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Will Juniper acquire its way into WLAN?

The Financial Times (FT) website reported rumors today that Juniper Networks is interested in acquiring either Meru Networks or Aruba Networks — both WLAN providers.

FT attributes the rumors to sources close to the company, but also quotes two analysts that support the speculation.

A WLAN acquisition for Juniper wouldn’t be shocking. At this point, Juniper needs to secure its place in the WLAN market if it intends to take on Cisco. Cisco controls a dominant share of that market sector, which it bought its way into through the acquisition of Airespace in 2006. Juniper is in the process of reorganizing its executive team and strategy, and has made no bones about its goal of stealing a dominant share of the enterprise networking market from Cisco.

What’s more, Juniper has already taken steps into the WLAN market. In 2006, Juniper invested in WLAN provider Trapeze Networks, launching an alliance between the two companies that had the channels cross-selling product. Many speculated then that Juniper would end up acquiring Trapeze. Instead Belden Cable stepped in and picked up Trapeze, making it one of a long string of WLAN companies to be acquired by major players.

Meanwhile, if a Juniper WLAN acquisition goes down, it will put to rest any doubt that consolidation is prevailing in the market, leaving little room for the independent players. The WLAN sector is increasingly characterized by heavy hitters like Hewlett-Packard (which recently acquired WLAN provider Colubris), Cisco, Belden and Motorola that have WLAN divisions based on acquisitions.

Meru is one of the few remaining privately held WLAN companies with a large channel presence besides Extricom and Ruckus. Ruckus is scrapping for attention, releasing upgraded technology this week to push its way into the enterprise. Aruba went public in 2007 and is considered a market leader.

Juniper has yet to comment on these rumors.

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Is gender no longer an issue for technology women?
I agree that gender-based promotions/lack there of is still an issue at the veteran (old guard) IT companies. I also believe there is a difference for women working for computer hardware companies (old guard) and software companies (younger management style).
Gender is still very much a factor for advancement in the IT field. Although, I already work in IT (have for over 20 years) I recently got my degree and found myself to be one of a very few women in my IT Network Engineering/Network Management Bachelor’s program.
No longer an issue.
until more women start forcing the issue it will be an issue,
In the technology domain for the public sector, it is still an issue.
I would have concurred with all of the No,’s up until last Fall. My new CIO commented that his wife had tried to work while their children were small but incompetent au’ pair after incompetent au’ pair (I’m sure I’m spelling that incorrectly), his wife quit to take care of them. I have 2 small twins at home. The impression I got was that he felt, I too, should be home with my children.
I think it is still an issue, probably needs to take generations to accept the fact, women and men are able to perform the same in IT field. I am a female enterprise architect. I have worked harder to reach this position starting from a programmer. I am trying to change my kids’ view, because of my proved capability in this field.
Until we have equal reprsentation at the top and the leadership of companies reflect their workforce and customers, gender will continue to be an issue.
There are many levels of women in high performing tech jobs that are still impacted by a majority of men in the same role. There usually is one woman (minimum of 2) standing alone with an entire department of male peers. I still have men talking right past me despite having the experience. It is always good news to hear of a woman succeeding in a top IT position regardless of the size and age of the enterprise....and no her pregnancy should not have factored into any decisions.
We've come such a long way - And given the amount of change an IT professional will experience in their career, it is no wonder that embracing any type of diversity isn't very hard, institutionally.
This may not be true in upper management, where business still looks like business and there is still a tremendous old guard and good-old boy network. But down in the trenches, It's one of the most progressive career fields out there.

The biggest reason we don't see women in IT is there are very few in the educational pipeline for this field. I couldn't speak to cultural influences or how curricula are incentivised - But something seems like it is not correct there.

The fact is the pregnancy was mentioned when the news broke. Most men will continue to feel threatened by women whose knowledge matches their own and think pregnant women should be at home. In my opinion, Yahoo set a precedence.
Appreciation of the style and approach of women is still not recognised. It is often seen as weakness vs macho male style. Good to great proved that more modest leaders often bring the most sustainable high performance.