Ruckus Raised for Triple-Play
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Video54 made its name earlier this year when its BeamFlex technology was licensed by Netgear for use in its RangeMax series of products. Now the company is jettisoning that namewhich it says is not only tied too closely to 54Mbps Wi-Fi, but is also easily confused with the legendary Studio 54 nightclubin favor of the name Ruckus Wireless.
Along with the new name, the company is also introducing new advanced QoS technology to work with BeamFlex, new funding, and a major new customer.
BeamFlex is a multiple-antenna technology, using seven antennas that are capable of creating up to 127 different antenna signal patterns to get around and through obstacles. The company refers to it as a form of MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) technology that can be used with existing 802.11 chipsets. As of this week, the company is also offering SmartCast, a multicast-capable Quality of Service (QoS) optimization that identifies and classifies types of wireless traffic, giving priority to voice and video. CEO Selina Lo calls SmartCast "a superset of 802.11e," the QoS/traffic-management standard expected to be ratified by the IEEE sometime soon.
Ruckus' technologies are geared directly to the home market, specifically to carriers who bring voice and video services into the home. The company's first customer for BeamFlex and SmartCast together will be Hong Kong's PCCW Ltd. Lo says that, starting this month, PCCW will bundle a Ruckus-branded router product (model MF2900) with its broadband service, which includes IP-based television (IPTV). Ruckus will also offer an 802.11g-to-Ethernet multimedia adapter for connecting boxes with Ethernet only. The products will sell in the U.S. for $169 and $129, respectively.
Two more service providers Ruckus can't discuss yet are also on the calendar to announce this year.
Ruckus has received $9 million in capital in its second round of funding, for a total of $14 million since the company was formed in June of 2004.