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WLAN Market Claims vs Reality

There have been enterprise WLAN vendor claims recently relating to market performance and market share. In particular, Aruba Networks has been making bold statements about major market share gains at the expense of Cisco. Wanted to provide, to quote that food critic from Ratatouille (ok — yes, I’ve watched it twice recently — my kids love it) “some perspective”The Claim: Aruba’s CEO, Dominic Orr, claimed on their earnings call last week that his company was rapidly gaining market share in the Enterprise WLAN market.Some perspective: The Dell’Oro Group, a widely respected industry analyst firm, just released new market share numbers last week. The results: The Dell’Oro Group reported that Cisco extended its market share lead to 63 percent in the Enterprise WLAN market, which includes WLAN controllers and access points. This performance came at the expense of the No. 2 (Aruba) and No. 3 (Motorola) vendors in the market, who both hold market share positions of under 10 percent and showed sequential declines in revenue from Q2 2007 to Q3 2007. Some more perspective: In the critical WLAN controller market, Dell’Oro reported that Cisco sequentially gained 4 points of share in Q3, while the distant No. 2 player Aruba Networks lost more than 3 points of share due to declining controller shipments. In the past two years since the introduction of Cisco’s Unified Wireless Network, Cisco has gone from 31% share to today’s 54%. Aruba has gone from 9% to 13% over the same time period.And from another source: Synergy Research, another respected, indepedent authority, reported Enterprise WLAN market share for Cisco of 64 percent. Synergy also reports that Cisco’s share has grown from 46 percent in Q1 2005, the quarter when Cisco acquired Airespace, to the most recent quarter share at 64 percent. These 18 points of market share gain over the past three years significantly outpace all competitors, which according to Synergy all individually fall below 10 percent of share.Everything listed above is based on independent, non-commissioned analyst data, with permission given by each firm for me to cite here. www.delloro.comwww.srgresearch.comMy point? That Cisco continues to strongly lead this market, and grow its share over time? Well .. yes. But also to provide a counter to claims that big companies can’t be agile and compete in fast-growing markets. Both topics were addressed by Aruba’s CEO in what I felt was in misleading fashion, particularly in light of the data just released above. So I post this not with chest-thumping, but to offer up a more facts-based response to some public statements. Plus, it’s fun when the numbers are on your side :)

Strange Vendor Claims on 802.11n and PoE

A story was published last week that delves into what I think is a rather sloppy argument from one of our competitors on 802.11n and how to deploy a dual-radio .11n AP with adequate power. We’ve taken a close look at the issue, and developed a system-level solution with Cisco Catalyst switches to autonegotiate the appropriate power to run a dual-radio 802.11n AP at full performance. Our erstwhile competitor Aruba boasts the “only 802.11n AP that operates with standard PoE.” Yet when you really take a closer look, what they mean here is that their AP can operate, but at reduced performance and capacity. Their story gets stranger when you read recent, completely inconsistent press comments from Aruba, essentially warning against 802.11n deployments altogether.,1000000085,39290082,00.htm The best part — there’s no sign that the company is shipping product any time soon. My other favorite competitive claim by the same folks is their new “80 Gbps controller”. Sounds great, until you realize that if you actually want to encrypt your traffic over an Aruba WLAN — and what customer wouldn’t — that same Aruba controller, which handles all encryption centrally, slows down to 16 Gbps. Kind of like looking at a speedometer — sure, 210 mph looks cool, but it doesn’t mean a thing.

Passing notes with paper airplanes and resilient MACs

Here’s the fact folks – I’m getting married… in three months. In order to ensure that I’m going to be an awesome husband, I’ve been going to marriage class. Unfortunately, sitting in class made me regress to my younger years when I spent time honing my airplane making skills. Read More »

How to defeat the laws of physics

In my blog posting on enterprise WLAN, I talked about how the 2.4 spectrum simply does not have enough capacity for large scale deployments. My thesis was that users should really be looking to maximize the 5Ghz spectrum for their use (while recognizing that legacy devices will continue to exist in the 2.4 spectrum). Following this article, some vendors argued that existing WLAN architectures could not meet the needs of the enterprise, and the only valid architecture was one that used the same channel across all APs. They claim that a single channel architecture is the only one that can support fast roaming and provides maximum performance. In this blog series, I will explain why this is myth. Read More »

What’s up with MIMO? – Part Deux

In my first episode on MIMO (What’s up with MIMO), I introduced the concept of multiple antennas and the home audio analogy. In this example, I discussed one particular mode of MIMO that transmits the same stream across all antennas, and makes use of multipath to increase the chance of correctly decoding the received signal – thus lowering the bit error rate. This method exploits what is known as spatial diversity, which is one of the simplest method to achieve MIMO gains. But MIMO is much more than that. Read More »