Ruckus gets Time Warner nod, as Nokia Siemens and IPO rumors fly

Ruckus Wireless is drawing attention at the CTIA Wireless 2012 event, thanks to a new contract it is announcing today with Time Warner Cable, a rumored partnership with Nokia Siemens Networks and other rumors regarding preparations for an initial public offering.

Ruckus announced that Time Warner will use Ruckus' 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi equipment to extend wireless services to customers via its existing infrastructure. Ruckus is supplying dual-band, outdoor, strand-mounted Wi-Fi access points that integrate a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem for backhauling Wi-Fi traffic over Time Warner's existing cable plant. 

Time Warner, which has more than 15 million customers, is deploying Ruckus' equipment within high-capacity indoor public venues, such a stadiums, as well as in select outdoor venues, where Time Warner wants to make its branded services available.

"Time Warner Cable clearly understands the strategic importance of Wi-Fi for carriers and is one of the more aggressive players in the wireless land grab currently underway," said Selina Lo, Ruckus' president and CEO.

The Time Warner win is significant for Ruckus, as the cable operator has previously worked with BelAir Networks, recently acquired by Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC). BelAir supplied gear for Time Warner's Wi-Fi hotspots in the Northeast and is also supplying technology for wireless access points the MSO is deploying in Southern California, where last September it announced that it would spend $15 million to build a Wi-Fi in Los Angeles and Orange County.

Ruckus is also rumored to have a global reseller agreement in the works with Nokia Siemens Networks, which would give Ruckus more breadth and depth for working with mobile operators. An article in Bloomberg last week said the deal could be announced this week at CTIA. A source told FierceBroadbandWireless that the expected partnership will be non-exclusive, allowing Ruckus to continue working with NSN rivals, Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson.

In addition, rumors are circulating that Ruckus is working with investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group regarding a possible initial public offering. The same Bloomberg article last week said Lo confirmed the company is in talks with bankers about a possible IPO but also said the company is exploring all options. Lo told Bloomberg the company would like to go public this year.

A source confirmed to FierceBroadbandWireless that the Sunnyvale, Calif., company could announce its IPO plans in the next couple of months with an eye toward going public by year's end if market conditions are satisfactory.  

Meanwhile, Ruckus is also demonstrating this week at CTIA the benefits of the Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint program that the Wi-Fi Alliance is expected to launch in June. Based on the IEEE 802.11u protocol, Passpoint automates the Wi-Fi login process for mobile devices. The alliance's Hotspot 2.0 specification underlies the first phase of the Passpoint program and automates discovery and selection of a Wi-Fi network; authentication of the user and device using the internal SIM or other methods; and securing the connection of each device using WPA-2 Enterprise encryption and authentication.

Ruckus says it is one of the first companies to integrate the 802.11u standard within its Smart Wi-Fi access points, which it has been testing with operators and handset manufacturers. Support for 802.11u and the technology tested by the Wi-Fi Alliance's Passpoint certification program will be available as a no-cost software upgrade on Ruckus ZoneFlex access points by year's end.

Ruckus has also participated in trials under the Wireless Broadband Alliance's Next Generation Hotpots initiative.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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