Ruckus Exec: Wi-Fi Is Like Water, Don't Hang Your Customers Out To Dry

The reliability of Wi-Fi service can make or break a business' reputation, said Jeanette Lee, director of systems engineering, Americas, at Ruckus Wireless. Lee drove home that message to attendees at 2015 XChange Solution Provider in Dallas Tuesday in a keynote session. "It's worse to offer bad Wi-Fi with my name on it than it is to not offer it at all."

Lee told the audience that Wi-Fi is no longer a want but a need. And if customers are unable to set and forget a wireless network, then it's a big problem. "Clients don't want people to call about the Wi-Fi; that's bad," said Lee. "At Ruckus, we try to make [Wi-Fi] easy, intelligent and something that you don't have to think about."

[Related: Ruckus Wireless Targets SMB Market With New 'Xclaim' Brand, Go-To-Market Model]

Lee likened Wi-Fi to water, in that it everyone needs it but no one wants to worry about it.

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"It's not about the technology anymore, it's about the applications that are running on the Wi-Fi," said Lee. "But if you're going to have an application and you want it to work, the wireless has to work. Ideally, it works and you don't even notice it's there."

With Wi-Fi becoming a mainstay in high-density venues such as stadiums and transportation hubs, the service has become more critical than ever.

"How many times do we go to airports that have crappy Wi-F?" asked Lee. "At the end of the day, their name is on it. If I go to an airport and the Wi-Fi sucks, I tweet about it. And I'm putting the name of that airport on it."

Bob Nitrio, CEO of Ranvest Associates, an Orangevale, Calif.-based Ruckus partner, noted that wireless connections often take the blame for the poor performance of a consumer-based device that's not up to snuff.

"When you have a consumer-based product that's not providing the performance that people expect, they get disappointed and relate that disappointment to wireless, as opposed to the device," said Nitrio in reference to the BYOD influx at many of his SMB clients. "Any wireless company needs to figure out what a client's needs are and address the situation accordingly."

A really strong signal makes addressing the situation a lot easier, and that's something that Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Ruckus Wireless certainly knows.

Speaking to the XChange crowd, Lee pointed to Ruckus' adaptive antenna array technology in its access points as the significant differentiator from its competition in the wireless space.

Ruckus' BeamFlex technology houses 21 directional antennas that "provide stronger signals at longer ranges, adapt to environmental changes and allow for more concurrent users per access point," she said.

"I honestly don't know of any other wireless company that takes it to that degree," said Nitrio in reference to Ruckus' use of different orientations of the antenna for polarity.

"You usually pay a little bit of a premium for anything that is that highly focused," he added. "But in the long run, you get exactly what you pay for with Ruckus and that's one of the things clients will never complain about."

What separates Ruckus from the competition, according to Nitrio, is it's passion for wireless. "I have always gravitated to companies that do one thing well, when you take a Swiss Army knife approach to things there are always compromises."