Riverbed absorbs WIFi vendor Xirrus, reaches for the edge of the network
Mobile Communications

Riverbed absorbs WIFi vendor Xirrus, reaches for the edge of the network

Network management company Riverbed Technology today announced its intent to acquire enterprise Wi-Fi equipment vendor Xirrus for an undisclosed fee.

Riverbed touted that the acquisition, which it expects to close by the end of the month, will expand its software-defined WAN solution, and integrate Xirrus’ robust Wi-Fi products into the broader Riverbed ecosystem.

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The company’s chairman and CEO, Jerry Kennelly, said that the deal positions Riverbed as a potential solution to several different networking problems at once.

“In today’s digital, cloud, and mobile world, enterprise networks are more complex and unpredictable than ever before and IT is struggling to manage all of this,” he said in a statement.

Networking expert and Network World contributor Zeus Kerravala had high praise for the move.

“This is an absolute slam dunk great move for Riverbed,” he said via email. “The technology is very good and Riverbed had made Wi-Fi part of its most recent SD-WAN solution. The company has talked the talk of the fully wireless office for years now and it finally has the product to walk the walk.”

Analyst Craig Mathias concurred, saying that the deal represented a good strategic move for Riverbed, and noting that the full spectrum of a company’s network offerings is increasingly important as a value proposition.

“While Riverbed is positioning Xirrus as part of SD-WAN, it's really an extension that enable Riverbed to get closer to being a solutions provider in the end-to-end class,” he said.

Riverbed will continue to sell Xirrus’ product line through its partner ecosystem. Xirrus is the latest in a lengthy line of Riverbed acquisitions that have materially affected the company’s offerings, stretching all the way back to the February 2009 deal for Mazu Networks and, most recently, the January 2016 acquisition of Ocedo Networks.

The deal also means that Xirrus is the most recent high-profile enterprise wireless networking acquisition, as that sector appears set to continue its trend of consolidation. Aruba Networks was bought up by HPE in 2015 for $3 billion, effectively becoming that company's wireless arm, and Meru Networks went to cybersecurity company Fortinet the same year. Most recently, Brocade acquired Ruckus Wireless in 2016, and sold it off again, months later, to telecom equipment manufacturer Arris.

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