BT to offer HPE Aruba managed wireless LAN service

UK network operator BT announced a partnership with HPE’s Aruba division [1.] to offer customers a new managed wireless LAN service powered by HPE Aruba Networking delivering improved performance, flexibility and control of local area networks (LANs). It combines BT’s global reach and extensive experience in the design, deployment and management of in-building wired and wireless connectivity with the latest HPE Aruba Networking LAN solutions.

Note 1.  On March 2, 2015, Hewlett-Packard announced it would acquire Aruba Networks for approximately $3 billion.  It’s interesting that enterprise LANs are now moving from Ethernet to WiFi where Aruba has been a leader (see IDC chart below).

Many legacy LANs struggle to support hybrid workers’ expectations when accessing apps in offices, branches, warehouses, factories or campuses. This is exacerbated by increasing use of bandwidth-hungry video collaboration tools. Colleagues also expect consistent and reliable Wi-Fi connectivity around the building. The increasing number of connected devices, including internet of things (IoT), adds further complexity and cyber security risks.

BT’s new HPE Aruba Networking Managed LAN service will allow customers to securely modernise connectivity to support changing workstyles and keep apace of IoT demands.

As a first step, BT audits the LAN to identify what is already in place and what could be re-used and anything that should be replaced. HPE Aruba Networking provides interoperable technology that can avoid the need to replace the entire network. BT will work collaboratively with the customer to manage costs by providing a staged approach to modernisation with benefits realised at each stage.

BT then evaluates how to secure and protect connected devices. It simplifies visibility by giving customers a single dashboard hosted in the cloud. This centralises reporting, analytics, security, scalability and resilience in one platform to help customers deliver a consistent end-user experience. It can also identify redundant devices using unnecessary power and automate network and energy optimisation.

Andrew Small, director of voice and digital work, Business, BT Group, said: “It’s clear that legacy in-building networks can’t handle modern hybrid working and IoT devices, never mind what comes next.  That’s why we’re expanding customer choice of managed LAN solutions by partnering with HPE Aruba Networking. This will offer the visibility, flexibility and security customers need to deliver productive, trusted wired and wireless connectivity.”

“Global customers that are building their connectivity strategies are focusing on modern enterprise networks that are secure, agile, responsive to business needs and simple to operate, while being powerful drivers of transformation,” said Phil Mottram, executive vice president and general manager, HPE Aruba Networking. “HPE Aruba Networking is at the forefront of reinventing how customers and partners can consume or deliver business-outcome focused networking, and by integrating our AI, security, automation, and Network as a Service capabilities, our global managed LAN service with BT is an example of how the network is helping customers achieve their business objectives.

Benefits  from Aruba LAN managed by BT:

  • Visibility across your network: Through cloud-native management console and single operating system that simplifies visibility and improves performance.
  • Optimized existing assets: A solution that integrates and optimizes existing LAN infrastructure, so you are future-ready.
  • Supported by BT’s experience in managing and transforming multi-vendor solutions to a more simplified and efficient network.
  • Remove the skills gaps: With a trusted partnership that has the combined breadth and depth of our expertise to deliver standalone LAN, campus-wide LAN, and wider transformation solutions.
  • Secure and automate: End-to-end managed service and deployment. Scale up or down as needed. Implement additional services, such as advanced security to gain greater insight into your network and apps.
  • Innovate and grow: Through centralised reporting, analytics, security, scalability, and resilience all in one platform that helps you deliver a consistent end-user experience and build a robust and innovative LAN.
  • Sustainable solution: BT’s Aruba LAN can identify redundant devices using unnecessary power. In addition, it uses automation to optimise network management and energy efficiency.

Market Assessment:

According to Dell’Oro group, enterprise WLAN revenues surged 48% year-on-year in the first quarter of the year, reaching $2.7 billion. Dell’Oro’s Wireless LAN research director Siân Morgan noted that the market hasn’t seen such consistent y-o-y revenue growth for 10 years. Dell’Oro expects revenues to reach $10 billion this year.  Dell’Oro said the growth in Q1 appears to have been driven by backlogged orders being filled, and that this is actually masking a decline in new orders.

IDC published its own figures this month that put global enterprise Wireless LAN (WLAN) revenue at $2.8 billion in the first quarter, up 43.3 percent on last year. Similarly to Dell’Oro, IDC said growth was driven by the easing of component shortages and supply constraints, allowing suppliers to catch up with back orders.

In terms of vendors, IDC ranks HPE Aruba second by Q1 market share at 16 percent, noting that its revenue grew 39.5%. Cisco is still the clear leader, with a market share of 47.1% and impressive enterprise WLAN revenue growth of 62.7% (see chart).