Ruckus Wireless introduced a Wi-Fi access point designed specifically for use by the cable industry.

The company's 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi access point supports Wi-Fi, IP-based video applications, multimedia hotspots, extended wireless LAN (WLAN) services and 3G data offloading.

The new product, called the ZoneFlex 7761-CM, incorporates the company's interference rejection capabilities. Ruckus said MSOs can use their existing cable modem plant to backhaul traffic while offering reliable Wi-Fi access within the unlicensed band. The device is plant-powered.

The ZoneFlex was designed specifically to easily extend managed WLANs for strand-mounted locations where stringing Ethernet cabling is not feasible, notably in the types of outdoors areas (train stations, parks, plazas, etc.) where service providers have been extending Wi-Fi coverage.

"Using the existing cable strand infrastructure to deliver reliable Wi-Fi access makes perfect sense and is a major focus for almost every cable operator in the United States," said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. "What's changed over the last two years is the arrival of 802.11n, the debut of DOCSIS 3.0 and the introduction of smart antenna array technology. Combining these innovations gives cable companies the power to capitalize and more quickly exploit the mobile Internet phenomenon."

Lo noted that the cost structure of using smarter Wi-Fi is dramatically lower than the cost per bit of providing broadband access using wide area approaches such as WiMAX, licensed spectrum or 3G services.

"While MSOs will invest in different solutions, including licensed spectrum, backhaul and emerging technologies such as femto and picocells, Wi-Fi represents one of the best compliments and most cost-effective strategies to augment existing network assets. Up to now, Wi-Fi's reliability within the unlicensed band has kept cable operators away from the technology. Our breakthroughs in automatic RF signal control have helped solve these problems and have propelled Ruckus into a leadership position within the service provider market."

The ZoneFlex 7761-CM is available upon request for testing by MSOs.

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