Juniper to buy Belden’s Trapeze, sources say

Trapeze will move Juniper into WLANs

Juniper Networks is expected to soon announce that it is acquiring wireless LAN player Trapeze Networks from parent Belden in a move that will expand Juniper’s enterprise portfolio.

According to several sources from the wireless LAN arena, Juniper could announce the deal within the next two weeks. Juniper is hosting an analyst day next Thursday, Sept. 23, and it usually reserves major announcements for that event.

Juniper said it would not comment on rumor or speculation. Belden did not comment by press time.

The sources, who requested anonymity, work at Trapeze competitors and said they too were scrutinized by Juniper before Juniper selected Trapeze.

“Juniper about three months ago brought every WLAN vendor in to evaluate fit, technology, markets, etc.  We were one of them,” one source said. “Then we heard from three independent sources that the decision had been made to purchase Trapeze from Belden who has been struggling to make use of their stuff.”

Belden acquired privately-held Trapeze in 2008 for $133 million in cash to add a controller-based WLAN product line to its existing copper and fiber-optic cabling, cable management, and connectivity products. Belden attempted to position itself as a supplier of unified wired and wireless products buts sources say Belden has done little to capitalize on the acquisition.

Trapeze was one of a pack of start-ups that pioneered the concept of the "wireless LAN switch," linking with so-called thin access points to centrally control and secure WLANs, and allow clients to roam seamlessly. It’s share of the $1.6 billion enterprise market in 2009 was 2.2%, according to Dell’Oro Group, trailing Cisco, Aruba, Motorola, HP, Meru and Alcatel-Lucent.

At the time of the Belden acquisition, Trapeze said it had $56 million in 2007 revenues and 4,000 customers. Those products also were sold under OEM agreements to 3Com, Enterasys, and Nortel.

In April 2008, Trapeze introduced a two-radio 802.11n access point and a new high-end WLAN controller for large-scale wireless networks. Trapeze also acquired Newbury Networks, a maker of WLAN-based location systems, in 2008.

Additional reporting by John Cox

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