Ruckus takes on Clear with “Smart” Wi-Fi

Mon, 11/16/2009 - 7:40am
Brian Santo

Ruckus Wireless is hitting the market with what it’s calling an end-to-end, managed wireless broadband access (WBA) system, a mesh Wi-Fi approach the company contends is far less costly than WiMAX.

AT&T, Cablevision and Bright House Networks are among the service providers that have demonstrated that subscribers value Wi-Fi access. Comcast jumped on the bandwagon this year.

Meanwhile, Clearwire is rolling out WiMAX. The MSOs among its investors – Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House – have the first shot at reselling the service. Clearwire intends to reach out to other MSOs, but Ruckus is making the case that operators can deliver reliable wireless broadband much faster and for less money. 

Ruckus said its WBA solution “addresses the massive opportunity for high-speed data services that WiMAX cannot due to huge start-up cost and deployment complexity.” The company promises a 5X reduction in capital costs for initial coverage and a 30X reduction in the cost of incremental capacity.

The Ruckus WBA system includes outdoor mesh access points, customer premises equipment, a new line of smart Wi-Fi backhaul systems and system-wide remote management.

The whole point of mobile WiMAX is that it is far more robust than extant Wi-Fi, based on IEEE 802.11b and 802.11g standards. Thus far, Wi-Fi has proven most suitable for indoor “islands” – homes, shops, malls, etc. WiMAX was designed with farther reach, and can be accessed even in moving vehicles.

Ruckus is countering with the new generation of Wi-Fi, the higher-speed 802.11n technology, combined with its own patented antennas and its dynamic beamforming software to deliver more extensive, stable coverage than previous outdoor Wi-Fi systems.

Ruckus Smart Mesh networking routes traffic over wired and wirelessly meshed APs, using the highest performing path in real time. It allows APs to be aggregated over gigabit Ethernet for capacity without the overhead of additional mesh hops, the company explained.

Ruckus says its system allows operators to deploy infrastructure in months, not years; build coverage and capacity incrementally; spend millions, rather than billions of dollars on infrastructure; realize faster time to revenue; and incur operational expenses that the company warrants will be lower by an order of magnitude.

Ruckus points to customer WiNet Broadband, a Malaysian operator currently deploying a Ruckus WBA infrastructure, including ZoneFlex 802.11n and 802.11g mesh access points, in-building CPE and point-to-point backhaul nodes to deliver wireless service to its customers. WiNet plans to deploy 4,000 nodes by the end of 2010, and it is targeting to attract 250,000 subscribers by the end of 2010 and 1 million over the next three years. The company plans to invest more than $280 million in wireless broadband services over the next 10 years.

"We see huge cost savings and much faster time to profit using Smart Wi-Fi to deliver a reliable broadband service to subscribers," said Bruce Bateman, chief operating officer at WiNet. "Advances in Wi-Fi that extend signal range, reduce backhaul cost and provide adaptive, self-healing meshing are impossible to ignore. With Ruckus, we can now build out our infrastructure faster, on-demand, at a radically lower cost and with better performance and reliability."

More Broadband Direct 11/16/09:
•  Motorola buys CDN specialist BitBand
•  Sprint adds WiMAX coverage in Texas
•  Ruckus takes on Clear with "Smart" Wi-Fi
•  Sezmi pilots new type of TV service in LA
•  OpenTV powers Australian provider's upgrade
•  Brightcove bows 4th generation of video platform
•  Cisco raises bid for Tandberg to $3.4B
•  Report: Qualcomm has lead with 4G patents
•  Broadcast pioneer NBC prepares for cable takeover
•  Broadband Briefs for 11/16/09



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