Mavenir buys into security gateways with Stoke purchase

Mavenir has been making a name for itself as it becomes more urgent for operators to deploy IP voice, whether VoLTE or VoWiFi. Voice support  has been a key focus of the company’s positioning of its IP network software offering, but even its own VP of strategy and marketing, Ian McClean, recently admitted that in voice, “finding the killer app that the over-the-top guys don’t offer is going to be tough”.

So it will be important for Mavenir to keep its IP options open and support a broad range of potential operator business models. In order to widen its portfolio, it is acquiring Stoke, a specialist in mobile gateways, particularly security products.

This will give the new parent stronger footholds in Asia – NTT Docomo is Stoke’s flagship customer, and invested in its early efforts, while Softbank is also a client, and it works with integrators in Japan and Korea.

The security gateway product itself will deepen Mavenir’s offering, and provide a stepping stone towards small cell networks.  CEO Pardeep Kohli said: “Mavenir will be expanding our portfolio and enhancing our expertise in security technologies at a critical juncture in 4G LTE network evolution. The transition to all-IP requires robust, high performance security solutions at the access and interconnect points to 4G LTE networks.”

The Stoke LTE Security Gateway will be combined with Mavenir’s session border controller (SBC) and evolved packet data gateway (ePDG) to create an end-to-end offering.

Mavenir will pay just $2.9m in cash for Stoke, though it will also assume its new unit’s debt of $1.9m. Stoke has raised about $92m in venture capital funding since it was founded in 2005, initially targeting fixed/mobile convergence. Since then, it has gone after various gateway segments, including WiFi offload, but has always pushed the idea that a great deal of network intelligence should be at the edge, rather than in a fat central mobile core.

This is in tune with trends towards distributed architectures and small cells, but with larger firms adopting the theme, and IT majors like Oracle moving into the IP network space too, Stoke has found it hard to gain scale. Under Mavenir’s ownership, it will be part of a broader platform, and the move towards a virtualized, hardware-neutral security gateway – a common goal for both companies – should be accelerated.