Carrier WiFi

Ruckus Seeks Cable Love

Looking to shake things up a bit in the booming cable Wi-Fi market, Ruckus Wireless is touting an advanced outdoor access point for MSO Wi-Fi deployments. Ruckus, which competes against such big players as Cisco Systems and Ericsson in the wireless space, unveiled its new product at the Cable Show in Washington, D.C. last week. The company claims its new product, known as the ZoneFlex 7781CM Access Point (just trips off the tongue, doesn't it?), is the cable industry's first 3x3:3 (multiple antennas), DOCSIS-compatible, 802.11n smart Wi-Fi access point with BeamFlex adaptive antenna technology. That's quite the shopping list… Ruckus said the integrated DOCSIS modem in the ZoneFlex 7781CM enables cable operators to backhaul Wi-Fi traffic over their hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) plant and remotely power the access point, which can either be strand-mounted on an MSO's aerial plant or mounted on a wall, pedestal or pole. In addition, the company contends that its new access point "offers a greatly improved user experience" in a wide variety of outdoor settings. Specifically, Ruckus said the product can boost subscriber gain by as much as 6dB while reducing noise interference by as much as 15dB, which are particularly key metrics in high-density areas. With this addition to its SmartCell Architecture portfolio, Ruckus is seeking to play a bigger role in the cable Wi-Fi market, which has been growing by leaps and bounds during the past couple of years. At the Cable Show, the five big MSO members of the CableWiFi roaming alliance -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks -- reported they have now deployed more than 150,000 hotspots collectively across the U.S. And that number continued to grow last week as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox all announced new regional deployments. In a new Cable Industry Insider report, Heavy Reading predicts that such hotspot growth will continue apace during the next year. The report "From Wired to Wireless: Cable Uses Wi-Fi to Extend Its Reach", projects that the industry will have more than 250,000 cable Wi-Fi hotspots in place by mid-2014, a year-on-year increase of about 67 percent. The report also estimates the cable industry has now spent more than $175 million in capital expenditures on Wi-Fi hotspots. Heavy Reading expects that amount to double to more than $350 million by 2014. — Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading
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