In the wake Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) acquisition of Aruba Networks, it appears that Juniper Networks has found a new wireless networking vendor to become its new best buddy.

Juniper Networks and Ruckus Wireless this week announced a strategic partnership under which the two companies have pledged to integrate their respective wired and wireless networking technologies.

Shifting vendor alliances?

Scott Miles, director of product marketing at Juniper Networks, said for the time being at least Juniper Networks will continue to work with Aruba Networks as well. But given the level of competition between HP and Juniper Networks when it comes to switches and routers, it’s fairly apparent that Ruckus Wireless will enjoy a more favored trading partner status with Juniper. Because Juniper Networks has adhered to open standards, Miles said integrating multiple wireless networks with its network management framework is a relatively straight forward endeavor.

Not as clear over the long term is which vendor is going to take the actual network management lead. While there is a lot of Juniper networking gear in the enterprise, wireless networks are quickly emerging as the primary network being used to service any number of wireless devices. That means that while wireless networks were once viewed as an extension of that wired networking infrastructure, the devices on a wired network may soon be managed via consoles that were originally designed for a wireless network.

More M&A to come

Clearly, this trend is already helping to drive a wave of mergers and acquisitions across the entire networking category that is giving many managed service providers cause for pause. At any given moment one of the wireless networking vendors they have chosen to standardize on could be rolled up inside a larger entity. The degree to which that is a going thing or not will, of course, depend on what vendor gets rolled up by whom.

Citing numbers from Gartner, Juniper notes that end-user spending on enterprise wireless LAN (WLAN) equipment will grow from $5.3 billion in 2015 to $7.8 billion worldwide in 2019. The degree to which each individual organization will want to manage those wireless networks is obviously going to vary as well. But the one thing that is for certain is that as networks become more complex the greater the probability there is that organizations will look for some external help, which more often than not will come in the form of an MSP that can either take on the task altogether or manage a subset of it in a way that frees up that organization to focus on tasks that add more value to the business.