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Carrier WiFi

Source: Telus Invests in Ruckus

Canadian operator Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) has made a "multimillion-dollar" investment in Ruckus Wireless Inc. and is planning similar integration of the work that the WiFi video startup is already undertaking with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), a source tells Unstrung. (See Ruckus, Moto Integrate.)

Telus is expected to test Ruckus's BleamFlex "smart antenna" equipment, which increases the capacity of standard 802.11g radios enabling them to stream several HDTV signals at once. Some Carriers are interested in this technology being integrated into set top boxes and gateways but are most are waiting for 802.11n to be ratified in the summer of this year. Motorola has already done something similar with the Ruckus MediaFlex Dongle -- a USB device intended to integrate with set-top boxes and other devices, which Ruckus showed off at CES recently.

Ruckus refused to comment on any potential Telus deal when reached on Friday afternoon.

The Telus investment rumor comes as the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company says that it has now shipped over one million Beam-Flex-enabled access points to its carrier partners since it launched the technology in 2005. Long-time Ruckus partner Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) was responsible for the bulk of these through its licensing agreement with Ruckus where BeamFlex has been incorporated into its RangeMax router. Ruckus, however, has also launched its own-brand multimedia router and is said to have shipped around 100,000 in its first year of shipping. (See Ruckus: Causin' a Commotion?.)

"We've added 125 carriers this year and tripled the employee base," says Ruckus director of marketing, David Callisch. These new customers include broadband operators in Belgium, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Ireland, Finland, Slovenia and a number of rural providers in the U.S.

The company is claiming that in its fiscal year ending December 31, 2006, revenue increased more than five-fold from its previous year through a combination of licensing and its own branded MediaFlex Triple Play systems and MetroFlex Metro WiFi access gateways. Sources say that means the company did "somewhere north of $7 million" for the year. The company once again refused to comment since it is privately held.

The company has raised around $32 million in funding since its formation, as Video54, in June 2004. Investors include Motorola Ventures , Sequoia Capital , and the T-Online Venture Fund. (See 2006: Top Ten Startups.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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