Light Reading
SlideshowRaising a Ruckus With U-verse
Phil Harvey
Slide Shows
Phil Harvey

Ruckus Wireless Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) will announce its new 802.11n-based 7000 series products this month, Light Reading has learned.

How'd we learn this? We tested the gear in a real IPTV home (mine).

Here's a slideshow documenting the experiment: Looking Sharp(ie) Background
Ruckus is no newcomer here. The company says almost a million of its MediaFlex 802.11g/a systems are being used around the world by more than 140 broadband providers including Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB), and others. (See Ruckus Powers Swedish IPTV, DT Picks Ruckus Wireless, Ruckus Wins Czech Carrier, and Sonaecom Picks Ruckus.)

It's not clear how many of those are IPTV installations, but it doesn't matter: This new MediaFlex 7000 series has different DNA. (See Ruckus Raises 802.11n Stakes.) The 802.11n technology uses multi-antenna arrays and spatial multiplexing to double the range of wireless local area networks and ramp up the speed at which data and video can be delivered.

Ruckus's older MediaFlexes, those based on 802.11b/g, deliver 20 Mbit/s of guaranteed bandwidth "to any corner of a 4,000 square foot home," the company says. Installation
Usually, plugging something in and turning it on doesn't demand its own paragraph. But the Ruckus MediaFlex gear does, if only to note that Ruckus auto-provisioned the gear in the factory, so it worked out of the box. I took it out, hooked the 7811 access point to the home gateway, and a 7111 adapter to each of two set-tops in the home. I installed no software, and made no changes to my U-verse service.

The MediaFlex 7000 series gear performed very well. It was, after all, built to deliver between 40 Mbit/s and 60 Mbit/s of consistent video throughput in a typical 2,500 square-foot residence. [Ed. note: When comparing the MediaFlex 7000 press materials to that of its predecessors, we note that someone must have moved to a smaller house.]

During my test, there was no detectable difference between watching HDTV on the coaxial cable-connected U-verse and the Ruckus-enabled U-verse service. (See The U-verse Experiment)

That said, MediaFlex won't work in a Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS household –- that is, it won't be able to carry the video signals from the FiOS gateway to the FiOS set-tops. FiOS delivers live TV via radio-frequency over fiber, not as IP packets. Same thing goes for cable TV homes.

Any home could use MediaFlex just as home WiFi, to carry Internet traffic, but it would be overkill.

The only way to "max out" the AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) U-verse service is to simply watch as much stuff with one set-top as the service would allow. So I recorded two HD shows, while at the same time watching a "widescreen" (but not high-def) pay-per-view movie.

My test wasn't enough of a bandwidth load to sweat the Ruckus gear, but there was a hiccup in the VOD ordering and in the TV recording. In both instances, either I was working the controls too fast, the Ruckus gear dropped a packet or two, or AT&T's servers were gently trying to tell me to relax and not smash the buttons so fast.

AT&T hasn't started its whole-home DVR (WHDVR) service in my area yet, so I couldn't test it. But, I happen to know that AT&T installs its HPNAv3 home networks to run at around 112 Mbit/s. (See AT&T: Hold the MoCA and IP Video: In the House.) That's why they use a home's coaxial cable when installing U-verse, most of the time. For a fully loaded WHDVR, like the demo I describe here, AT&T would require an available throughput in the home network of around 80 Mbit/s, when assuming some overhead for simultaneous Internet use and voice calls. That would outpace the Ruckus gear's capabilities on paper but, in real life, the data could be queued and the traffic prioritized, and the users likely aren't going to be stressing the network that much, that often.

Another unknown: Ruckus's gear will ship with carrier-side software and TR-069 capabilities to provide for remote management. (For a great summary on why TR-069 matters, read Page 6 of this report.) We didn't test that, but we assume carriers will.

Conclusion and Disclaimers
What can we say? It worked. It really worked. And now I can rearrange my living room without fear of the HDTV moving too far from a coaxial cable outlet. While this seems like good news for IPTV providers, I should note that AT&T didn't approve, or have anything to do with, my test. Ruckus says it is about to announce a carrier customer when it debuts the product, but won't say whether it's working with AT&T in any capacity.

To make a point, though: Think what would happen if a telco TV technician could install a U-verse-like service using a wireless system like Ruckus to interconnect the set-tops and home gateway, as opposed to stringing up a bunch of cable. The cost of the installed equipment would go up -- the Ruckus MediaFlex 7811 access point and 7111 adapter list for $199 and $139 respectively. But installation times -- an absolute profit killer for telcos -- would go way down.

Now that the once impossible is a cakewalk, we wonder: Is the trade-off between installation costs and installation times worth it for carriers? How much are consumers willing to pay for their own wireless flexibility? How much are carriers willing to subsidize that privilege (or is it a necessity)?

— Phil Harvey, The Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:20 PM
re: Raising a Ruckus With U-verse
With Ruckus delivering an 802.11n solution what has happened to their intellectual property. I thought that they implmented a propriatory QoS wifi solution that is not compatable with 802.11n.

if they are no deliviering 802.11n what is unique about their offering ?
Mr Finance
Mr Finance,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:36:17 PM
re: Raising a Ruckus With U-verse
Good question, is there proprietary IP in there that delivers better performance when you use their gateway with their access dongles rather than someone elses .11n dongles? Phil, have you tried something similar (or mixed and matched) with standard (cheaper?) commercial .11n gear from e.g. Linksys or Cisco?

And without getting too personal, where do you live? ;-) the described 40-60Mbit feat is not that impressive in a relatively isolated wireless environment. I used to regularly stream high def MPEG2 video on my bog standard .11g gear let alone with .11n that should be at least capable of 100Mbit. However in the last year or two this has become impossible with the level of interference I get from neighbours networks, which is hopefully the real benefit of .11n and/or what Ruckus are trying to add to that (if anything?).
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:35:38 PM
re: Raising a Ruckus With U-verse
I don't live in a crowded area so the only interference I get would be from neighboring WiFi networks -- and they're usually not a problem. I have no idea how this would fare in a place like NYC, but Ruckus says they have a way that intelligently routes their signal around interference, so that might be where their IP comes in.

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Tail-f, Cisco & What the Future Holds

10|9|15   |   8:17   |   (0) comments

Steve Saunders meets with Tail-f's Director of Technology, Carl Moberg, in Stockholm to discuss becoming part of Cisco, ETSI MANO, virtualization and the need to combine science and business in order to create opportunities for service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Broadband Forum Embraces SDN & NFV

10|9|15   |   02:42   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Robin Mersh and Kevin Foster from the Broadband Forum explain how the industry body is adapting to meet the SDN, NFV and cloud needs of the access network sector.
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cisco's Chambers Rules Out Political Bid
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/6/2015
Cord Cutting? 'Fraid so.
Brett Sappington, 10/7/2015
Infinera Fleshes Out Its Metro 100G Story
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/7/2015
Cisco Makes 'Martian' Connection
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/9/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here