Top 10 Reasons Why Ruckus Wireless Users Should Upgrade to ZoneFlex 9.5

For all of our Ruckus wireless access point customers out there, their ZoneFlex 9.5 management software was just recently released.  Here are the top 10 reasons why you should upgrade today.

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New WiFi devices can have a polarizing affect on your WiFi access point performance

How portable devices such as smartphones and tablets are changing the way WiFi access points antenna technology is designed.

One of the least understood properties of a wireless signal is its polarization. Polarization is determined by the way an antenna is mounted, and can usually only be either horizontal or vertical. This is important, especially in point-to-point wireless communication, because only antennas with the same polarization will be able to communicate with each other.

Because polarization determines the antennas that can pick up the signal, you could set up two antennas in close proximity, and pointing in the same direction, but with different polarization. The result would be that antennas which are vertically polarized would only pick up the signal from the vertically transmitting antenna, while only horizontally polarized antennas would pick up the horizontally transmitting antenna signals.

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The True Cost of Consumer-grade WLAN Access Points

Although less expensive than their Enterprise counterparts, can your wireless network really afford them?

The rapid growth of mobile devices within the enterprise has introduced a new dynamic into the enterprise wireless LAN (WLAN) market—especially in the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) market. The phenomenon of BYOD (bring your own device) has put unparalleled demand on the wireless infrastructure and the IT managers that are responsible for managing them. Whether users are relying on their own device or using a device issued by the company, they are all needing, and demanding, reliable wireless connectivity for business-critical applications.

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Ruckus Wireless Awarded Wi-Fi Security Patent for Dynamic Authentication & Encryption

SUNNYVALE, CA – May 24, 2010 – Ruckus Wireless™ today announced that it has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an innovation that radically simplifies the configuration, administration and strength of wireless network security.  This patent is one of nearly two dozen patents granted to Ruckus with dozens more pending approval.

The new technique, commonly known as Dynamic Pre-Shared Key (PSK), effectively eliminates tedious and time-consuming manual installation of encryption keys, passphrases or user credentials needed to securely access a wireless network. Dynamic PSK changes this model by dynamically generating strong, unique security keys for each authenticated user, automatically installing these encryption keys on end user devices with little or no human intervention.

With the explosive growth of Wi-Fi networks around the world, organizations have struggled with how to streamline the complexity and cost of implementing robust wireless security. Many companies have used a passphrase that must be shared among many users and manually entered into client devices. If this “pre-shared key” becomes known or stolen it must be changed for all users and manually re-entered into every client device.

A popular alternative to the pre-shared key approach is an elaborate security framework (eg. 802.1X) that requires information, such as unique certificates or supplicants, to be installed on every user device.  Deploying such systems requires a high level of technical expertise as well as ongoing technical support for users.

“With Wi-Fi there has historically been two ends of the security spectrum,” said Steve Martin, VP of Engineering for Ruckus Wireless. “On one end is the simple approach that makes life easy for network managers but creates potential security concerns for companies. On the other end is a very robust but often overwhelming security framework, such as 802.1X, that requires a tremendous amount of time and effort to implement and administer. We’ve created the best of both worlds with a user-friendly and low maintenance method for providing a high level of wireless security.”

Using Dynamic PSK, organizations can now streamline the administration of wireless security with the confidence of knowing that their wireless network is protected. Integrated into all Ruckus ZoneDirector wireless LAN controllers at no cost, Dynamic PSK technology is device-independent and works on laptops and handheld Wi-Fi enabled devices.

How Does Dynamic PSK Work?

When a user initially accesses the wireless network, they are authenticated through a captive portal on the Ruckus ZoneDirector. This information is checked against any standard back-end authentication server such as Active Directory, RADIUS or an internal database on the ZoneDirector.

Once the user has successfully authenticated, Dynamic PSK technology automatically generates a unique encryption key for that user device. This key is downloaded to the client and automatically configured, along with the requisite Wi-Fi information. This eliminates users from having to manually configure anything and dramatically reduces the technical support burden on IT staff.

Each Dynamic PSK is bound to a specific client device and has a configurable lifetime. With Dynamic PSK, organizations control the length of time that each key is valid in increments of hours, days, weeks or months. Once the key expires, users must re-authenticate.  If a user device is stolen, others on the network are not at risk.  Network managers only need to delete the compromised user or device record in their authentication database.

“The simplicity of these technologies, like Dynamic PSK, truly changes the game for wireless deployments,” said Matthew Crandall, Associate Director of Information Services at Johnson College in Pennsylvania. “Dynamic PSK has been a remarkable time-saving tool for us – eliminating the hassle of configuring each and every end user device while still giving us state-of-the-art Wi-Fi security.”

“Like a lot of organizations, we demanded strong wireless security but didn’t want the management hassles associated with it. Dynamic PSK breaks through the conventional problems that have inhibited implementing a simple and strong wireless security architecture that easily scales,” concluded Crandall.

Johnson College operates a campus-wide 802.11n Wi-Fi network across 13 buildings. When new users access an open “provisioning” wireless network (SSID), they use secure HTTPS to authenticate against Johnson College’s user directory. Once authenticated, user devices are automatically configured with a unique encryption key and required SSID information. The devices then securely connect to the appropriate Johnson College wireless network.

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About Ruckus Wireless, Inc.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Ruckus Wireless is a manufacturer of advanced “Smart Wi-Fi” technology and wireless LAN (WLAN) systems used by enterprises and carriers around the world. Ranked as the top telecom company in the 2009 Inc. 500 list and named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, Ruckus has developed patented technology that uniquely extends signal range and allows for consistently reliable distribution of delay-sensitive multimedia content and services over standard 802.11 Wi-Fi. Its flagship product line, ZoneFlex, is the first centralized wireless LAN system to combine state-of-the-art Wi-Fi smart antenna arrays and wireless meshing to deliver maximum range and reliable performance at the lowest cost. Leading broadband operators use its MediaFlex multimedia routers to extend wireless digital services such as IPTV throughout subscribers’ homes worldwide. Ruckus has raised approximately $51 million from premier investors such as Sequoia Capital, Focus Ventures, Sutter Hill, Motorola, T-Ventures, Telus, Mitsui and others. Ruckus Wireless is led by Ms. Selina Lo, president and chief executive officer. For more information, visit Ruckus Wireless at http://www.ruckuswireless.com.

Ruckus ZoneFlex 7300 802.11n APs are here!

Mid March Ruckus Wireless announced the exciting new ZoneFlex 7300 series smart access points and we are pleased to say that they are finally instock! We just received several hundred Ruckus ZoneFlex 7363 and ZoneFlex 7363 single and dual band 802.11n access points.

For more information on the ZoneFlex 7363 and the ZoneFlex 7343 click here.

$1/Mb: Ruckus Does it Again – The new ZoneFlex 7300 802.11n AP

Ruckus Wireless Sets New 802.11n Price/Performance Benchmark with the World’s Most Affordable Enterprise-Class Access Point

At Under $1 Per Megabit, the New ZoneFlex 7300 Series Delivers Never Before Seen 802.11n Price/Performance by Combining Patented Smart Antennas with Dynamic Beamforming

SUNNYVALE, CA, March 15, 2010 – Ruckus Wireless™, the smart mobile internetworking company, today announced that it has broken the price/performance barrier for 802.11n wireless networking with the introduction of the new ZoneFlex™ 7300 series of midrange access points.

The first sub-$500 enterprise-class 802.11n access point, the ZoneFlex 7300 series includes both single-band (7343) and dual band (7363) products, priced at US $499 and $599 respectively. With maximum 802.11n capacity of 300Mbps (single band) or 600Mbps (dual band), the ZoneFlex 7300 has been measured to deliver unparalleled throughput of 210Mbps at short ranges (10 to 20 feet) and over 120 Mbps at longer ranges (60 to 100 feet) within a typical, walled office environment – making it the industry’s lowest cost, highest performing line of 802.11n access points.

One of the first companies to deploy the new ZoneFlex 7300 series is Louisville-based, Rock Bottom Restaurants, a leading casual dining chain. In 2010, Rock Bottom is standardizing on Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi across 105 of its restaurants across the United States (see separate release).

The ZoneFlex 7300 series is first Wi-Fi access points in their class to uniquely integrate patented smart antenna array and dynamic beamforming technology that delivers unmatched reliability and performance at near and far distances.

For solution developers and system integrators, the 7300 series can be custom ordered with an add-on USB port for value-added applications such as machine-to-machine (m2m) communications or WAN link backup using a 3G/4G/EVDO dongle.

“Enterprises and service providers around the world are trying to deal with a tsunami of Wi-Fi-enabled mobile internet devices in the hands of a growing user population that expects fast and reliable connectivity everywhere, all the time,” said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. “802.11n is expected to be the answer, but high prices and inconsistent performance have hampered mass adoption. Ruckus Wireless is breaking down these barriers once and for all.”

Available immediately, the ZoneFlex 7300 Series is ideally suited for:

  • Branch offices that need high-speed, low cost, and remotely-controlled Wi-Fi services;

  • Schools that want to easily migrate to higher capacity wireless infrastructures at the lowest total cost of ownership;
  • Hotels and public venues that must offer “complaint-less” guest Wi-Fi access that is simple to implement and operate;
  • Retail outlets where cost, aesthetics and reliability are key concerns; and
  • Remote controlled hotspots that deliver capacity and coverage despite interference from other APs in close proximity.

Low-End Price, High-End Performance

In over-the-air, wireless performance testing against high-end competitive 802.11n products from Aruba (AP125) and Cisco Systems (1250) that were twice the price, the new ZoneFlex 7363 consistently delivered up to 40% better throughput at close and long ranges.

More importantly, in performance testing where the client laptops were rotated 360o to emulate mobile client devices from a variety of directions and orientations, the ZoneFlex 7300 delivered a dramatic 2x to 4x improvement in throughput over the high-end Aruba 125 and Cisco 1250.

Unlike any other 802.11n access points, Ruckus ZoneFlex access points integrate BeamFlex™, a patented software-controlled multi-antenna array that forms and directs Wi-Fi signals over the best performing signal paths in real time, on a per packet basis. As RF environments change, Ruckus ZoneFlex APs are able to automatically select better signal paths to increase performance and minimize packet loss, thereby ensuring good, consistent user experience. In contrast, access points with omni-directional antennas have difficulty coping with obstacles and interference and must resort to dropping their data rate. This degrades performance for all users sharing an access point.

“We’ve always expected to see 802.11n prices drop as chips mature and the commoditization curve takes over, just it did with previous standards,” said Craig Mathias, principal at Farpoint Group, a leading wireless consulting firm. “But what we didn’t expect was the level of innovation beyond the chip that adds dramatic improvements in performance, range and reliability from smart antenna systems like those innovated by Ruckus Wireless. Looking ahead, we expect the real value in 802.11n systems to come from technology like this that helps control and optimize the physical layer where all the real problems arise.”

Product Details

The ZoneFlex 7300 series is packaged in a lightweight (.0875 lbs/397 grams), compact and ultra-slim design measuring just 7”x7”x1”. Moreover, the Ruckus ZoneFlex 7300 packs a unique collection of powerful capabilities not found in any other 802.11n access points. These include:

  • Integrated smart antenna array enabling 4dBi of antenna gain for extended coverage;

  • Automatic interference avoidance of -10dB;
  • Support for dynamic beamforming to minimize lowering of data rates and packet loss, ensuring consistent performance;
  • Secure L2TP tunneling;
  • State-of-the-art WPA2, AES encryption and 802.1X support;
  • Patented IP multicast-to-unicast conversion for high quality real time video streaming;
  • Flexible deployment in remotely managed standalone or controller-based configuration;
  • Smart mesh networking for cable-less deployment, lowering deployment costs;
  • Advanced Smart/OS features (when used with the Ruckus ZoneDirector controller) such as dynamic pre-shared keys and guest networking;
  • Advanced QoS with automatic traffic classification and per-user rate limiting;
  • Support for eight BSSIDs per radio;
  • Single and dual radio 2×2 11n designs with up to 300Mbps per radio;
  • Standard 802.3af power; and
  • Wall, ceiling or desktop mounting.

Completely manageable as a standalone access point through an easy-to-use, Web-based graphical user interface, the ZoneFlex 7300 is also works in concert with the Ruckus ZoneDirector controller and FlexMaster remote Wi-Fi management platform. ZoneFlex 7300 access points mesh seamlessly with other indoor and outdoor Ruckus 802.11n products. With BeamFlex mesh backbone links are inherently more resilient, longer range and more bandwidth efficient than other mesh access points in the market.

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About Ruckus Wireless, Inc.
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Ruckus Wireless is supplier of advanced wireless systems for the mobile Internetworking market. The company markets and manufactures a wide range of indoor and outdoor “Smart Wi-Fi” products for mobile operators, broadband service providers and corporate enterprises around the world. Ranked as the top telecom company in the 2009 Inc. Magazine 500 list and named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, Ruckus Wireless has realized dramatic growth. Since 2006, revenue and shipments have grown by over 1000 percent. Ruckus invented, and has patented, innovative state-of-the-art wireless technology that steers signals around obstacles and interference. This unique capability extends signal range and ensures consistent reliable distribution of delay-sensitive multimedia content and services over standard 802.11 Wi-Fi. The company has shipped over 2 million Smart Wi-Fi systems around the world and has raised $51 million in funding from premier investors such as Sequoia Capital, Focus Ventures, Sutter Hill, Motorola, T-Ventures, Telus Ventures and Firelake Capital. The company is led by Ms. Selina Lo, president and chief executive officer. For more information, visit Ruckus Wireless at http://www.ruckuswireless.com.

Ruckus Breaks Wireless Bridge Price/Performance Barrier with 7731

Ruckus wireless has broken the wireless bridge price/performance barrier with the release of the new Ruckus 7731 Outdoor 802.11n wireless bridge.  Each end has Ruckus’s integrated smart antenna array which which offers a 14 dbi gain with 30 degree beam width.  While not the strongest antenna in its class and has a bit too wide of a beam width for most (Ruckus says they are working on this) the 7731 does get some pretty good distance.  Here are some “real world” numbers that ruckus is boasting.

  • Up to 190 Mbps at 1.5 km/1 mi
  • Up to 165 Mbps at 3 km/2 mi
  • Up to 100 Mbps at 5 km/3 mi
  • Up to 50 Mbps at 10 km/6 mi
  • 15km maximum range

Aside from the speed the 7731 also has some other cool & handy features to help ease installation like the ability to find its peer automatically, LED based aiming technology, IP65 rating, lightweight design (1.93lbs) and easy 802.3af POE support.

I didn’t find any mention of latency in the 7731 documentation which is an important number when dealing with voice & video.  So,  while on a conference call with Ruckus yesterday discussing how to effectively use their platform for 3G offload (different post) and asked about the 7731′s latency.  The engineer on the call was not sure but this morning I got a detailed explanation and was impressed!  Here is the email from the Ruckus engineer…

Right now I am pinging over a 10km setup, I see rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.663/0.986/1.557/0.271 ms

The packet transmission time on the link depends on the link condition, traffic patterns (sizes of packets, and burstiness of packets). A typical full size packet takes about 200us on highest rate to a couple of ms on lowest rate. If consider aggregation, the per aggregate time varies even more depending on the aggregation size, link speed…

We passed voice testing with 20km setup in China, as GSM backhaul, achieving good MOS score with an actual voice call.

Notice those latency stats.  You are looking at under ~2ms for a 10Km link.  These are the numbers we normally see on Motorola PTP 500/600s.  I really love the fact that Ruckus is so into their product that they will actually ping across a production link to get you the information you need.

OK, so finally on to the barrier breaking price…The Ruckus 7731 is $2398 for the pair (yes for both!).  Assuming their numbers are correct and you are looking at a short hop that is ~$13 per Mbps!

I do concede that this is a wifi based product and you will not see any of the special NLOS features you get from Motorola PTP series point to points but for relatively short LOS hops this bridge rocks!