Ericsson and Cisco try to save their marriage by conceiving Evolved Wifi Networks

The two networking companies are looking to move on from a difficult first year by giving birth to a new flavour of wifi.

It’s no secret that the vows exchanged between Ericsson and Cisco in November 2015 were sorely tested, culminating in the awkward anniversary video below, for some reason still featuring the long-departed Hans Vestberg. It says something about the decline of their relationship that they couldn’t even get it together to shoot some fresh footage.

But the couple seem to have decided they have something worth fighting for, and having toyed with an open relationship, they have concluded that starting a family is the way forward. The precious progeny will take the form of Evolved Wifi Networks – a splicing together of Ericsson 3GPP access and Cisco wifi DNA – which will enable Ericsson to offer wifi-on-steroids to its enterprise customers.

“Our strategic partnership brings together the capabilities of two leading players in networking, mobility and cloud, creating the best end-to-end solutions and opportunities for our customers,” insisted Rima Qureshi, head of the Cisco partnership at Ericsson. “By adding wifi solutions into the partnership, we will enable our customers to offer best-in-class wifi in their networks, complemented by our leading 3GPP portfolio and services organization.”

“With wifi traffic predicted to grow to 50 percent of the total IP traffic by 2020, a top priority for service providers is to deliver the best possible connected experiences to their customers,” concurred Yvette Kanouff, GM of the Service Provider Business Unit at Cisco. “Through our extended strategic partnership with Ericsson, we are committed to providing Wi -Fi solutions of the highest quality performance and reliability.”

To date the sum total of over a year of coupling was just 60 done deals so the two companies will have felt understandable pressure to deliver something more substantial. This may or may not be it, depending on how much additional revenue it generates, but it could also be another incremental step towards Cisco becoming Ericsson’s sugar-daddy.

As if to demonstrate Cisco’s not the only show in town Ericsson has also been busy forming other partnerships at the start of this crucial year. It has teamed up with T-Mobile to demonstrate 900 Mbps over LTE, using all the carrier aggregation, MIMO and QAM goodness you would expect. Loyalty is clearly in short supply these days, however, as T-Mobile promptly announced the same achievement in partnership with Nokia.

Without missing a step Ericsson continued its promiscuous visit to Vegas by getting into bed with AT&T and Qualcomm on a good, old, 5G development partnership, which will encompass all the usual New Radio R&D. Apparently still unsated Ericsson announced yet another ménage à trois, this time with Orange and PSA Group to research 5G in a connected.

It hardly seems in keeping with the spirit of its renewed efforts with Cisco for Ericsson to by flirting with so many other companies, but maybe this is one last hurrah before the two settle down together for good. Either way this looks set to be an especially busy year for Ericsson and who knows what new intrigue MWC might bring.


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