ILEC Consolidated Communications is deploying Ruckus Wireless’ MediaFlex 802.11n-based multimedia system as its in-home connectivity standard, enabling wireless IPTV for its subscribers.
Consolidated Communications includes the Ruckus Wi-Fi router at no additional charge as part of its digital video service. Ruckus routers include the company’s beam-forming technology, designed to provide more efficient Wi-Fi connections.
Beam-forming (what the company is calling “Smart Wi-Fi”) quadruples the range of Wi-Fi signals by focusing them, Ruckus explained. As it experiences any type of hindrance, Smart Wi-Fi continuously routes and re-routes Wi-Fi signals over the best and highest performing paths, effectively "steering" the signals around interference from sources such as microwave ovens, cordless phones and Bluetooth headsets, to ensure flicker-free TV.
Ruckus said Consolidated Communications is among one of the first broadband providers to offer the in-home wireless IPTV option on a large, multi-state scale. The ILEC serves consumers throughout Illinois, Texas and Pennsylvania.
Consolidated Communications delivers its IPTV services over its ADSL2+ network using MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 compression. It offers broadband speeds of up to 35 Mbps to support standard-definition streams delivered at data rates of 3 Mbps, and high-definition streams delivered at 7 Mbps.
"Smarter Wi-Fi solutions deliver three important benefits: It accelerates new service and revenue opportunities, cuts in half the time and cost associated with traditional cabling required to enable television services, and gives our customers the freedom, flexibility and control they've always wanted," said J.J. Hollie, product manager for digital video services at Consolidated Communications. "Historically, because of range and reliability issues, using Wi-Fi wasn't even really considered a valid alternative. But that's all changed."
In Ruckus’ estimation, IPTV in the U.S. has languished due to relatively weak broadband penetration, a legacy cable infrastructure largely used for the distribution of television and slower broadband speeds into the home unable to support the bandwidth requirements of IPTV. In addition, potential users are dispersed over millions of square miles.
"Until now, to install IPTV we've had to wire or rewire customer homes with Ethernet cabling, which can take anywhere from three to six hours," Hollie said. "Customers don't like the disruption and prefer a more elegant wireless solution, but only if it is as reliable as a wire. The Ruckus MediaFlex system delivers wire-like stability and, as a result, we have eliminated the need for in-home wiring, cutting installation times in half. Unlike any other wireless system we've seen, Ruckus Wireless designed the MediaFlex system for this exact application."
Broadcom’s announcement of new set-top silicon illustrates the lack of confidence in wireless networking. Broadcom’s silicon supports MoCA, DLNA and HDMI, but barely refers to Wi-Fi.