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Time Warner Cable adds Ruckus gear to Wi-Fi arsenal

Tue, 05/08/2012 - 2:59pm
Mike Robuck

Time Warner Cable is building out its Wi-Fi network in its Los Angeles system with the addition of a new vendor, Ruckus Wireless, in order to keep its subscribers plugged in to its mobile broadband service.

In September, Time Warner Cable announced it was spending $15 million on its Wi-Fi network in Los Angeles, which marked the company’s biggest Wi-Fi deployment to date. At the time, Time Warner Cable said it was using Wi-Fi equipment from BelAir Networks, which was subsequently acquired by Ericsson. Time Warner Cable has also used gear from Cisco for some of its other Wi-Fi networks.

On its first-quarter earnings call last month, Time Warner Cable President and COO Rob Marcus said the company had 2,000 hotspot access points live in its Los Angeles system but was on track to have 10,000 by the end of the year. While Marcus didn’t mention Ruckus by name during the earnings call, it’s clear with today’s announcement that Time Warner Cable is counting on Ruckus to help it reach its stated goal.

With the International CTIA show as its backdrop, Ruckus announced today that Time Warner Cable is using its 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi systems. A spokesman for Time Warner Cable said the Ruckus equipment is being used for both indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots in the cable operator’s Los Angeles system.

"Subscribers now expect their broadband services to be accessible wherever they go, and Wi-Fi is a great way to make this happen – if it's fast and reliable," said Mike Roudi, senior vice president of mobile services at Time Warner Cable. “More and more, Wi-Fi is about data consumption on wireless-only smart devices. The problem is finding Wi-Fi technology specifically designed for stringent carrier requirements. Ruckus is one of the few Wi-Fi suppliers we've found with such a focus, having developed a range of indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi products based on high reliability and pervasive performance. This is important to Time Warner Cable as we build our wireless infrastructure to give customers the best broadband experience possible, no matter where they are."

Ruckus said it is working with Time Warner Cable on the deployment of dual-band, outdoor, strand-mounted Wi-Fi access points that integrate a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem for backhauling Wi-Fi traffic over Time Warner Cable's existing cable plant. Additionally, Ruckus and Time Warner are also teaming up to extend the company's branded broadband services within high-traffic environments using specialized, ultra-high-capacity Wi-Fi access points designed for stadiums and large public venues.

Cable operators, including Comcast, Cablevision and Bright House Networks, are looking at Wi-Fi as a way to reduce customer churn while providing a value-added service to their customers. They could also decide to use Wi-Fi as a means to provision 3G or 4G mobile backhaul from wireless carriers, location-based services, and advertising and wholesale opportunities. Wireless vendors and service providers are also looking at ways to improve the Wi-Fi roaming experience between carriers and hotspots with Passpoint.

"Time Warner Cable clearly understands the strategic importance of Wi-Fi for carriers and is one of the more aggressive players in the wireless land-grab currently underway," said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. "The expansion of Wi-Fi into millions of homes, offices and public Wi-Fi hotspots, along with the growth of a vast and mature ecosystem built of thousands of devices, has established Wi-Fi as the most heavily used wireless technology in the world.”

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