Rural Telcos Raise A 'Ruckus' For IPTV </search/?query=IPTV> Gear

In what observers are calling a stunning win, Wi-Fi startup *Ruckus Wireless* this morning disclosed it has signed contracts with 16 mostly rural U.S. telcos that are going to use its Wi-Fi equipment to distribute their triple-play offerings around home.

Ruckus had previously announced only a handful of wins at U.S. telcos - six in all - and an agreement by a major French retailer to put its hardware on the shelf for French IPTV </search/?query=IPTV> users to buy. The young company, founded in June 2004, needed something like the momentum the 16 wins now gives it to make its technology pitch to the larger Tier One and Tier Two carriers worldwide, including cable and satellite providers.

What Ruckus is selling is an implementation of Wi-Fi that's said to be far more usable for distribution of IPTV and indeed any type of broadband than standard Wi-Fi devices. The company says that it is so reliable it eliminates the need for coax, Cat 5 or any other type of wired distribution system in a house. The technology, which Ruckus calls "smart Wi-Fi," uses a directional antenna array and advanced traffic engineering mechanisms to extend the Wi-Fi range and coverage by dynamically steering packets around interference and automatically prioritizing traffic. The "system," as Ruckus describes it, selects the best path through the air at any given time for a specific type of multimedia content. It directs Wi-Fi signals over that path to a given receiver instead of broadcasting it in all directions. If the chosen path experiences interference, the Ruckus system automatically steers the traffic over another path in real time to maintain between 15 Mb/s and 20 Mb/s of consistent bandwidth to every location in the home with "virtually no interruption in Wi-Fi transmissions," Ruckus says.

Ruckus claims an average user can install its gear for multiple home televisions in less than an hour, with no need for help - thus eliminating the dreaded and expensive "truck roll" that accompanies most new cable-TV and many IPTV installations.

"Until now, Wi-Fi hasn't been up to the task. Consumers want to use Wi-Fi for all their multimedia, if they can get it, and now they can," Ruckus said in a prepared quote that it attributed to Steve Bartlett, general manager of *Daviess-Martin Telephone* in Montgomery, Ind.

The big reason Ruckus can't simply sell off-the-shelf at retailers is that cablecos, satellite companies and even telcos aren't using set-top boxes that are compatible with Wi- Fi. They've got to provide such boxes - and few do. Thus, partnership with the operators is key to Ruckus' long-term success, and nailing down 16 in one pop is its best sales pitch to date.

The new Ruckus customers include: *ETEX Telephone Cooperative* (Texas); *Daviess-Martin Rural Telephone Corporation* (Ind.); *LaValle Telephone* (Wisc.); *Richland Grant Telephone Cooperative* (Ind.); *Canby Telcom* (Ore.); *Hutchinson Telephone Company* (Minn.); *Glandorf Telephone Company* (Ohio); *Green Hills Telephone Company* (Mo.); *Ligonier Telephone Company* (Ind.); *Matanuska Telephone Association* (Alaska); *Union Telephone Company* (Wisc.); *Viola Home Telephone Company* (Ill.); *McDonough Telephone Cooperative* (Ill.); *New Windsor Telephone* (Ill.); *Nex-Tech, Inc*. (Kansas); and *Wabash Mutual Telephone* (Ohio).

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