Arris to pay $800m to buy Ruckus from Broadcom/Brocade

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As widely anticipated, cable supplier Arris is to acquire Ruckus Wireless when the carrier WiFi firm’s current owner, Brocade, is taken over by Broadcom later this year. Brocade/Broadcom will not quite get the $1bn which was predicted at the start of the year by Reuters sources, but it will get $800m for Ruckus, along with the Brocade ICX business, which makes data center, campus and carrier Ethernet switches. This is a drop from the $1.2bn which the company paid for Ruckus last April, when it was trying to expand its wireless and service provider activities by acquiring a leading public WiFi equipment vendor.

Only a few months later, Broadcom said it was buying Brocade, primarily for its Fibre Channel storage network business, and that it would offload some other units including Ruckus. Now, Ruckus and ICX will become a business unit within Arris, led by current Ruckus COO Dan Rabinovitsj.

As well as carrier and enterprise WiFi, Ruckus had started moving into cellular technologies, particularly for private networks, with an indoor LTE system called OpenG. Among other bands, this can run in the US 3.5 GHz CBRS shared spectrum. Given that cablecos are interested in using shared bands to support their own subnets of cellular small cells – to  support residential or business customers while minimizing their reliance on MVNO deals with mobile operators – this could be a very strategic product for Arris.

For Arris, being able to incorporate a capable WiFi service into its CPE and set-top devices would appeal to the cable companies and telcos looking to leverage their broadband lines to add quad play offerings to their line-up. The broadband line can provide backhaul for a distributed WiFi network that would form part of a mobile offering, which would give customers access to WiFi hotspots wherever there was a TV or broadband customer, and wider access to national cellular networks via an MVNO agreement. Read More

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Caroline has been analyzing and reporting in the hi-tech industries since 1986 and has a huge wealth of experience of technology trends and how they impact on business models. She started her career as a journalist, specializing in enterprise and carrier networks and in silicon technologies. She spent much of her journalistic career at VNU Business Publishing, then Europe’s largest producer of technology publications and information services . She was publishing director for the launch of VNU’s pan-European online content services, and then European editorial director. She then made the move from publishing into technology market analysis and consulting, and in 2002 co-founded Rethink Technology Research with Peter White. Rethink specializes in trends and business models for wireless, converged and quad play operators round the world and the technologies that support them. Caroline’s role is to head up the wireless side of the business, leading the creation of research, newsletters and consulting services focused on mobile platforms and operator models. In this role, she has become a highly recognized authority on 4G systems such as LTE and WiMAX, and a prolific speaker at industry events. Consulting and research clients come from major mobile operators, the wireless supply chain and financial institutions.

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