Cisco snaps up Wi-Fi and cloud networking firm Meraki for $1.2B

Cisco Systems said it will buy Wi-Fi and cloud networking vendor Meraki for $1.2 billion, augmenting its capabilities in those areas as more networks turn to Wi-Fi to offload traffic and more data gets stored in the cloud.

Cisco said the deal will allow it to continue to move toward a world where it offers more software-centric networking solutions for carriers and service providers. The all-cash deal will give Cisco access to Meraki's technology, which relies on networking devices and capabilities that can be centrally controlled via the Internet.

Meraki, which grew out of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research project called Roofnet, launched in 2006 initially targeting municipal Wi-Fi networks, but it subsequently moved to mesh networking. The company offers a host of services including Wi-Fi, switching, security and mobile device management, all centrally managed from the cloud. Meraki's solutions support bring-your-own-device, guest networking, application control, WAN optimization, application firewall and other networking services. Meraki has around 330 staff and more than 10,000 customers, many of which are midmarket enterprises. 

The Meraki deal follows Cisco's recent acquisition of Wi-Fi analytics firm ThinkSmart Technologies. Cisco is leveraging that acquisition to provide enterprises, airports, museums and others with a Wi-Fi location data analytics platform to help them enhance customer experiences and make money using indoor Wi-Fi location data. By 2016, Cisco expects more than half of the world's Internet traffic to stem from Wi-Fi connections.

"Cisco appreciates the way in which we develop innovative products: by focusing on our customers and quickly trying new ideas in both software and hardware," Meraki CEO Sanjit Biswas wrote in a letter to his employees about the acquisition, according to TechCrunch. "They'd like to see us continue to release new features and products in the years ahead, and hopefully 'cloudify' other Cisco products."

For more:
- see this release
- see this Cisco blog post
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this CNET article
- see this GigaOM article

Related Articles:
Cisco buys Wi-Fi location analytics firm ThinkSmart
Meraki introduces plug-and-play WiFi mesh kit
Cisco: Mobile video will reach 1.6 billion users in 2016
Cisco unveils new product for 'elastic' mobile core