Ruckus jumps into cable WiFi business

Ruckus Wireless has made a foray into the cable WiFi market, offering a strand-mounted 802.11n access point created for hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks. The move pits the vendor squarely against BelAir Networks and Cisco.

Ruckus has introduced the ZoneFlex 7761-CM, a plant-powered, dual-radio WiFi access point that incorporates DOCIS 3.0-based cable backhaul capabilities. Ruckus is touting its smart antenna and dynamic beamforming technology as an advantage over BelAir and Cisco since the technology delivers a concentrated signal that improves range and throughput over omni-directional antennas. This capability, said Ruckus, has a direct impact on capital and operational costs since operators won't have to deploy as many access points in a particular coverage area.

Cable providers such as Cablevision are deploying their own WiFi hotspots and see WiFi as a competitive advantage over offerings such as Verizon's FiOS service. Ruckus said it developed the offering after cable industry players sought out the company and inquired about its ability to develop a stand-mounted implementation that uses Ruckus' smart antenna technology.

Meanwhile, BelAir is looking to entrench itself even further in the cable market, offering a picocell that includes DOCIS 3.0, WiFi and 3G. The picocell has a dual purpose: to enable cable providers to offer WiFi services and provide a 3G data traffic offload option.

Dave Park, BelAir's vice president of product marketing, told Light Reading Cable that cable providers could use the picocell to offload an operator's 3G service traffic or create a business whereby cable operators woo 3G service providers to help them backhaul 3G network traffic.

It is now widely accepted that smaller cell network architecture will be required down the line--even in the 4G world--to address mobile broadband data traffic that shows no sign of abating.

For more:
- see this Light Reading Cable article
- see this release

Related articles:
Ruckus Wireless introduces 802.11n access point for outdoor market
Cable guys give thumbs up to BelAir's strand-mounted wireless picocell
Cable WiFi drawing vendors' outdoor product offerings