Juniper Networks today said it will acquire wireless LAN (WLAN) startup Mist Systems for $405 million. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
Juniper CEO Rami Rahim wrote in a blog post that the purchase would expand the company’s enterprise portfolio into the wireless realm and would enable it to stake claim “to AI-driven operations in the era of multi-cloud.”
And in a conference call regarding the acquisition, Rahim called the purchase an “offensive move” against its networking competitors, namely Cisco and Aruba. He said that the purchase of Mist “fills a gap” in its software-defined enterprise portfolio and would enable Juniper to grow its presence in the $6 billion wireless networking market, as well as grow its campus switching portfolio.
Cupertino, California-based Mist Systems was founded in 2014 by three former Cisco executives: Bob Friday, now CTO; Brett Galloway, now chairman; and Sujai Hajela, now president and CEO. To date, the startup has raised $88.4 million in three funding rounds, the most recent of which was a $46 million Series C.
Mist’s technology platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) to power the WLAN, which in return makes WiFi predictable, reliable, and measurable. And the platform leverages virtual Bluetooth technology to enable scalable indoor location services like wayfinding, proximity messaging, and asset visibility.
This combination, Rahim noted in his post, would bring three primary benefits to Juniper and its customers.
First, Mist would deepen Juniper’s presence in the wireless networking market, which means that Juniper could bring full end-to-end software-defined stack to the enterprise. “Operations is inherently an end-to-end proposition. User experience is not siloed. It requires all of the elements, from wireless access to the wired LAN across the WAN, to servers in the data center or cloud to work together,” he wrote. “Having the breadth of product to service this entire space is important.”
Second, the integration of Mist’s AI engine into Juniper’s portfolio will extend AI-driven operations to the full IT stack. And third, Rahim wrote that Mist’s cloud-first microservices architecture would accelerate Juniper’s push to build AI-driven operations software.
Mist and Juniper last September formed a partnership around its WLAN technology. Juniper integrated Mist’s WLAN with its Contrail SD-WAN technology. This integration of WLAN and SD-WAN provided customers with visibility into their wired and wireless networks for both the LAN and WAN.
Verizon Enterprise Solutions last year launched a software-defined WLAN managed service based on Mist’s technology. And, Mist also worked with VMware to build a joint product with interoperability between Mist’s Learning WLAN and VMware’s VeloCloud-based NSX SD-WAN.