Cisco Buys Meetinghouse to Bolster NAC Credentials

Addressing a gap in its Network Admission Control (NAC) initiative, Cisco Systems announced a definitive agreement to acquire Porstmouth, NH-based Meetinghouse Data Communications, Inc. for $43.7 million in cash.

Meetinghouse specializes in 802.1x security software that enables enterprises to restrict network access to authorized users and devices spanning wired and wireless networks. The transaction is expected to close in Cisco’s fiscal first quarter, which ends Oct. 28, by which time Meetinghouse’s products and 77 employees will be subsumed within Cisco’s wireless networking business unit (WNBU).

Cisco is attempting to make its NAC architecture easier to deploy and manage across a broad array of networks, devices, and operating systems. Until now, Cisco lacked wireless support in its Cisco Trust Agent. Cisco’s NAC is just one of several competing architectural offerings in the hotly contested network access control (NAC) marketplace, which remains in its early days, long on architectural blueprints and short on full-fledged solutions. Along with Cisco, companies battling for network-access-control dominance include Microsoft, Juniper, McAfee, and several other players, including several venture-funded startups.

Unlike the startups, Cisco has the industry experience, large installed base of customers, and whopping war chest to quickly identify deficiencies in its its product portfolio and rectify them through acquisitions like this one.

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