Ruckus Wireless‘ whole-home multimedia distribution using 802.11n technology has been recognized as the "Best Product Idea" by participants of the 2008 CableLabs Winter Conference. The Sunnyvale, CA, WiFi company, led by President & CEO Selina Lo, was among nine companies participating in the CableLabs Innovation Showcase on Monday.

CableLabs Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer David Reed described the Innovation Showcase as "an opportunity in a lightning round format for either new companies or existing companies to present innovative new ideas that they have in terms of cable products or services to the cable industry."

"We get many more proposals than can actually participate, unfortunately," Reed said. This year’s lineup Among those Innovation Showcase presenters were Cinea (real time water markings), Cisco Systems (cross-platform media over their content delivery system), BigBand Networks (variable bit rate switched digital solution), DiTech Networks (voice quality improvement in IP networks), Grid Networks (peer-to-peer and content distribution network solution) Move Networks (scalable streaming player or video delivery system), Broadcast Wireless (carrier class 802.11n technology for cable companies) and thePlatform (broadband video channels for portals).

Reed explained that, as part of the Innovation Showcase, CableLabs takes an informal poll among audience members.

"We ask them the question: Which company at Innovation Showcase has the best new idea that is most likely to succeed?" Reed said. "And this year the winner of that informal poll was Ruckus Wireless."

What put Ruckus Wireless over the top?

"We did something that’s pretty daring," Lo said. "We decided to do a live demonstration of a product that is currently in Beta testing, our 802.11n multimedia access point adapter." Demo and trials Inside a conference room at the event, Ruckus Wireless ran three high definition MPEG-2 video streams, each running at 20 Mbps. On top of the three video streams they demonstrated Internet access by pulling the video stream from a Comcast set-top box and pulled that up onto the screen. They topped it off by running a voice call with the T-Mobile UMA service.

"Everything went without a hitch," Lo said. "And then I pointed out to the audience that … about half of them were also simultaneously logged onto the CableLabs hotspot service for the conference. So in the room, other than our own 11n access point and adapters, there were probably five or six other access points serving the audience."

Lo said that being in that kind of environment, being able to pull off what Ruckus did spoke for itself.

"I didn’t have to do much," Lo said.

As for availability, Lo said Ruckus is currently Beta testing its 11n product line and that the company plans to release its first 11n product by the end of this quarter, closer to the end of March. Lo said Ruckus already has "MSO contacts who have come and said they are interested in putting this product in trials," but she was not specific as to who has inquired.

Mark Coblitz, Comcast’s senior vice president of strategic planning, added that members of CableLabs attended the conference "looking at what it actually takes to deliver a quality service, and I think what they’re seeing in Ruckus is the possibility that this might actually work."

– Jennifer Rinaldi

The Daily

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