'Smart wi-fi' market booming in Asia Pacific

'Smart wi-fi' market booming in Asia Pacific

It is headquartered in Silicon Valley, but manufactures its smart wi-fi technology systems in Malaysia and currently earns 80 per cent of its revenue from the Asia Pacific.

Ruckus Wireless has developed a system capable of delivering hi-definition television over a wi-fi network and its vision is to "provide smarter wi-fi for Asia and to transform wireless from a technology of convenience into a ubiquitous utility".

Its patented 'smart wi-fi and 'smart wireless' LAN (WLAN) systems have already attracted major clients such as SingTel, with its mio TV (IPTV) service, and the Singapore airport Budget Terminals, with its deployment of public information systems on plasma TVs throughout the terminal building. One of the four-year-old company's first clients was Hong Kong's biggest communications provider PCCW.

It maintains that its systems are ideal for hotels, hospitals, educational institutions and airports, and extend traditional wi-fi coverage by up to four times with consistently reliable wire-like performance, for half the cost and with fewer access points.

A reputation change

Ruckus Wireless vice president, marketing, David Callisch, in Singapore as part of a region-wide company roadshow, said wireless had a bad reputation that his company was determined to change.

"People have a cynical view of traditional wi-fi. Many have had bad experiences trying to use it in hotels or at airports, where they just can't connect, because it's always been a 'best effort' technology conceived as a technology of convenience, rather than a utility service," said Callisch.

"People now want wi-fi to do a lot more than it ever has before, in terms of providing a stable connection just like a wire would because they're now spending good money on sophisticated iPhones, Blackberries and laptops and they want to watch a movie or access a corporate application that requires more than just downloading a Web page.

"It managers don't necessarily understand all the nuances of how these wi-fi signals go through the radio frequency domain and what stops them from reaching the client so we put a lot of effort into solving those problems; not a lot of people have."

Explosive growth

Gartner research shows that enterprise spending on wireless in the Asia Pacific is likely to more than double to US$495 million by 2012 and Callisch said the Asia Pacific growth for Ruckus has been 'explosive'.

"We doubled our revenues in the Asia Pacific last year and sold four times as many products into the region," Callisch said. "We expect to double our revenues again this year into the 'double-digit millions'.

"The stakes are high for providing the last 100-metre connectivity over wireless and, given the option of wires or no wires, end-users will choose wi-fi 'every day and twice on Sundays' if it's reliable, which it hasn't been up to this point. We're trying to change that.

"We've managed to conquer the big problem of how do you stream real-time digital TV signal over standard wi-fi and now we are able to stream, reliably, a crystal-clear hi-definition video signal to a television, over standard wi-fi which, until now, has never been possible."

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