Cincinnati Bell employs Ruckus for its managed WiFi service

Cincinnati Bell (NYSE: CBB) on Tuesday named Ruckus Wireless as its WiFi vendor of choice, and will use its products to support three of its managed WiFi offerings: enterprise managed services, Wi-Fi hotspot and emerging metro public access.

Already offering WiFi services for over eight years, the telco is deploying Ruckus ZoneFlex Smart WiFi to better serve business customers that need a managed, campus-wide Wi-Fi solution such as local stadiums, college campuses and hotels. The need for greater WiFi coverage is being driven by the greater use of smartphones and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon, where business employees are using their own devices to access corporate applications including e-mail and VPN services.

Two of the advantages the Ruckus gear brings to Cincinnati Bell are greater capacity and expanded signal coverage. In addition, the product enables the telco to cut overall deployment costs because an adaptive antenna array integrated into the WiFi Access Point (AP) allows it to deploy less hardware yet support more users at greater distances.  

"With our legacy Wi-Fi system we were seeing performance degrade dramatically as more and more users were trying to connect to the same AP," said John Miller, integrated planner, Data and Transport Networking for Cincinnati Bell, in a release announcing the deployment. "This is a real problem that conventional Wi-Fi was never really designed to address."  

Cincinnati Bell's Wi-Fi services are managed through Ruckus ZoneDirector Smart WLAN controllers, located at the service provider's CO.

The telco's move with Ruckus should not be all that much of a surprise. A report in FierceBroadbandWireless, citing an unnamed industry source earlier this month, revealed that the telco had already standardized on the vendor's products for both its managed enterprise services and expanding public WiFi hotspot presence.  

Offering managed WiFi services, especially to larger business customers on either a standalone basis or as part of a broader service offering that includes wireline-based services like Ethernet and optical services, is of key importance to telcos like Cincinnati Bell, especially as they try to offset ongoing landline voice losses.

During the third quarter, Cincinnati Bell reported that enterprise fiber-based and VoIP product revenue increased $5 million year-over-year. Likewise, managed and professional services revenue grew by $4 million, or 17 percent, from 2011.

For more:
- see the release

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