Ruckus Vies for Enterprise Attention

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New dual-band and ‘beamforming’ technologies in Ruckus’ wireless access points give it greater connectivity capabilities and performance for enterprise environments.

Ruckus Wireless has introduced a dual-band 802.11n access point and other WLAN products designed to earn it some attention in the enterprise space.

Ruckus, which found its sweet spot in the midmarket between vendors serving the large enterprise space such as Cisco Systems and Aruba Networks and the consumer market such as Linksys, has been steadily moving upstream with its ZoneFlex line of wireless LAN access points, controllers and more, due mainly to its lower cost of ownership and higher return on investment, says Niv Hanigal, director of product management at Ruckus Wireless.

“We were pulled into the market because of the economy,” he says. “Large enterprises and universities are looking at their budgets and saying, ‘We want functionality but we don’t want to pay as much.’ Our combination of price, performance and reliability allows companies to have that level of functionality.”

Among the new offerings available now is a new dual-band 2.4 and 2.5GHz 802.11n access point—the first dual band for the n-class, according to the company. The ZoneFlex 7962 features Ruckus’ “beamforming” antenna and automatic interference mitigation technology, enabling signals to be more finely directed and therefore travel farther, Hanigal says.

“Beamforming technology focuses energy only where it is needed—a good analogy is comparing a light bulb to a flashlight. Because a flashlight beam is directed, it can reach farther,” he says. “Plus, it can reject and avoid interference. When you’re in a noisy environment, it’s more beneficial to try to turn down the noise than to talk louder. That creates better throughput and more predictable connectivity.”

The company also has announced the ZoneDirector 3500, a scalable Smart WLAN controller that can accommodate up to 500 access points and support up to 32 WLANs, available in the second half of this year; Ruckus Smart/OS application platform software supporting advanced WLAN capabilities such as Smart Mesh Networking and new enhancements including WLAN groups, advanced user access controls and automatic traffic handling features; and Enhanced FlexMaster, a Wi-Fi remote management system for ZoneDirectors and ZoneFlex APs with delegated administration support for enterprises with multiple network managers.

Larry Shattuck, director of business development at eGearUSA, a Ruckus partner based in Holland, Michigan says selling the Ruckus technology is easy, especially with eGearUSA’s education clients.

“We’re finding more school systems need to stay competitive. They’re looking at it like, ‘If we’re going to be competitive and stay on the leading edge, with Ruckus we can see ourselves remaining competitive and offering extremely good technology at a fraction of what we need to pay,” he says. “Plus, schools can provide newer technologies and services to students and parents that we couldn’t do before.”

The new products, Shattuck says, complement an already robust technology line card.

“They are easy to manage, easy to work with, and our customers just love it,” he says. “With dual-band APs, you’ve got to have something that works [well], and these work. Plus, it’s almost brain-dead simple.

“We’re impressed with what we’ve been able to do,” he says.