What: Shares of Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ:UBNT) surged as much as 15.6% higher on Friday, driven by a strong first-quarter report.

So what: In the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, the maker of enterprise-grade Wi-Fi networking gear saw revenues stay nearly flat year-over-year at $151.4 million, slightly above the midpoint of management's official guidance.

GAAP earnings jumped 45% higher, sailing past the $0.51 top end of guidance and stopping at $0.61 per share.

The year-ago result in that comparison included a unique $5.5 million termination fee for a large purchase commitment that wasn't weighing on the 2016 period. Furthermore, the just-reported quarter saw an $8 million insurance payout stemming from an earlier email fraud case. Backing out these diametrically opposed items and the usual bevy of share-based compensation lines, Ubiquity's adjusted earnings rose a more modest 6% to $0.51 per share. That's well within the original guidance range.

Now what: Ubiquiti's service provider sales have been waning recently, but the smaller enterprise division is making up for those losses. The recently released UniFi access points helped enterprise sales soar 19% higher year over year.

Of course, that business shift may be temporary. The even newer airFiber X multiplexer provides 2-gigabit point-to-point wireless connections at a range of more than 120 miles, making it a great fit for wireless carriers needing that last hop from their core networks to the wireless tower stations.

That's the target market here, and the launch is smartly timed to give telecoms some time to test it out before rolling out next-generation wireless services over the next couple of years. In case you forgot, there's another wireless spectrum auction on tap in early 2016, and 5G technologies are almost ready to make us forget about today's 4G networks.


UniFi routers, gateways, and access points -- heroes or villains? Photo: Ubiquiti.

But that's a future growth play. Ubiquiti must pair this attractive technology with a strong sales and marketing push, and the competition is always fierce.

For now, UniFi is the big growth engine -- and even so, the growth story should have been much more exciting:

"Overall, there's no question UniFi in general has been a huge disappointment," said Ubiquiti CEO Robert Pera on a conference call with analysts. "Last quarter, we got $48 million from UniFi. If we did our job the past couple of years, it should be double that at least, but we have some new leadership on that platform. I expect UniFi, you will see better growth over this next year."

Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ubiquiti Networks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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