Every network engineer is familiar with Cisco, and with its multiple brand acquisitions, it’s even become a household name for consumers in addition to business professionals.
Cisco isn’t the only major player in the hardware and TCP/IP networking game, however.
This technology giant has at least a dozen formidable competitors, many of which have developed immovable positions and niches in the networking and ICT solutions field.
Familiarize yourself with the following top Cisco competitor companies to stay current in your knowledge of hardware and networking.
If you are a networking professional or consultant in this field, knowing the big players and what solutions they offer is a big advantage for you that will help you have the whole picture in your area of occupation.
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Juniper Networks is probably the biggest rival to Cisco Systems. They compete in almost every technology area with the widest product and solutions overlapping.
If you’ve ever needed a big data cloud or networking solution, you’ve probably come across the Juniper Networks brand.
This major networking company provides IT Networking (routing, switching etc), cloud, Wide Area Network (WAN), Local Area Network (LAN) solutions to hundreds of thousands of business and consumer clients, internationally.
Juniper Networks products run on the Junos Operating System (OS) and work flawlessly with other network devices for traffic routing, data storage, Security, software, SaaS etc.
Huawei is probably best known for its consumer-level devices such as cell phones and tablets, especially outside of the United States.
You may be surprised to learn how integrated the company’s hardware is in WAN and LAN networking and anything related to Enterprise networking and connectivity, however.
Huawei manufactures networking devices (switches, routers, firewalls), servers, and other equipment that are used to connect end users and businesses alike to networks across the planet.
Huawei also offers Network as a Service (NaaS) for enterprise-level clients and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
If you’re working with governmental or enterprise data, you’ve surely encountered Fortinet products and services.
This company boasts a number one position in cybersecurity within the field of networking.
They keep not only consumer information private and secure, but work with many world governments to store and protect sensitive data and communications.
Fortinet is one of the remaining companies like Cisco to offer physical firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other networking security hardware to large organizations.
They compete with Cisco mainly on the network security arena but they carry also products and solutions around wireless communications, managed services, networking equipment etc.
4) HPE Aruba
HPE Aruba, as you may have inferred from the name, is a networking vendor acquisition of Hewlett Packard and one of the most trusted names in computing and networking.
HPE Aruba (Aruba Networks) offers wireless solutions, AI-based NaaS solutions, SDWAN, cloud and WAN storage and routing, and even Internet of Things (IoT) hardware and support.
HP’s enterprise-level Aruba brand isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and is one of Cisco’s most resilient competitors in the field of commercial networking.
Extreme Networks is an American company that’s focused on networking solutions including wired and wireless networks, SD-WAN, cloud managed networking etc.
This company offers network management services, policy creation, and security and access controls (among other) for businesses and large organizations.
Notably, Extreme Networks is the official WiFi provider for the National Football League and other household name organizations.
Extreme Networks, like Cisco, is known for acquiring other networking brands and is currently listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
While many of Cisco’s competitors are focused on networking hardware spanning low-to-high-end devices, Arista Networks has more of a focus on high-end, high-performance networking devices that are modular and expandable.
They compete aggressively in the cloud-based networking market and have products for data centers as well as clients with high computing demands.
One thing Arista Networks is known for is their network switch lineup, which through a widely lauded effort in hardware and software development, has broken records for being the fastest network device in its category.
Another competitor all Cisco customers should be aware of is Checkpoint.
Similar to Fortinet, this vendor competes with Cisco mainly on the network security area.
Checkpoint makes a wide range of products, not only for WAN and LAN environments, but for mobile connections and end-user devices as well.
Checkpoint is focused on network security and makes some of the world’s fastest and feature rich physical firewalls.
This makes large-scale data protection and security of sensitive data a painless process for thousands of enterprise-level customers.
Like many of the companies on this list, Checkpoint is a major player in the networking landscape and has its own symbol for trading on the NASDAQ.
Dell Technologies is one of few networking companies with a name perhaps more recognizable than Cisco.
Dell’s networking branch makes ethernet and edge switches, for every level of application including consumers with advanced networking demands.
Dell also provides NaaS services through its cloud storage and routing applications, and even has its own operating system, known as Networking OS.
Dell Technologies is a great brand to familiarize yourself with if you’re concerned about the scalability of the network you’re currently designing.
They don’t manufacture a broad range of networking products like Cisco but they are a notable competitor.
Many universities, colleges, and corporate headquarters and campuses rely on Allied Telesis technology to route and store data securely.
This well-known company is known for ease-of-use networking devices and cloud storage services and is trusted by thousands of institutions you’re already familiar with.
Allied Telesis works with all organizations, big and small, and is a great choice if your business is on the trajectory of becoming an enterprise but still requires a more personal level of support.
Allied Telesis works with healthcare and government customers as well as small businesses to gather, analyze, store, and transmit data quickly and securely.
10) Palo Alto
This company falls in the same league as Fortinet and Checkpoint.
Palo Alto provides 24/7 cybersecurity solutions including network intrusion prevention and detection through its hardware security devices and Software as a Service (SaaS) network monitoring products and AI-backed automated investigation services.
One of the most interesting offerings from Palo Alto is the Machine Learning (ML) powered Zero Day Exploit detection which uses large data sets and behavior tracking to detect when new exploits are harming your network or compromising your data, mitigating a lot of potential damage to your business and it’s customers.
Palo Alto also has file and traffic analysis software that can work on any cloud service, making it easy to apply to whichever solution you’re already using.
Whether you’re accustomed to Cisco and it’s current lineup of hardware and networking solutions, or have newly found a need for data and networking solutions, it’s important to be familiar with Cisco’s major competitors.
Staying informed about these companies can help you find the best solutions for your own business or organization, and even save you money on many services such as NaaS solutions and the network hardware needed to store and transmit your company’s data.
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