Carrier WiFi

Ruckus Sticks One on Cisco

11:05 AM -- Talk about taking the fight outside. When Telefónica UK Ltd. 's mobile operator O2 got its hands on some lampposts in London and wanted to roll out an outdoor public access Wi-Fi network, it didn't go with its existing Wi-Fi supplier Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), instead opting for Ruckus Wireless Inc. (See Telefónica Goes Wi-Fi for Small Cells.)

O2 has been deploying Cisco access points inside popular venues and coffee shops for its own Wi-Fi service after it ended a partnership with Wi-Fi service provider The Cloud . And now, the operator has put Ruckus access points on lampposts in the U.K. capital city for a metro small-cell network.

"When we first went to market with Wi-Fi, we went through a process. ... At that time, we picked Cisco," says Gavin Franks, managing director at O2 Wi-Fi, a business unit within Telefonica UK. "When we came to do metro, we did a formal RFP process and for various reasons, Ruckus came out on top."

Franks notes that now O2 can support Ruckus as well as Cisco for its free Wi-Fi services.

The face-off between the two vendors comes at an exciting time for the small-cell infrastructure market, as mobile operators deepen their embrace of Wi-Fi and make it a critical part of their mobile broadband networks. So there's bound to be more vendor ruckuses in the near future (come on, come on...).

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— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:25:37 PM
re: Ruckus Sticks One on Cisco

I think operator Wi-Fi deployments will all be made up of multiple access vendors, which is good news for smaller players. There should be room for most of them.

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:25:36 PM
re: Ruckus Sticks One on Cisco

And that will likely throw up a big interoperability/roaming issue with Wi-Fi too. In O2's case, a user can't keep a Wi-Fi connection going if he/she moves from an outdoor Ruckus access point and onto an indoor Cisco AP. There's no handover between the two.

O2's Gavin Franks said that from a user's point of view the experience is still "seamless," but I'm not exactly clear on how that can be -- unless, the point is that Wi-Fi usage is not typically mobile.

Franks also said that the Ruckus and Cisco access points aren't interchangable. As in, a Ruckus base station couldn't be replaced with one from Cisco in the network O2 has set up.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:25:36 PM
re: Ruckus Sticks One on Cisco

Ah, of course not. That's frustrating since the handoff from 3G to Wi-Fi isn't really seamless either.

AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:25:22 PM
re: Ruckus Sticks One on Cisco

Ericsson/Belair was market leader in 2011, so there's still competition out there. And development, which as often happens, is on the silicon level.  

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:25:18 PM
re: Ruckus Sticks One on Cisco

I certainly would like to see what Ericsson has done with Belair since the acquisition.

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