Aruba, Cisco and HP are magic when it comes to LAN infrastructure

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I'm a big fan of Gartner's Magic Quadrant reports. The market research firm does a thorough job of assessing a particular market and evaluating the vendors in that market based on completeness of vision and ability to execute.

The insights provided by Gartner can help an enterprise decide on the best vendor based on its requirements. I'm not saying that other market research firms don't do this, but Gartner pioneered the Magic Quadrant format and still is among the best at analyzing market trends using the format.

With that said, the most recent Magic Quadrant [reg. req.] to come out of Gartner looks at the market for wired and wireless local area network, or LAN, access infrastructure, an issue of concern to enterprises, especially those dealing with the demands BYOD is placing on that infrastructure.

After conducting its analysis, Gartner named Aruba Networks, Cisco Systems and HP Networking as the market leaders.

Cisco is the largest vendor with the largest market share and a broad portfolio of products for enterprise wired and wireless infrastructure. "A strong channel, combined with a global presence, means that the vendor continues to be on the shortlist for all access layer opportunities," says Gartner.

Aruba is the second largest wireless LAN vendor by revenue. The company "offers a well-thought-out architecture that supports both pay-as-you-grow pricing and mixing/matching of components across product lines," explains Gartner.

As for HP Networking, it has a global distribution system and a strong market presence in China through H3C Technologies. "The vendor continues to win customers in the education, healthcare, hospitality and state/local government segments, reflecting its strong global sales channel that accounts for about 90 percent of its networking revenue," says Gartner.

The report explains that the market for LAN access has evolved over the past year. On the wireless side, there was the ratification of the new Wi-Fi 802.11ac standard and the launch of enterprise products based on the standard. And a number of vendors introduced hardware and software designed to improve app performance, such as adjusting the network for latency-sensitive apps while keeping older wireless LAN controller architectures in place.

In addition, the BYOD trend has challenged enterprises and vendors to keep up with demand for access layer bandwidth. "While the amount of bandwidth needed has not changed per user, the sheer number of devices is causing enterprises to rethink their overall bandwidth needs, as well as how all these devices will be used and managed," the report says.

The demands that BYOD places on the enterprise network is something I have written about before in FierceMobileIT. Last year, I wrote an Editor's Corner warning that BYOD was threatening to overwhelm corporate Wi-Fi networks.  

On the positive side, the new 802.11ac standard is providing high speeds and more bandwidth for Wi-Fi networks, as well as fueling sales of Wi-Fi equipment, which is good news for the likes of Aruba, Cisco and HP. - Fred

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