IDC MarketScape Report Says Riverbed Is a Major WLAN Player


When Riverbed acquired Wi-Fi innovator Xirrus last April, the two networking companies both pushed the cutting edge of software-defined networking and policy-based orchestration, and to onlookers, the future fruits of their union seemed apparent.

Now, one year later, Riverbed's Kowshik Bhat reports that Riverbed Xirrus is working out just as hoped. And that’s backed up by a new IDC report that calls the wireless LAN (WLAN) solution a "major player" in its latest IDC MarketScape vendor assessment.

"Out of all the vendors in the IDC MarketScape Enterprise WLAN report, Riverbed Xirrus made the largest positive move of all," says Bhat. "The major catalyst was Xirrus joining Riverbed, which opened up integrated solutions that are driving superior value for customers."

Complementary strengths, visions

When we wrote about the acquisition last year, Riverbed Connections wrote, "Xirrus is already aligned with the values of Riverbed SteelConnect's networking philosophy, and Riverbed's product roadmap has Xirrus integrating with SteelConnect in the future." And that's exactly what came to pass.

Today, Riverbed Xirrus strengthens the wireless and wired LAN capabilities of Riverbed's market-leading software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution, SteelConnect, the highly differentiated solution with unified connectivity and provisioning of the end-to-end network: wireless LAN, WAN, datacenter, and into the cloud.

As a fully integrated component of the Riverbed family, Riverbed Xirrus Wi-Fi networks can be managed by a single management console based in the cloud for total flexibility and scalability, while retaining Xirrus' easy-to-deploy access points and patented technology for handling truly stunning user loads.

The perspective from Xirrus

We asked Bhat, a WLAN expert who came to Riverbed with Xirrus, to talk a bit about the merger's newly realized benefits. Key among them, he says, is the unified and integrated nature of the joint solution.

"It's a beautiful thing, SD-WAN, SD-LAN, and visibility combining together," says Bhat. "Before, there was no all-in-one solution to deliver end-to-end visibility and analytics, integrated troubleshooting capabilities, planning and configuration management, and visibility into the end-user experience. And now, we can offer all that with our joint solution."

He shares a practical example. "From one dashboard you can set up your Wi-Fi SSIDs. You can configure the access points. You can set up the SD-WAN connectivity to different location including connectivity into public cloud services such as AWS and Azure. So, now you don't have to have multiple monolithic systems for different parts of the network."

Integrated with the end user experience

Now, combine the powerful Riverbed Xirrus Wi-Fi solution with Riverbed SteelCentral Aternity for visibility into what really matters – the end user experience. Xirrus and Aternity are integrated to give IT complete view into network and end user experiences expediting issues resolution.

Consider some highlights:

Wi-Fi and network administrators have visibility into actual user experiences by launching  Aternity directly from Riverbed Xirrus Management Console.

  • Xirrus can provide visibility into the client’s Wi-Fi connectivity, while SteelCentral Aternity provides visibility into what the user is experiencing with detailed metrics such as CPU utilization, memory consumption, applications running, disk read/writes, and network read/writes across user devices
  • While troubleshooting a specific client, Aternity will bring up detailed views about the client amongst hundreds, if not thousands, of clients; and it takes you to that user’s system-level view and the device’s behavior details over different time durations.

None of the competition, he says, can provide that kind of end-to-end connectivity and in-depth visibility. "And with the new reach afforded by the Riverbed acquisition," he adds, "we now have a global brand supporting the enterprise market, supporting customers everywhere with easy access to partners and sales teams across the globe."

From one expert to another

Bhat isn't the only party feeling bullish about the Riverbed Xirrus solution. In its latest IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Enterprise WLAN 2018 Vendor Assessment report, IDC named Riverbed Xirrus a "Major Player" in the enterprise WLAN space.

You can download a 10-page excerpt here, but here's a sample of IDC's analysis. Discussing the strengths of the Riverbed Xirrus solution, the report says:

  • “Riverbed Xirrus offers a broad suite of APs, including two and four user-servicing Wi-Fi radios to support varying density requirements.”
  • “Xirrus Management System-Cloud (XMS-Cloud) is noted for its visual appeal and ease of navigation and use.”
  • “Riverbed Xirrus receives high marks for its responsive, 24-hour customer support programs.”
  • “A functionality of note is Xirrus EasyPass, a suite of services that allows for secure user and device onboarding for a WLAN's internal and guest users through vouchers, personal credentials, and Google or Office365 accounts.”

The IDC report also echoes some of Bhat's points. "Building upon Xirrus' native capabilities, Riverbed is positioning Xirrus to be the WLAN component of an end-to-end cloud-managed network infrastructure with deeply integrated provisioning, policy orchestration, and digital performance for users, devices, and mission-critical business applications."

Download the full report

To read more of IDC's analysis, download the 10-page excerpt from the IDC MarketScape Worldwide Enterprise WLAN 2018 Vendor Assessment. Among other topics, you'll learn about:

  • Continued growth and compelling innovation in the WLAN market
  • How a cloud-managed solution can increase operational agility
  • Why IDC named Riverbed Xirrus a "Major Player" in 2018