Ruckus acquires onboarding provider Cloudpath

Some Cloudpath customers express concern

Wireless infrastructure manufacturer Ruckus announced Thursday that it would purchase Cloudpath Networks, best known for its Wi-Fi onboarding software products, for an undisclosed sum.

Ruckus said in a statement that it would “immediately” begin to integrate Cloudpath’s software into its Smart Wi-Fi offering, praising the company’s technology and saying that it would help Ruckus users bring new devices into BYOD setups more easily.

Cloudpath CEO and co-founder Kevin Koster said that the idea is to simplify the process for both users and IT staff.

“Employees, guests and students should be able to get easy and secure access from their device of choice,” he said. “And it should be equally simple for IT to comprehensively manage and secure that access without generating IT support calls when people try to connect.”

Early indications, however, are that Ruckus’ acquisition of Cloudpath isn’t being greeted all that warmly by customers – particularly in the educational sector, where Cloudpath is well-regarded. In postings to the Educause wireless issues constituent group mailing list, networking professionals worried that their ability to use Cloudpath products the way that they’re used to could be threatened.

University of Utah senior network engineer Curtis Larsen said that he was “not excited” by news of the transaction, and hopes that there are few changes coming for users.

“We’ve been using Cloudpath Networks for [eight] years including the Enrollment System with EAP-TLS for a year - and I’ve been super pleased with it,” he wrote. “I hope they intend to support non-Ruckus vendors for a long time and keep Kevin Koster running things.”

Joe Coehoorn, director of information technology at York College, speculated about the potential outcomes for customers.

“Best case scenario: Ruckus’ awesome Dynamic PSK feature gets rolled into Cloudpath for the rest of us and the pricing comes down in an effort to use CloudPath to eventually sway customers towards Ruckus hardware,” Coehoorn wrote. “Worst case: Cloudpath effectively goes Ruckus-only.”

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