SWEETNESS!By CWNP On 08/14/2009 - 7 Comments
That's what I think about it. It's just pure sweetness. Fluke buys AirMagnet. I'll be the first to admit that I never saw it coming...never. I thought it would be Cisco. In hind-sight, the Fluke acquisition makes perfect sense of course. Fluke has reigned in the Ethernet diagnostic market for years, and a young newcomer had taken that spot within the Wi-Fi market. Fluke has had Wi-Fi diagnostic gear for some time, and their people are extremely committed to their cause, but their product portfolio simply hasn't stacked up against the market leaders...until now. Apparently they have, in one very bold step, moved to center stage of the diagnostics market en total. Unreal.
Obviously there are other players in the Wi-Fi diagnostics market, but nobody has a broader and deeper product portfolio than AirMagnet. If you've played with their software at all, you'll know that they've mastered ease-of-use and product features. I simply never hear anything critical of their products, so with all of that, I can see why Fluke would make such a move.
So what does this mean for the industry at large? That's the exciting part to me...being an industry advocate. First, it means that AirMagnet now has the reach, financial backing, and marketing of Fluke Networks. That's huge. Second, it means that a Wi-Fi infrastructure vendor doesn't own AirMagnet. Why does that matter, you ask? Well, from the perspective of Wi-Fi infrastructure vendors, Wi-Fi diagnostic vendors are neutral.
While infrastructure vendors' current efforts to create leading-edge, integrated diagnostic tools are very important for their own customers, neutral (3rd party) diagnostic products are still essential in troubleshooting and designing from a standards-based and vendor-neutral perspective. Both have their place, and the industry would suffer if one were suddenly lost.
Anyone remember Cognio's Spectrum Expert? AWESOME product, but when swallowed up by Cisco and put into APs, it gave Cisco a definite advantage in distributed spectrum analysis to the detriment of all other vendors. There wasn't really a "close second"...or third...in the market at that time (or now for that matter). The acquisition meant that everyone else had to roll their own, more-or-less starting from scratch. While Atheros chipsets in APs can do some limited amount of spectrum analysis, it's not on the same playing field with the Cisco/Cognio product. When diagnostic tools of that magnitude are eaten by large infrastructure vendors, a significant portion of the market can suffer. While you can still buy Cisco's Spectrum Expert as a stand-alone product, try licensing it for your APs (if you're a Cisco competitor). :-)
So the fact that Fluke will now own AirMagnet means that all of the Wi-Fi infrastructure vendors will remain on equal footing in regards to access to the broadest and deepest 3rd party diagnostic tool portfolio in the market. I think this is good for the industry.
Congratulations to Dean Au, Chia-Chee Kuan, Miles Wu, and their extraordinary team of product managers, marketing pros, and all the rest.
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