A few weeks ago Meru made the headlines for signing the largest contract to date to build a WiFi voice network. The network would link up to 10,000 staff at 50 offices of Osaka Gas, one of Japan's largest utilities. The employees will use converged handsets capable of making mobile calls on the Japanese FOMA system and in-building WiFi calls using SIP. Networking vendor Juniper has adopted Meru's innovative WiFi architecture for voice over WiFi, and perhaps there is a hint here as to Juniper's overall WiFi strategy, a source of much head-scratching among industry observers. Meru certainly hopes that Juniper has more in mind than merely using Meru's technology for voice applications.
Juniper currently offers a security gateway with a wireless AP which it inherited, and then tweaked, as part of its NetScreen acquisition. It also resells public WiFi hotspot kits from Colubris. As is the case with Merus, Colubris, too, hopes for more from Juniper. Colubris has developed an interesting WiFi switch system which merges wired and wireless switches, and it needs a collaborator that sells wired Ethernet switches to help it sell the system to the enterprise. Juniper would be a good candidate for such collaboration.
It is high time Juniper developed a strategy -- any strategy -- to compete more effectively with Cisco, what with the latter having acquired Airespace. Broader collaboration with Meru and Colubris may well provide Juniper with the making of such a strategy.