Ruckus Wireless(TM) today announced Consolidated Communications, a U.S. incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), has selected and is actively deploying the Ruckus "Smart Wi-Fi" multimedia system as its in-home connectivity standard, enabling wireless IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) for its subscribers. Consolidated Communications includes the Ruckus MediaFlex(TM) gear at no additional charge as part of its popular Digital Video Service.
Consolidated Communications, is one of the first broadband providers to offer the in-home wireless IPTV option on a large, multi-state scale. Enabled by recent Wi-Fi technology breakthroughs, consumers throughout Illinois, Texas and Pennsylvania are now able to apply the freedom of wireless connectivity – as they have with their Wi-Fi enabled laptops and handheld devices – to their television viewing.
"Smarter Wi-Fi solutions deliver three important benefits: it accelerates new service and revenue opportunities, cuts in half the time and cost associated with traditional cabling required to enable television services and gives our customers the freedom, flexibility and control they’ve always wanted," said J.J. Hollie, product manager for Digital Video Services at Consolidated Communications. "Historically, because of range and reliability issues, using Wi-Fi wasn’t even really considered a valid alternative. But that’s all changed."
Over the last three years, carriers around the world have embraced smarter Wi-Fi technology for use with their standard and high definition IPTV services. Since commercializing its smart Wi-Fi technology in March of 2005, Ruckus Wireless has shipped over 1.5 million Wi-Fi units to hundreds of carriers including Belgacom, Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom, SingTel, Telecom Austria, Telenor, Telefonica Del Sur (Chile), Pioneer Telephone, and many others. To date, the Ruckus MediaFlex Smart Wi-Fi products remain the only Wi-Fi system supporting commercial IPTV services for hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
Why isn’t Wi-Fi More Popular in the U.S.?
Wildly popular outside the United States, IPTV does not require a cable or satellite feed to deliver digital television channels. Instead, service providers encapsulate content using the Internet Protocol and stream it over DSL lines into the home. Often confused with television content viewable over the Internet, IPTV is a paid digital television service often bundled with Internet access and voice over IP, typically referred to as the "triple play."
According to iSuppli, a market research firm, IPTV is on track to grow 56 percent in 2009 to reach 33.3 million subscribers worldwide. This is up from 21.3 million in 2008. By 2010, iSuppli estimates that IPTV will register 52 million subscribers growing to more than 115 million by 2013. The vast majority of IPTV subscribers remain outside the U.S., over half of which are in Europe.
In the U.S., IPTV has languished due to relatively weak broadband penetration, a legacy cable infrastructure largely used for the distribution of television and slower broadband speeds into the home unable to support the bandwidth requirements of IPTV. In addition, potential users are dispersed over millions of square miles.
"When it comes to IPTV, there’s no question that the U.S. has lagged. It is getting here, bit by bit, but in order for it to really take off not only does it have to be innovative, it must come with a lower opex for carriers and service providers to deliver and install it," said Jeff Heynen, senior research analyst at Infonetics. "The MediaFlex products provide both. IPTV subscribers have the flexibility to view HD video anywhere throughout their homes while suppliers benefit from shorter installation times and fewer truck rolls."
"Until now, to install IPTV, we’ve had to wire or rewire customer homes with Ethernet cabling which can take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours," said Hollie. "Customers don’t like the disruption and prefer a more elegant wireless solution, but only if it is as reliable as a wire. The Ruckus MediaFlex system delivers wire-like stability and, as a result, we have eliminated the need for in-home wiring, cutting installation times in half. Unlike any other wireless system we’ve seen, Ruckus Wireless designed the MediaFlex system for this exact application."
Consolidated Communications delivers its Basic, Select and Expanded IPTV services over its ADSL 2+ network using MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 compression. It offers Broadband speeds up to 35 Mbps to support standard definition streams, delivered at data rates of 3 Mbps and high definition streams, delivered at 7 Mbps.
How Does Smart Wi-Fi Work?
Advanced beamforming technology patented by Ruckus Wireless and dubbed "smart Wi-Fi," quadruples the range of Wi-Fi signals by focusing them only where they are needed. In addition, Smart Wi-Fi technology automatically steers signals around obstacles and interference such as microwave ovens, cordless phones and Bluetooth headsets, to ensure flicker-free TV.
As it experiences any type of hindrance, Smart Wi-Fi continuously routes and re-routes Wi-Fi signals over the best and highest performing paths, effectively "steering" the signals around the interference. This enables Smart Wi-Fi systems to adapt to the changing Wi-Fi environment and support real-time, delay-sensitive applications such as streaming digital video. With Smart Wi-Fi, Consolidated Communication’s customers now have the power and freedom to place or move their televisions anywhere in the home without cumbersome or costly cabling.
About Ruckus Wireless, Inc.
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Ruckus Wireless is a manufacturer of advanced "Smart Wi-Fi" technology and wireless LAN (WLAN) systems used by enterprises and carriers around the world. Ranked as the top telecom company in the 2009 Inc. 500 list and named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, Ruckus has developed patented technology that uniquely extends signal range and allows for consistently reliable distribution of delay-sensitive multimedia content and services over standard 802.11 Wi-Fi. Its flagship product line, ZoneFlex, is the first centralized wireless LAN system to combine state-of-the-art Wi-Fi smart antenna arrays and wireless meshing to deliver maximum range and reliable performance at the lowest cost. Leading broadband operators use its MediaFlex multimedia routers to extend wireless digital services such as IPTV throughout subscribers’ homes worldwide. Ruckus has raised approximately $39 million from premier investors such as Motorola, T-Ventures, Telus, Sutter Hill Ventures, Mitsui, Sequoia Capital and others. Ruckus Wireless is led by Ms Selina Lo, president and chief executive officer. For more information, visit Ruckus Wireless at http://www.ruckuswireless.com/.
About Consolidated Communications
Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. is an established rural local exchange company providing voice, data and video services to residential and business customers in Illinois, Texas and Pennsylvania. Each of the operating companies has been operating in its local market for over 100 years. With approximately 254,593 ILEC access lines, 72,062 Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) access line equivalents, 95,656 DSL subscribers, and 19,731 IPTV subscribers, Consolidated Communications offers a wide range of telecommunications services, including local and long distance service, custom calling features, private line services, high-speed Internet access, digital TV, carrier access services, and directory publishing.
Web Site: http://www.ruckuswireless.com/