Ruckus Wireless drops smart WiFi system for SMBs

Chances are that you’ve never heard of Ruckus Wireless: the small, Sunnyvale, CA-based company has been manufacturing and white-labeling wireless gear for ISPs–including Google’s Mountain View network–for years. However, after an initial foray into the living room, Ruckus is gearing up to take on the enterprise market and if their initial batch of products offers any indication, these guys are going to make a big splash. Ruckus CEO and president Selina Lo stopped by the offices of DailyTechRag last week with some new gear for the SMB market, including the company’s forthcoming ZoneFlex WLAN system. Consisting of ZoneFlex 802.11g/n access points, the ZoneDirector controller and FlexMaster remote management system, ZoneFlex attempts to offer SMBs an integrated WiFi package that’s affordable, secure, scalable and a snap to deploy and support.

So what’s so special about this stuff? In a word, this system is smart. Take for example, the ZoneFlex 2925 AP, the company’s low-end access point. The first thing you’ll notice is the device’s attractive curved look, designed to physically separate the antenna and the logic board so as to avoid interference due to circuit board noise. It’s hard to believe that such a simple idea, which is both functional and attractive, hasn’t been used yet by other manufacturers. Inside the device you’ll find Ruckus’s advanced BeamFlex antenna, with its six high-gain vertically polarized and six horizontally polarized elements. Using its onboard software, the ZoneFlex can use this antenna to autonomously pick the best path for sending signals to both clients and other APs in a mesh network–for example, if someone turns on a cordless phone, the ZoneFlex will actually sense that interfering signal and will work around it. There’s some pretty serious engineering and physics going into these products but thanks to the smart software, you won’t ever have to think about it.

Ruckus’s end goal is to provide SMBs with a system that will allow for a network with fewer APs that reach more users, farther and faster–without requiring a high level of maintenance or customization. “We don’t aim for the best average throughput,” Lo told me last week, explaining how Ruckus’s business model differs from their competitors’. “We aim for the best worst case throughput–we make the worst case suck less.” Ruckus’s SMB products start shipping this month.

For more on Ruckus’s SMB products:
– check out the Ruckus website

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