Video services

Ruckus Rounds Up Pioneer

LAS VEGAS -- TelecomNEXT -- Wireless video networking specialist Ruckus Wireless Inc. has announced its first U.S. customer -- regional carrier Pioneer Telephone Cooperative Inc. . (See The Ruckus Room and Ruckus Pioneers IPTV in US.)

Pioneer plans to use the Ruckus wireless device in its IPTV deployments to help network video in up to 12,250 customer homes. The carrier has a total of 35,000 customers, 5,000 of which are already using IPTV, and it expects to eventually achieve a 35 percent video penetration rate.

No, it's not a huge deal, but the carrier's move could speak volumes about the need of cutting edge, consumer-friendly technology devices for IPTV deployments.

The Ruckus device, deemed a "smart WiFi platform," takes 802.11g WiFi and adds MIMO antennae technology to deliver quality of service between a wireless transmitter and receiver device, providing a broadband stream of 20 Mbit/s. The product can stream HDTV, as demonstrated here in the booth at TelecomNEXT show.

Pioneer chose the Ruckus device because of the costs associated with installing Ethernet cabling in customer homes to connect multiple TV sets. Pioneer officials say they were spending up to five hours in customer homes running Ethernet cabling to the DSL gateway. It decided that by providing the Ruckus wireless device, it could cut that time to under an hour. (See Ruckus Creates Riot, Ruckus Wireless Opens Up , and Ruckus: Causin' a Commotion?.)

"The reason we looked at this was the challenge of installing category five and we were looking for an alternative," says Scott Ulsaker, video products manager for Pioneer. "This provides obvious convenience to the customer and it cuts our customer install turnaround time from 5 days to 48 hours."

The announcement hits one of the big themes here at TelecomNEXT -- IPTV technology. Booths were filled with flat-screens demonstrating various approaches to IPTV, as the telcos gear up for new service offerings.

"With telco there is a somewhat defensive strategy and they want to retain customers," said Bill DeMuth, CTO of SureWest Communications (Nasdaq: SURW), speaking at the Light Reading Live event, "Next-Gen Broadband Networks," held here at the Four Seasons hotel on Monday. "Access lines are declining. IPTV is a way to increase revenue streams.

Demuth also commented that reducing operating costs, not just generating new services revenue, was an important piece of the puzzle. "It seems logical that we can reduce operating costs with IP technology," he said.

According to DeMuth, another key technology element for IPTV will be a new generation of set-top boxes supporting the MPEG4 video encoding format. "Those boxes are just now hitting the market."

— R. Scott Raynovich, Editor in Chief, Light Reading

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