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ARRIS-Ruckus to 'double down' on service provider market

Ruckus Wireless expects to become a part of ARRIS in the first week of August. The new ARRIS-Ruckus will remain autonomous and target new markets.

Ruckus Wireless Inc. plans to operate as a separate unit after it becomes a part of service provider supplier ARRIS International. Also, Ruckus expects ARRIS to provide more sales opportunities with service providers and the hospitality market, where the wireless vendor is already strong.

In February, ARRIS announced the $800 million acquisition of Ruckus, which was part of the networking portfolio Broadcom obtained the year before when it bought Brocade Communications Systems. The ARRIS-Ruckus deal is expected to close in the first week of August.

"We're all anxious just to get across the finish line and put that [the acquisition] behind us," said Ruckus CTO Steve Martin.

Once the deal is completed, Ruckus will operate as a separate business unit, with sales, support and product development departments. "We'll continue to have a lot of autonomy," Martin said.

ARRIS-Ruckus market opportunities

As a part of ARRIS, Ruckus plans to "double down" on the service provider market. ARRIS is particularly strong in the United States, where its customers include AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Charter Communications, Martin said.

"Being part of ARRIS, we are going instantly from being a tier-two or tier-three or whatever supplier to tier one," he said.

The two companies are discussing how ARRIS' Wi-Fi products for the home can benefit from Ruckus' wireless technology. "Ruckus does nothing in that regard," Martin said of residential Wi-Fi.

Another area ARRIS opens up is in the hospitality industry. ARRIS sells modems and other gear that cable providers use in hotels wired with coaxial cable, Martin said. Ruckus' wireless equipment, which is primarily used with CAT5e and CAT6 Ethernet cable, could be adapted to run off a cable modem.

The potential synergies between the companies could help Ruckus reverse a recent drop in sales in the wireless LAN market. In the first quarter, Ruckus' enterprise WLAN revenue fell 22% year over year, and its share of the overall market decreased from almost 8% to about 6%, according to IDC.

Ruckus is banking on ARRIS' size to help it sell more of its ICX access switches -- technology the larger company doesn't have.

"At the end of the day, the primary vision is ARRIS does not have a strong wireless portfolio today on the access side," Martin said. "They do on the client or CPE [customer premises equipment] side, but not on the access side. And they don't have enterprise channels, and that's what Ruckus brings."

Latest Ruckus switches

As the ARRIS-Ruckus deal nears completion, Ruckus introduced this week a multi-Gigabit Ethernet access switch, called the ICX 7150 Z-Series. The 48-port hardware includes 16 2.5 GbE ports and 32 10/100/1,000 Mbps ports.

Companies can stack the switch on top of other products in the ICX 7150 family. It has eight 10 GbE uplink stacking ports, which doubles stacking and the uplink bandwidth over the previous model.

To complement the more robust switches, Ruckus introduced the R720 access point. The 802.11ac AP has one 10/100/1,000 Mbps port and one 2.5 GbE port. The devices are designed for high-density indoor Wi-Fi connectivity.

The R720 costs $1,295, and the ICX 7150 Z-Series, which Ruckus plans to ship next month, will sell for $6,150.

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