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May 31, 2016

Expanding the Options for Wave 2

Richard Watson By: Richard Watson, Product Marketing Manager

 
802.11ac has promised us a lot: faster data rates, more efficient use of RF spectra and transmission to multiple clients in the same instance. Now, 802.11ac’s full promise has come in the Wave 2 products. But, have we reached nirvana yet? No. To fulfill the “ac” promise, all the right elements need to be in place. CatchTheWave

By now, most Wi-Fi vendors have announced their indoor Wave 2 APs. Ruckus was first to market with the R710, which also incorporated BeamFlex+ and ChannelFly services for an optimized WLAN experience.

But was anything else missing? Yes. A wider selection of Wave 2 APs supporting different deployment environments. Robust Wave 2 APs were needed for not just indoor operation but also for outdoor and special indoor locations such as mid-market opportunities. Today, Ruckus announced the T710 and R510 products to address these segments. With a broad solution portfolio, a Wave 2 experience can be provided in almost any conceived wireless environment. But, is this enough?

Having a broad base of Wave 2 APs to deploy is only half the solution for expanding Wave 2 adoption. The critical element is having access to Wave 2 clients, and the flood of clients has just begun. Without integrating Wave 2 clients into a network, there would be no MU-MIMO benefit. The MU-MIMO benefit not only impacts Wave 2 clients but, because the realized RF efficiency, also benefits the non-Wave 2 devices as well. Today, there are more than 60 commercially available Wave 2 devices with unit sales beginning to skyrocket. Samsung announced its Wave 2 V6 Android early in 2016 and was able to sell more than 10 million units in a single quarter.

The expansion of the Wave 2 market is inevitable. With enterprise-class APs available in multiple deployment options and Wave 2 clients rapidly becoming the majority of sales, it is easy to project the successful expansion of Wave 2-based wireless solutions. Check our Wave 2 summary.

May 10, 2016

Just Like Yoga… WLAN Flexibility is Good

39d8040 By: Richard Watson, Product Marketing Manager 

Would you like to make your network provisioning and management simpler? How do you feel about going against common convention? Like yoga for healthy living, a flexible strategy for the WLAN can be healthy for the enterprise.

When WLANs made the transition from fat access points to a controller-based architecture, there was a lot good to say about them but a fundamental flaw soon surfaced. All the traffic from the APs passed through the controller (“tunneling”). Yes, this provided for the expansion of features and capabilities, but it ensured that there was an unacceptable built-in latency imposed on all applications running on the WLAN.  WLAN-Flexibility

“Tunneling” became a technology tainted by its legacy. But there was a conundrum: for certain applications, aggregating like traffic made sense, but how could one do so without overloading IT and slowing down the network? Standard virtual LAN (VLAN) infrastructures could meet these needs by tagging the client on a single VLAN so that traffic would be routed to a specific processing destination. This approach worked but it was a configuration nightmare, requiring VLAN management whenever devices came and went, or new switches were added. What a headache!

What about implementing a flexible, secure, VLAN-based tunneled architecture that accomplishes the goals of a traditional VLAN approach but is much simpler, more secure and scalable, and minimizes the impact on IT? What if the WLAN itself can provide this? Such a concept complements existing configuration options, but now provides a means to flexibly add a new, in-line “smart” tunneling service. With this approach, SSIDs are selected to act as “aggregation” points to securely tunnel traffic across to the network distribution point.

Perhaps the simplest example of an application that can take advantage of this approach is a generic commercial “hotspot.” Using a secure tunnel for all the traffic from a location can simplify management of the link and minimize the problem of data hacking as it traverses a network. You can have it all – plus secure tunneled traffic with a “set-and-forget” simplicity. If you’re interested in learning more about this flexible approach, check out virtual SmartZone-D (vSZ-D).

May 06, 2016

An Apple for the Teacher; Wi-Fi for All

Richard Nedwich

 

By: Richard Nedwich, Global Director of Education 

 

As a nod to Teacher Appreciation Week, a quick shout out to our 'Ruckus Teachers' who do an unbelievable job every day teaching their students the 3 Rs, the 4 Cs, and to mind their Ps and Qs! Thank you Mrs. Ludeman and the many, many others. Funny, but when I was little, we gave an apple to the teacher to eat, not to stream music. Times have changed for sure, but not always with smooth transitions.

As part of 21st Century teaching and learning, many teachers in America value the intended use of Wi-Fi for instruction, but the real-world Wi-Fi they have available in their schools is not sufficient in the classroom. In a previous blog, I mentioned EdWeek recently conducted a survey of 700 teachers, and detailed their 'Wi-Fi Woes' in a white paper.  AppleWifi

These 'Wi-Fi Woes' are made harder with 1:1 Chromebook deployments, online assessments, mobile labs using carts on wheels, and project-based learning on devices which would come to a halt if there was insufficient coverage, or slow Wi-Fi or network downtime.

The reason I'm passionate about my job is I know Ruckus can do something about it. Case in point: Dublin Unified School District. Full case study here.

Dublin USD is located 35 miles east of San Francisco, with more than 10,000 students. Between rapid enrollment and campus expansion, and the need to support Common Core requirements, the district decided to upgrade their network infrastructure.

By upgrading to Ruckus 802.11ac wireless access points and Brocade IP switches, the district supported their pedagogical needs, while positioning themselves for future growth. Dublin USD also selected Brocade Network Advisor to simplify network management across the district. In the past, IT had to travel between schools several days per week to make sure that the network was operating properly. Now they can see the entire infrastructure, including the Ruckus APs, which are identified as devices attached to each switch port.

Stephen Hanke, Superintendent at Dublin USD reports “The best feedback we have received is from our teachers, saying that the network just works. They can rely on it for instruction, and students have much better access to their coursework…. The wireless infrastructure is the critical layer as we integrate technology as a tool for learning. Our goal is success with Common Core and project- based learning. Technology supports instruction and should become invisible in the teaching and learning process. That’s essentially where we’re headed. However, we also needed a wired network that would support the new wireless network and our future goals.”

Class is in session!