic without any client-side software. That means the system can restrict the maximum number of simultaneous calls at one access point to control bandwidth and hence, call quality.

Meru is now gaining attention for its stance on 802.11n, the standard that boosts WiFi’s throughput and range. Meru is offering an 802.11n solution to enterprises, despite the fact that the standard isn’t finished. Many of the company’s competitors say such a move is too risky.

What to look for: Following in the footsteps of competitor Aruba Networks, whose stock has been trading near its IPO price, Meru is also expected to go the IPO route.