CommScope Unveils New Access Points To Take Wi-Fi 6 'Mainstream'

The network infrastructure provider is unveiling five new Wi-Fi 6-enabled access points to target the midmarket and enable brand-new IoT use cases.


CommScope is already supporting high-end use cases with Wi-Fi 6-enabled access points, and now, the network infrastructure provider is taking the next-generation wireless standard to the midmarket through a new series of indoor and outdoor access points.

"We've been shipping Wi-Fi 6 for almost two years, but with this announcement, we are taking the technology mainstream," said Bart Giordano, senior vice president, product management for CommScope’s Ruckus portfolio. "We're addressing a broad swath of the market now."

CommScope on Tuesday launched three new indoor access points; the R850, R650 and R550, as well as two, first-ever Wi-Fi-enabled outdoor access points; the T750 and T750SE. The new access points join the Ruckus R750 Wi-Fi 6 indoor access point for enterprise use cases, the company said.

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For the midmarket, the R650, an upgrade to the company's popular R600 series, offers 3 Gbps speeds and embedded support for IoT use cases. The R550 offers 1.8 Gbps speeds and native support for IoT, a cost-effective Wi-Fi 6 option. For outdoor use cases, the T750 boasts 3.55 Gbps speeds and can support IoT use cases outside, according to CommScope.

CommScope also introduced the R850 indoor access point that boasts 5.9 Gbps speeds and embedded IoT support, as well as the T750SE, an outdoor access point with 3.5 Gbps speeds, embedded IoT, and sectorized antennas, a great fit for stadiums and other large venues, Giordano said.

The new access points can be managed both by the Ruckus SmartZone controller and the Ruckus Cloud management platform.

"The new access points gives channel partners a chance to bring their customers a meaningful upgrade that brings the higher capacity and performance of Wi-Fi 6, but also can drive solutions around IoT; things like asset tracking and staff safely and security," Giordano said.

CommScope has seen consistent adoption of Wi-Fi 6 at the high end of its portfolio and the firm expects to see continued adoption in the midmarket and SMB space, even despite economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Giordano said.

With many businesses and campuses closed because of the pandemic as employees and students work and learn from home, many partners are seizing opportunities to upgrade their customers' sites earlier than planned, he said.

"I would say that for the most part, we are seeing many business segments actually accelerating adoption of Wi-Fi 6 [products]," he said. "There are incredible demands being places on properties, like multi-tenant dwellings, today."

Hickory, N.C.-based CommScope in April unveiled Ruckus Analytics, a multitenant, Software-as-a-Service-based artificial intelligence-powered network management service that can help MSPs stay proactive and avoid the need for troubleshooting, the firm told CRN last month. The latest line of access points will include embedded Ruckus Analytics capabilities, Giordano said.

CommScope's Ruckus business unit, which the company acquired in 2019 when it bought former Ruckus owner telecommunications equipment maker Arris does 100 percent of its business through channel partners. Ruckus' channel program has since been integrated into CommScope's flagship channel program, but there's still different segments within the program to address bothckus

The indoor R650 and outdoor T750 began shipping during Q1 2020. The indoor R550 and R850 are shipping now. The outdoor T750SE will begin shipping in Q3 2020, according to the company.

Giordano said CommScope will be announcing more outdoor, Wi-Fi6-enabled access point options for the midmarket over the next several months.