Sunday, October 8, 2006

Ruckus Gains Traction with Smart Wi-Fi CPE, Secures Funding

Ruckus Wireless, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, unveiled its MediaFlex NG gateway that uses it smart Wi-Fi technology for distributing video inside the home. Ruckus also announced that it has closed a new round of funding, led by Motorola Ventures and T-Online Ventures, and has been selected by the national telecommunications providers in Belgium and the Czech Republic to supply its MediaFlex system as the "cable-less" solution.

The MediaFlex NG router is specifically designed to deliver continuous high-performance, video-grade wireless networking. The system is capable of simultaneously supporting three to four standard definition MPEG-2 video streams or one to two high definition video streams, providing 15-25 Mbps of sustained video throughput to any corner of a 3,000 square foot home.

Significantly, the Ruckus MediaFlex NG enables providers to securely operate and manage multiple wireless virtual networks within the home. Each virtual network can be dedicated to a specific organization, service or traffic type, uniquely managed and secured by the service provider or a designated administrator.

Virtual networks can be prioritized by the provider. IPTV traffic, for instance, can traverse a discrete Wi-Fi network and be given higher priority over another wireless network on the same MediaFlex NG system.

Separate statistics for each virtual network (per SSID) can be collected and discrete security policies applied. On the same device, operators can provide users their own wireless network using a separate, user managed SSID.

Key features of the Ruckus MediaFlex NG include:

  • the ability to support multiple virtual APs

  • a remote wireless service management technology that provides operators access, via SNMP, HTTP, SSL, SSH and Telnet, to the performance and RF information necessary to manage triple play services, as well as the ability to perform inventory audits on wireless devices within a subscriber's home network.

  • increased capacity and predictable performance using standard 802.11 Wi-Fi

  • the ability to automatically adapt to the changing RF characteristics within the home using smart antenna ("BeamFlex") and quality of service ("SmartCast") technologies.

  • the ability to reliably receive Wi-Fi signals down to -100 dBm.

  • and extensive remote management capabilities.

    Ruckus said two major issues have prevented service providers from deploying Wi-Fi as a utility network in consumer homes: 1) unstable performance affecting the quality of delay-sensitive applications such as streaming video and 2) the inability to remotely identify and diagnose Wi-Fi related problems as consumers experience them.

    Ruckus also announced that it will supply its "smart Wi-Fi" technology and systems to Telefonica O2 Czech Republic to support its newly launched IPTV service. Telefonica O2 Czech Republic is initially offering 30 channels of MPEG-4 IPTV packaged within its basic packages O2 TV Entertainment and O2 TV Cinema. Telefonica O2 Czech Republic delivers IPTV over an ADSL2+ infrastructure with plans to begin providing fiber-to-the-home by year's end.

    As for the $16 million in new funding, Motorola Ventures led the third round along with T-Online Venture Fund, Firelake Capital Management and other private investors. The new corporate investors join existing Ruckus Wireless investors which include Sequoia Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures, Investor AB and WK Technology Fund.

    The new financing increases the total investment in Ruckus Wireless to $30 million since its formation in June of 2004.

    Wi-Fi Completes the Triple Play
    date, in-home video distribution -- an essential element for Triple Play
    delivery -- has been largely ignored: Given its widespread popularity and
    use within the home, Wi-Fi would be an obvious solution to this problem.
    Yet conventional consumer Wi-Fi was designed primarily for data
    applications and provides poor transport for multimedia traffic. Here is
    how a new generation of Smart Wi-Fi could solve the problem.

See also