A Ruckus Wireless executive playing to the crowd at a recent conference in Rome Credit: Ruckus Wireless via Facebook.     

Shares of Ruckus Wireless (NYSE:RKUS) stock were down 4.11% at 5:46 p.m. ET on Thursday evening, after the company posted first-quarter revenue and earnings that came short of estimates. Here's a closer look at the final totals versus Wall Street's projections:

RKUSRevenueYOY GrowthEPSYOY Growth
Consensus estimate  $85.62 million  14.1%  $0.08  60%
Q1 actuals  $82.08 million  9.4%  $0.07  40%
DIFFERENCE  ($3.54 million)  (4.7%)  ($0.01)  (20%)

Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Ruckus Wireless press release. 

Commenting on the results, CEO Selina Lo said in a press release:

While we made progress that positions us for long-term growth, our revenue for the quarter was affected by several large enterprise deals in North America taking longer to close, and continued delays in education spending in advance of the upcoming release of E-Rate funding. Despite that, we continue to expect the upcoming E-Rate funding to be an important driver for long-term revenue growth. We were first to announce an 802.11ac Wave 2 access point which will differentiate us in the market. We also added Ian Whiting to our team as Chief Commercial Officer to drive our go-to-market strategy and sales execution.

What went right: Financially, Ruckus didn't have much to celebrate. New products and relationships are aimed at changing that. In addition to the potential upside from E-Rate, in its press release Ruckus touted a forthcoming partnership with Nokia (NYSE:NOK) The company's 802.11ac technology will be integrated into Nokia Networks' "Flexi Zone" small cell indoor and outdoor wireless products.

What went wrong: As Lo says in her statement, big deals were delayed as clients took longer to make purchases. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's also a common problem for companies like Ruckus, which rely on large, long-term deals that include developing and laying an infrastructure. Cash can get consumed quickly when contracts go unsigned. In this case, Ruckus burned through $5.3 million in cash to fund first-quarter operations. Last year, the company generated $3.6 million in operating cash flow. 

What's next: Looking ahead, Ruckus Wireless projects $86 million to $91 million in second-quarter revenue, resulting in $0.07 to $0.10 in net income per share after excluding the impact of stock-based compensation and other one-time and non-cash charges.

Analysts tracked by S&P Capital IQ have the company generating $90.72 million in revenue and $0.10 a share in adjusted profit, versus $81 million and $0.07 a share in last year's Q2. Longer term, analysts have Ruckus Wireless growing earnings by an average of 22.57% annually during the next three to five years.

And in terms of the overall business? Investors should keep a close eye on education spending. Ruckus has hinged much of its immediate future on the success of the E-Rate program for bringing fast wireless service to schools and libraries.