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Ruckus exposing HomeSpot strategy to the open air

Beamformed WiFi vendor targeting its public-private network architecture at campuses, condos and apartments

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Ruckus Wireless is taking its beam-formed WiFi technology outside of the home and into the great outdoors, hoping to extend its carrier-focused broadband access model to outdoor hotspots, campuses and apartment blocks. While targeted at enterprises, Ruckus aims to make WiFi a carrier service, combining aspects of a private wireless LAN with a wireless ISP.

Today Ruckus unveiled a new ruggedized IEEE 802.11n access point, which the company’s vice president of marketing, David Callisch, said is optimal for outdoor deployments blanketing school campuses, resort complexes, condos and multi-dwelling units. The access point utilizes the same dynamic beam-forming technology that has made ruckus a hit with IPTV providers in Europe and is now starting to make inroads in the US. Many IPTV providers looking for a way to distribute an IPTV signal without laying down Ethernet cable throughout a home have turned to Ruckus’s platform, Callisch said.

“In-home, there are lots of obstructions that prevent WiFi signals from propagating, so operators have tended to avoid WiFi in distributing IPTV,” Callisch said. “We learned to steer those signals around obstacles.”

That same beam-forming technology can be applied in the outdoor environment to allow signals to circumvent foliage, walls and other obstacles, but Callisch is also counting on some of the business aspects of its HomeSpot architecture making its ways outdoors. In many cases, operators have used Ruckus’s gear to create dual WLAN networks in the home -- a dedicated network for the HD or standard definition TV signal and a separate network for regular Internet access — each with a separate service set identifier (SSID) to ensure that the TV stream doesn’t have to compete with a file download. Ruckus is attempting to extend that model by creating a third network, this one functioning as a carrier-managed public access point.

Though no operator has officially launched a HomeSpot network yet, Callisch said Ruckus is in numerous discussions in the US and abroad with operators who see the potential in creating public-private networks. If a HomeSpot was installed in every house and retail store, operators could essentially build a wide-area WiFi network without the construction, planning and regulatory pains of designing a public mesh network, Callisch said. Operators could give customers a discount on their DSL or cable modem fees, and in exchange, they would have a huge hotspot network ideal for offloading 3G traffic and for selling WiFi access plans, Callisch said.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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