March 12, 2015 — In another sign of Wi-Fi convergence, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has acquired Aruba Networks, which supports the wireless workplace with 802.11ac systems. Most recently it upgraded the Houston Airport System with gigabit-speed, free Wi-Fi networks.
The deal, priced at $3 billion, will allow HP to deliver next-generation converged campus solutions, according to Meg Whitman, chairman, president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.
“Enterprises are facing a mobile-first world and are looking for solutions that help them transition legacy investments to the new style of IT,” said Whitman. “By combining Aruba’s world-class wireless mobility solutions with HP’s leading switching portfolio, HP will offer the simplest, most secure networking solutions to help enterprises easily deploy next-generation mobile networks.”
What is driving this transition? Primarily it is the expectation of high-speed nomadic connectivity with access to cloud computing applications within a workplace that has grown alongside the desire for ubiquitous mobility off the campus. But CIOs are still coming to grips with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies that bring with them speed and security issues, according to Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager for HP Servers and HP Networking business units.
“The industry is about to go through the next major wave of wireless protocol roll-out with 802.11ac, ushering in another significant change in wireless performance. Over the next three to five years, we believe this wave will drive a massive network refresh not just to our customers’ wireless access points, but to their campus switches as well,” wrote Neri in a blog.
The backdrop to the Aruba purchase is the separation of HP into two companies: HP Inc., which will handle everything in printing from ink to 3D; and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which will provide the “next generation of infrastructure, software, and services for the New Style of IT.”
HP is in the fourth year of its five-year turnaround plan, which began in 2012 when it “stabilized” the company. It is now in a new acceleration phase, according to Whitman.
“By separating, we’ll be able to accelerate the progress we’ve made to date … and more aggressively go after the opportunities in front of us. This move will also enable greater speed and agility as we work to meet rapidly changing customer requirements and market dynamics,” she wrote in a blog.
J. Sharpe Smith is the editor of AGL Link and AGL Small Cell Link.