Adtran's Growth Drivers: Wireless, Carrier Networking, VARs

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Adtran will continue to invest in its principal carrier networking equipment businesses; the company just this week expanded its optical networking portfolio with what it describes as a right-sized Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer system on a blade, as well as a multi-service OTN Switchponder.

But it's clear the company sees Bluesocket's technology as a profound influence on how it will attack the wireless and mobility opportunities going forward.

"As we acquired Bluesocket, it really was the first product that helps us realize this vision we have," Bolton said during Connect. "It's the only fully virtualized Wi-Fi solution in the market. It allows [customers] to scale up without having to increase hardware."

The key to Bluesocket is a completely virtualized control plane for managing wireless infrastructure, meaning less money spent by customers on hardware-based LAN controllers. A handful of wireless companies, notably Bluesocket, Aerohive and Meraki, have in recent years sought to further the market for controller-less wireless LAN with varying approaches.

Mads Lillelund, former president and CEO of Bluesocket and now general manager of Adtran's Bluesocket business unit, said it's Adtran's intent to leverage Bluesocket with all of its portfolio, from carrier network equipment to software placed on switches.

According to Lillelund, Adtran's integration of Bluesocket not only allows it to "leapfrog" in wireless -- Adtran had a basic, early-generation access point before the acquisition -- but also makes it more relevant to the channel ecosystem that's developed around virtualization and specifically VMware, with which Bluesocket was a tightly-tied partner.

"We are VMware-ready," said Lillelund to CRN, describing how Bluesocket has participated heavily in VMware solution provider and user conferences and also VMware's developer program. "Anyone carrying VMware will understand our story."

With wireless becoming the primary means of network access for many users thanks to the explosion of mobile devices, Lillelund said that will actually limit the relevance of pureplay wireless vendors over the next three to five years as customers look for more integrated solutions.

"I don't see that a pureplay wireless company exists in the longer term," Lillelund said. "It is integrated -- it has to be integrated. If wireless is the primary way to connect, it's can't be an overlay -- there have to be hooks into the rest of the network supported by policy. I always viewed that wired and wireless would converge, and it makes sense."


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