Ruckus Exec Touts Product Reliability, Investments In 'Private LTE' Technology

During the XChange 2018 conference, Ruckus Networks executive Jeanette Lee said she spoke to a partner that had bought a Ruckus point-to-point bridge a couple of years ago and asked him how the product had fared.

"I never think about it. I forget it's there. It just works," Lee, senior director for global field enablement at Ruckus, recalled the partner saying.

That, in a nutshell, is how Ruckus is different from its rivals in the fiercely competitive wired and wireless networking space, Lee said during her keynote at XChange 2018, being held this week in San Antonio and hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.

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"I want to be the one who gives you [products] that make you so happy you never think about me again," she said. "I want your customers to have that experience of not having to think about it."

That's a bit counterintuitive, since it might seem like it would be hard for a company like that to "stand out" with customers, she said. But "to the right people" this actually does set Ruckus apart, Lee said, since customers "rarely get that kind of experience."

Last December, Arris International closed its acquisition of Ruckus and its ICX switching business from Broadcom. Sales from Ruckus helped to drive 4 percent revenue growth at Arris in the second quarter of the year.

Manuel Villa, founder and president of VIA Technology, a Ruckus partner based in San Antonio, said things have stabilized since the period of transition to Arris.

"I think there is stability within the organization now, from the technical side and from the sales and marketing side," Villa said.

"The products are rock-solid. They've got some excellent technology out there compared to competitors," Villa said, citing in particular the Ruckus access point capabilities for covering large spaces with fewer APs than competitors.

"If you only need half the amount of APs, that means you need fewer cable runs, and fewer ports on your switches need to be used, and can be used for something else," he said. "The management of those devices is less, so you need fewer people to manage them."

With Ruckus in a more stable place now, the company's products are again "top of mind" with the staff at VIA Technology, Villa said.

Looking toward the future, Ruckus is investing in new areas such as providing what it's calling "private LTE" to make up for situations where typical Wi-Fi or LTE coverage is not enough for businesses.

"What if you or your customer could deploy your own LTE?" Lee said during her XChange keynote.

Key use cases can include running industrial Internet of Things deployments that bring heavy demand, she said. The ultimate promise is to let users directly connect to LTE that is "managed and operated and installed through the access points of your customer's network," Lee said. "That's what we're thinking about. … That's where our difference comes into play."