Dear FortiRu; An Open Letter of Affection, Disappointment, and Encouragement

Dear FortiRu,

You and I have been together for almost seven years.  We have been many places together; local government buildings, soft drink distributors, beer distributors, small town banks, surgical tool manufacturing facilities, resorts, retirement communities, many private and public schools (too many to count), and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (Remember TJ’s attic?).  We have had ups and downs but to be honest it has been mostly a positive relationship.  I will admit, there was a time when I didn’t want to talk much about you and I, afraid of what others would think, but I eventually professed my affection for you publicly.  Many out there were launching arrows at you and it became too difficult to stand by and watch you take hit after hit.  You would get criticism, some just, but mostly un-just, from people that barely knew you or didn’t know you at all.  I tried to jump in and take bullets on your behalf.  People kept firing…

It has been nearly three years since we reached a milestone in our relationship.  Some milestones are good, some not so good.  I’m not sure which one is a good reflection of us yet.  Some people probably wonder why I care so much about you.  My answer would be that after you have been with something for so long, it becomes part of you.  I feel like I have so much invested in you.  You have been great for me and my career!  There are many more fish in the sea and sometimes I think I might be better off somewhere else, but I always find my way back to you.  You have been there since I decided to really focus my attention on wireless technologies.  You have been there as my career blossomed and you have even give me opportunities that I may have not had otherwise.

My questions for you at this point in our relationship are this; where do you see us going?  Do you think we have a future together?  Not necessarily where everyone else is going (MCA), but with something that our relationship has a FOUNDATION on (SCA\Virtual Cell)?  All those other choices out there seem so much alike.  Some are built in the cloud, offer similar features, and solid reputations, but you… you are different!  You have something special.  You have something that others have tried but have failed at.  That cute little thing you do (SCA\Virtual Cell) “may” be getting a little stale, but there are so many advantages and unrealized potential.  I was hoping so badly that the milestone I spoke of above would bring a revitalized fire, and I hope that it still might!  There have been GREAT improvements since that milestone but I just don’t see where you want to be yet.  I am concerned for you.  Do you want to be like everyone else or do you want to be unique and build on something great?  How would Dr. Bharghavan, Srinath Sarang, Joseph Epstein, and Sung-Wook Han feel about the direction you are taking?  I know you might not care what they think anymore, but they are the ones who brought you into this world.

People ask me about you all the time.  They ask how you are doing and what you are going to do with your future.  I can’t answer those questions.  YOU HAVE TO ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS!

I was present recently when you talked about some things that you have been going through.  There were a lot of people around (Wireless LAN Professionals Conference 2018) and I was so excited to see you stand up and start talking.  I thought you were getting ready to have a breakthrough and let everyone know how awesome you can be… but then I was let down just as quickly as it started.  I’ll be honest, I was a little embarrassed.  People around me noticed how excited I got when I saw you and then they noticed how quickly I was let down.  You did a great job talking and the presentation was fine, but I couldn’t help but think it was a little fake.  It wasn’t who you really are.  I felt like you were just saying things you thought others wanted to hear.  People told me afterwards that they would have rather heard you talk about WHO YOU REALLY ARE, but instead you were “like all the rest of them.”  Love you or hate you, people just want you to BE YOU!

I’ve been places and heard those other fish in the sea speak about themselves with confidence.  They keep wanting so badly to improve themselves, make themselves look good, and be accepted.  I can’t help but notice that it seems like you don’t care about everything that makes you who you are.  It seems you don’t remember where you came from, almost like you are trying to be someone else.  The world doesn’t need followers.  They (the others) all look the same to me.  I love you for who you were, who you are, and for the potential that you have.  Please don’t fall into the same line all of the others are in.  You were about being different.  Don’t lose sight of that!

There are so many people out there that know your potential.  I know they might not always outwardly express their feelings, but they tell me.  They tell me to fight for you and tell me to be patient… and I will, but I can’t do it by myself.  I need your help.  I need you to be confident in yourself.  I need you to help me.  It can’t be a one way road like it has been.  Help me help you!

I can’t speak for the future and what others feel, but I can speak for myself.  If I don’t see effort in this relationship, I don’t know that I can continue on.  I will still work beside you and be your friend, but I can’t guarantee that I will have the fight in me anymore.

No matter what happens, I will always care about you.  I just hope that you can figure out who you really are.  You might already know but just haven’t told anyone yet, and that is ok, but just know that you are not helping anyone, including yourself.

I am writing this letter to you, not because I want to break up, but because I care about you and your future.  I know you have great potential even though I don’t know exactly what the future looks like.  There are so many people pulling for you, I promise.  I hope my future has you in it.

(Hopefully) Yours always,



  1. Dear MeruMitch,

    I am overwhelmed at the amount of passion and outpouring of thoughts that you shared in your comments. At Fortinet we consider every customer a precious gift, and something to be respected, valued and cared for during our time together. Yourself and Loudoun County Public Schools certainly embodies this consideration for loyal customers. I think the message from your comments is clear, we clearly missed the mark in the presentation of our strategy. Rest assured our strategy as presented did not capture the comprehensive strategy and vision or mean to insinuate any deviation from our heritage and pedigree with the Meru Solution (SCA/Virtual Cell). We value the loyal following of customers and adopters like yourself of this technology and as the owner and developer of this IP continue every day to focus on new features, functionality, and ways to enhance this powerful solution.

    At times we tend to default to our Fortinet heritage and focus our marketing message more on our security solutions including our recently announced “Fabric Integrated Wireless” which focuses more on security attributes of Wireless LAN than the connectivity side of things. This doesn’t mean we value any of the three wireless solutions we offer (Cloud, Integrated, and Controller Based) any less than either of the other ones. We strongly recommend all three solutions for the right scenario and application. Many times they overlap and one could argue two or even all three of the solutions could work perfectly fine for some or most opportunities.

    We continue to work on the plan I shared with you last time we met. That is to create a singular line of Access Points that work whether Cloud Managed, managed as part of the Integrated Security Fabric, or managed as a Stand-Alone Controller. We have executed on that plan and now have our “U – Universal” series access points that are available today and can be managed by all three solutions. These new access points support and embrace SCA/Virtual Cell. We continue to support that technology and see the value in many deployment scenarios.

    A couple things we are focused on now, such as exploring ways to make all three solutions part of the Fabric Managed Solution, sharing thread data and intelligence, detection, and mitigation actions. We love the products we inherited through the Menu acquisition. We work daily to integrate it and Fortitize it, embracing it as an essential component of our solution sets.

    To summarize, we have not abandoned or wandered away from the solution that you have. We work every day to make it stronger, faster, better. We may have led with a different marketing message and something we thought was influential to the industry, but rest assured we have not abandoned your or any other customers. It sounds like we could have shared a more comprehensive message about the strategy and vision for all three solutions, and made it more apparent our direction and commitment to further enhancement and development of all three technologies.

    We are committed to growing our wireless practice and becoming a world leader in fast, secure, and powerful Wireless LAN. We are growing fast than the marketplace both as a Security Company and as a Wireless Vendor. We have several message to the market about our wireless prowess, by my message to you is that we are here for the long haul. we love our customers, and appreciate input like this to help shape our future together.

    Thanks again for the passion and thought. Know that your comments were heard and shared among our team.

    As a side note, I do think you could have a strong side business in the greeting card industry or at least I would like to ping you near next Valentine’s Day for some thought on poetry or a note for my wife. You wax poetic with the best. 🙂



  2. Wow!

    Such Passion from a loyal Meru customer and many more that I run into as I travel visiting customers seeking non wifi solutions 🙂

    I hope this technology lives on and the core technology from Meru is upgraded to solving the needs of today’s wifi.

    Just a shout out to the wonderful folk at fortinet, we may have moved on from the company we started but are still around if you want to chat 🙂



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