Ruckus Takes 11n Up-Market


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Ruckus Wireless knows that the economy has slowed wireless network upgrades, but that hasn't stopped the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company from bulking up its 802.11n offerings with new gear aimed at a larger market and a lower price point.

Ruckus on Monday expanded its ZoneFlex Enterprise Smart Wireless LAN offerings with a trio of new products aimed to deliver recession-friendly, high-performance wireless connectivity in large campus environments.

"In these economic times, enterprises are looking for practical solutions that let them keep pace with business requirements as budgets shrink," said Ruckus President and CEO Selina Lo in a statement. "For Wi-Fi, it means higher capacity, steadier coverage, more users, less maintenance and doing it all at the lowest possible cost."

First, Ruckus has unveiled the ZoneFlex 7962, a dual-band 802.11n access point that embeds Ruckus' beam-forming antenna and automatic interference-mitigation technology. While in the past, Ruckus' 802.11n access points were only single-band, a dual-band AP lets users pick which band they want to use for which applications. For example, a company can choose the 5GHz band for video and voice, while they can use 2.4GHz for standard data.

"You can mix different scenarios together," said David Callisch, Ruckus' vice president of marketing.

A dual-band 11n access point with beam-forming, Callisch said, bumps up the consistency of range, performance and reliability by focusing where wireless transmissions are sent, cutting down on the erratic nature of Wi-Fi. Beam-forming uses constant client feedback inherent in 802.11 a/b/g/n to automatically adapt signals to environmental changes to give users consistent performance.

The ZoneFlex 7962 features an internal dynamic beam-forming antenna system with 19 directional antenna elements; automatic interference mitigation; smart mesh networking; and standard 802.3af Power over Ethernet.

Along with a new access point, Ruckus also is moving further up-market with a new Smart WLAN controller, the ZoneDirector 3500, which can manage 500 a/b/g/n access points. In the past, Callisch said, Ruckus could support a maximum of 250 APs per controller.

"The channel is really moving us up-market," he said. "We're getting a lot more play in bigger companies. We need to support hundreds of access points and thousands of users. Now partners can come in and sell into a larger-scale organization. Now they have a story to tell the enterprise to get into 11n."

Ruckus also released Smart/OS 8, new application platform software that supports advanced WLAN capabilities for ZoneDirectors such as Smart Mesh Networking and new enhancements such as WLAN groups, advanced user access controls and automatic traffic handling features. Smart/OS 8 offers advanced security, RF management control, QoS and guest networking capabilities. It also lets administrators create up to 32 discrete WLANs, map the same WLAN to different VLANs and define WLAN groups that are only broadcast on select access points.

Callisch said the ZoneFlex 7962 access point is currently available and lists for $999, while the ZoneDirector 3500 will be available in the second half of the year. Smart/OS 8 is a free upgrade to support contract customers.

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