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NEW YORK, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Network equipment maker Juniper Networks Inc (NYSE:JNPR) plans to buy Trapeze Networks, a wireless technology unit of Belden Inc (NYSE:BDC), for about $152 million, stepping up its fight against bigger rival Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO).

The all-cash deal is aimed at expanding Juniper’s expertise in wireless networking and boosting its position among business clients, the companies said on Tuesday. They expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter.

Trapeze specializes in wireless local area network, or WLAN, systems, which help users connect to the Internet from various wireless devices.

Juniper competes against Cisco in selling networking equipment to corporations. Its other rivals are also consolidating in an effort to offer clients broader product portfolios and analysts had often cited Trapeze and other WLAN providers such as Aruba Networks Inc (NASDAQ:ARUN), and Meru Networks Inc (NASDAQ:MERU) as potential acquisition targets.

Luis Avila-Marco, senior vice president of Juniper’s strategy and corporate development, said Trapeze’s equipment complemented Juniper’s existing product line, which includes switches.

"There is no overlap between what they do and what we do. It is just a great opportunity for us, it’s a good valuation in the marketplace," he said.

"This is obviously a perfect fit in the mobile Internet trend that is one of the key drivers in the marketplace. You should expect to see both organic activity in this space and if it makes sense, perhaps more M&A activity in that space."

Juniper declined to give an estimate on the financial impact on its earnings. Canaccord Genuity analyst Paul Mansky estimated that the deal values Trapeze at around 4.5 times sales, and would likely be "neutral to modestly accretive" to Juniper’s financial results in 2011.

Mansky also said owning WLAN technology was "critical to a well-rounded enterprise portfolio." He repeated a "buy" rating on the shares and raised his price target to $39 from $35.

Juniper shares were down 2.0 percent at $33.64 at midday, in line with a decline on the Nasdaq. Belden shares were up 0.8 percent at $30.86. (Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Andre Grenon)