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Ruckus Installs 802.11n Video On Demand

Ruckus Wireless is installing its ZoneFlex dual-band 802.11n system to deliver simultaneous distribution of IP-based high-definition video on demand in a Philadelphia hotel.

Announced Monday, the application at the Palomar Hotel utilizes the wireless networking firm's capability to mitigate interference and convert multicast IP traffic to unicast, thereby overcoming crucial hurdles that have plagued existing Wi-Fi technology.

"We constantly focus and steer Wi-Fi transmissions over the best signal path for every given end device," said David Callisch, the firm's VP of marketing, in an e-mail. "This is crucial because Wi-Fi was never developed to support delay and latency-sensitive applications. If we start to see interference, dropped packets, signal-to-noise ratio problems, etc., we very quickly steer any given packet over a better performing signal path because our smart antenna has literally thousands of available antenna combinations."

Also on Monday, Ruckus announced that it has received patent approval for its multicast to unicast technology from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office.

Donald OGrady, Kimpton Hotels director of property technology, noted that the Ruckus equipment can be used for Internet access in addition to VOD use. He also envisions the wireless 802.11n network being used for IP phone service and back office operations. "In the future," OGrady said in a statement, "because we are moving to an all IP-based infrastructure, we could conceivably begin monitoring and managing a host of devices such as the lighting and drapes, motion and heat sensors, door locks, thermostats, and even mini-bars."

Callisch noted that multicast transmissions are often unusable for mission critical applications over traditional Wi-Fi networks. To solve this problem, Ruckus converts multicast traffic to unicast and forwards it only to the requesting device. "By doing this," he added, "we receive acknowledgments from the client that tell us if there are any performance problems or dropped packets."

The Kimpton application utilizes 91 Ruckus ZoneFlex 7962 access points capable of transmitting HD IP-based VOD streams at 20 Mbps to many of the hotel's 242 TVs located throughout its 25 floors and 230 guest rooms.

Callisch said that education and medical markets are likely to join the hospitality industry in adopting 802.11n networks in the near future.