New Ruckus Chief Won't Risk a Rumpus

Alan Breznick
6/21/2018

Look for Ruckus Networks to focus even more intently on the emerging markets of edge computing IoT and next-gen mobile services when Ian Whiting takes over as president on July 1.

Whiting, now chief commercial officer of the new Ruckus enterprise networks unit at Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), will be taking the place of current Ruckus President Dan Rabinovitsj, who is leaving the company for a new job elsewhere. But that doesn't mean Ruckus will be changing its strategy at all since Whiting, along with Rabinovitsj, has been a chief architect of that strategy.

Rather, Whiting aims to double-down on executing the strategy that he and Rabinovitsj carefully crafted over the past year. That means pouring even more resources into IoT, edge computing, next-gen WiFi and Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) services and products as those markets emerge and begin to take off.

"Dan and I are very like-minded, so I wouldn't anticipate any major course correction or changes in strategy," Whiting said in an interview with Light Reading this week. "We feel very good about the direction in which we're heading."

For one thing, Whiting said Ruckus, now that it's been integrated into the Arris corporate structure, will focus even more on the growing IoT space. He said Ruckus -- which has already begun to ship IoT gateways to commercial customers in such key vertical markets as hospitality, retail and warehousing -- sees huge potential for connecting and managing IoT devices. "There's a massive system of IoT devices out there," he noted. (See Ruckus Revels in IoT & CBRS at MWC.)

In conjunction with this promising IoT opportunity, Ruckus aims to place more emphasis on supporting managed services at the network edge. As part of its drive to offer "edge-computing-as-a-service," the Arris division introduced the latest version of its SmartZone WLAN controllers this week to control and manage both Ruckus access points (APs) and switches. "Most organizations have lean or no IT resources," Whiting said, so they have great need for "networking-as-a-service."


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Ruckus also plans to push hard on the wireless front, starting with next-gen WiFi products. Whiting said the unit will plunge into the market for 802.11ax WiFi, rolling out new access points and switching gear to support the latest WiFi standard by September. "We expect to be first to market," he said. "We will provide support for an unprecedented number of devices."

Further, like his predecessor, Whiting sees much promise for CBRS, an emerging swath of shared spectrum that could be used to deliver localized 4G LTE connections through small cells. With their first commercial products out later this year, Ruckus officials think that CBRS could blossom into a $1 billion market over the next four to five years and factor heavily into cable's mobile and wireless plans. (See Arris Hangs Hat on CBRS and Ruckus Reveals CBRS Home Gateway.)

"We see it [CBRS] as a great way to broaden our market reach," Whiting said, noting that Ruckus now has more than 20 operational and technical trials underway using the CBRS 3.5GHz band. "This technology is really starting to catch fire."

The change in command at Ruckus comes as the enterprise networking unit is getting off to a good start in the Arris fold. Producing better than expected results in the first quarter, Ruckus generated nearly $170 million in sales, up from about $46 million in the previous quarter. Whiting said the second-quarter totals are also looking good so far. (See Arris Reports Ruckus-Raising Results.)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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