The Future Of Wireless, From Ruckus' Top Dog

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Selina Lo is the feisty, passionate, M&M-chomping president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless and, thanks to the growth Ruckus has posted since its 2004 founding -- Gartner and IDC both ranked it the fastest-growing wireless LAN vendor by revenue in 2009 -- she's a force to be reckoned with. The crowded wireless LAN space doesn't scare her, and neither do its incumbent players. Lo sees Ruckus as a channel powerhouse, and in the past year especially, even the most jaded cynics among wireless and networking solution providers have started to take Ruckus seriously.

Lo was born in Hong Kong and earlier in her career co-founded Centillion Networks, which developed the first token ring Ethernet switch. Later on came one of her best-known roles, as vice president of marketing for Alteon WebSystems, which went public in 1999 and was sold to Nortel in 2000 for $7.8 billion, earning Lo a bundle. When the Ruckus story began -- as a stealth company owned by Sequoia Capital -- Lo was two years removed from Nortel and she became an investor in Ruckus and its CEO.

Ruckus now has 285 employees in 20 countries, and after growing its revenue by 100 percent from 2008 to 2009, when it booked $56 million, it's on track to hit the ambitious $90 million target Lo and her lieutenants laid out at the beginning of the year. Lo sat down with CRN Networking Editor Chad Berndtson at Ruckus' recent Big Dogs conference in Atlanta to bring us up to speed.

You've got a growing, supportive and actively engaged channel, and business is also growing in every one of your segments. What is your biggest challenge right now?

I think the big challenge is to really break out. The Wi-Fi market is huge, so everybody can survive, and if you look at Meru and our other competitors, when the tide goes up, all the boats lift. I think if we just want to have built a nice business, we would be fine just treading water. But you know? I'm greedy. I want market share. The key thing for us in grabbing market share in a very crowded space like enterprise wireless LAN is to not only do well by our partners, but also sign up partners and develop the right class of premium partners, and really help them get to a significant, multimillion-a-year business with us. Another piece is the carriers, which have significant muscle, and have a brand that in the bigger Fortune 1000 companies is very powerful. I think they will become an important piece of our delivery chain.


NEXT: How Wireless Is Changing

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