Last week’s announcement that Ruckus Wireless was unveiling a "new strategy" should have at least a minimal impact on the cable industry. It’s just tough to tell if that impact will be good or bad.
On the plus side, as already reported here, Ruckus made a splash at the CableLabs Winter Conference, winning the label of "Best Product Idea" at the CableLabs at the event’s Innovation Showcase for its IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi demo.
Now Ruckus has formally launched an 802.11n Wi-Fi product and upgraded its existing Wi-Fi devices from conventional, sometimes unreliable 802.11g to newer, richer, more powerful 802.11n. That leads to the other side, from a cable perspective: It’s quite useful to telcos. The product will allow IPTV operators move three high definition television (HDTV) streams wirelessly around a residence.
"We’re calling it hotspot at home, where you’re opening the option for service providers to offer Wi-Fi services both to the home user as well as for people and guests around the home. We’re offering the Wi-Fi network that the home user typically uses for personal functions of Internet access or connectivity between different PCs and augmenting that with other Wi-Fi networks," said Joel Brand, product manager at Ruckus Wireless.
In addition to the multiple streams of IPTV, the 802.11n should help stimulate dual-mode mobile-Wi-Fi phones. Finally, Brand said, the new product would let the operators configure Wi-Fi-enabled home devices over the air. Magic in the air "Cellular carriers would have the capability, but DSL carriers, cable carriers don’t have the ability to reach individual devices in the home. That’s what we provide to them," said Brand. "It goes to any Wi-Fi device that the carrier would like to control."
Of course the main reason for the product to exist will be the one that most impacts cable.
"The multi-streaming of HD is where you really need the 11n, and that’s the reason we’re introducing the 11n product, especially for the IPTV market because that’s where the demand is," he said.
– Jim Barthold