Ruckus Wireless has continued its Australian expansion signing distributor Avnet a month after it opened its office in Sydney and a day after signing Telstra to sell its MediaFlex Wi-Fi extender for the telco's T-Box video-on-demand device.
The US maker of wireless 802.11n solutions for enterprise and carriers will use its Australian agreement with Avnet to push into growing vertical markets such as healthcare, warehouse and hospitality.
Ruckus Australia and New Zealand sales manager Carl Jefferys said the company that sold its products to 300 telcos around the world was eyeing the rollout of next-generation broadband in Australia.
"We call it community Wi-Fi," Jefferys said referring to its product that offloaded wireless data to a local Wi-Fi network when the 3G network was swamped.
"We have some significant projects underway at the moment in Asia with a network in India that has 30,000 access points for deployment of public internet access and we're certainly looking at similar projects in Australia in the near future."
He said that although Wi-Fi was slower than fibre, for the "last couple hundred meters [it] is also significantly more inexpensive per subscriber to implement and can provide speeds that will definitely support the sorts of applications that people will want" such as video.
Ruckus, which counted Aruba and Cisco as competitors, had made inroads into its key education market, signing a school in Melbourne recently.
Jefferys said as part of the deal with Avnet, the distributor will roll out Ruckus' "Wise Guys" certification: "We're looking at training large numbers of Wise Guys in Australia over coming months".
The Avnet deal was the result of a dovetailing of the two companies' ambitions.
"We had some lofty targets that we're trying to achieve and Avnet are a large global distributor with robust systems and very good track record. They also did not have a Wi-Fi product in their portfolio of note so it was a good match for Avnet."
Avnet general manager Gavin Lawless said the distributor would educate its partner community on the benefits of high-speed wireless networks through customer contact, workshops, seminars and "below-the-line activities".
"Avnet's focus is to educate and enable more business partners on [wireless network] solution opportunities," Lawless said. "By partnering with Ruckus, Avnet is able to connect channel partners to more customers and opportunities within developing markets.
"Avnet's dedicated channel network, aggressive distribution strategy and proven supply chain management expertise will enable us to take a major share in the dedicated wireless Wi-Fi solutions market."
Rave reviews for Telstra T-Box Wi-Fi extender
Telstra provided Netgear's Ethernet-over-power line adaptors and Ruckus' $229 MediaFlex Wi-Fi extender to subscribers whose internet gateways were too far from the their T-Box media centres to be cabled easily. The 802.11n, five gigahertz system was geared to distance transmission of internet protocol video, Ruckus said. Telstra said it chose Ruckus for its ease of use, handling of streaming video and ability to overcome interference.
The sale was handled by Ruckus in the US after the telco had spent a year evaluating the product. SingTel, Telenor, O2 and AT&T were among 300 telcos who have deployed more than a million of the units.
Ruckus' BeamFlex technology that directed wireless signals to their destination devices received high marks from CRN's US test labs.
"The result is a more precise signal less prone to interference and better able to deliver higher bandwidth capacities," CRN reviewer Edward Moltzen wrote.
"It helps to make a noticeable difference in the quality of the signal. The overall solution, then, provides higher management capability, easier installation and better quality than we'd expect to see in a small or mid-size enterprise solution."
Ruckus had 242 percent compound annual growth in the Asia-Pacific since 2006 and 30-fold growth in units sold, the company said.