Ruckus unties wireless device implementation knots

February 04, 2013

Bernard Cole-February 04, 2013

Ruckus Wireless  has just introduced two new products for taking the complexity out of design, implementation and management of Smart WiFi network enabled wireless device platforms.

One, called SmartWay, addresses the scaling challenges inherent in Apple Bonjour and UPnP networks as the number of wireless mobile devices increases.

The other, BeamFlex+, is -an enhancement to its BeamFlex technology which addresses the problem in multicast networks in which mobile-device performance can be diminished because of the always-changing orientation of the antennae.

According to Steve Martin, VP of Engineering for Ruckus Wireless SmartWay helps organizations with Apple devices using services such as AirPlay and AirPrint discover and communicate more easily with each other. SmartWay is integrated with Ruckus' ZoneFlex software, allowing multicast traffic to be managed and directed without overloading a network.

BeamFlex+ is an enhancement to its BeamFlex technology--which addresses the problem in multicast networks in which mobile-device performance can be diminished because of the always-changing orientation of the antennae. Its "polarization-agnostic" approach uses maximal ratio combining technology to improve signal reception from different orientations.

He said that new mobile devices such as Apple iPhones, iPads and AppleTV operating on Wi-Fi networks can generate large volumes of traffic as these multicast protocols constantly advertise the availability of the devices.

This broadcast traffic is transmitted at lower speeds and spills across the entire wireless local area network (WLAN), slowing down the performance and capacity of WLANs.

Beyond controlling new mobile traffic on Wi-Fi networks, the use of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones present new performance and connectivity problems as the orientation of these devices constantly change.

“With the typical use of mobile devices, users don’t always hold them perfectly vertical or horizontal,” he said. “Consequently, Wi-Fi signals are transmitted and received improperly. This causes a signal imbalance between the communication of Wi-Fi access points (APs) and client devices, resulting in the degradation of Wi-Fi performance.

SmartWay, said Martin, is a new Smart Wi-Fi software technology that not only simplifies the administration and optimization of service discovery traffic over Smart Wi-Fi networks, it also supports advanced facilities to restrict or “fence” these services to a given access point, group of access points or a particular geographic area.

Current competitive approaches simply bridge all multicast traffic (e.g. Bonjour) between two virtual LANs (VLANs) or bridge the traffic from a single VLAN to all VLANs on a service-by-service basis. This means that a given service, such as Apple TV, becomes available everywhere - creating security concerns as resources are visible in undesired locations.

Ruckus is natively integrating SmartWay support for bridging Bonjour and other multicast traffic directly into its ZoneFlex software system. This allows service discovery traffic to be selectively bridged across subnets to enable large-scale deployments without overloading the network.

Another Smart Wi-Fi innovation, he said, is Ruckus BeamFlex+, which adds essential technology to Ruckus-patented BeamFlex adaptive antenna arrays. BeamFlex+ is “polarization-agnostic” and automatically adjusts to deliver the best performance, regardless of the way in which client devices are sending Wi-Fi signals.

As mobile devices change their orientation, BeamFlex+ enables Ruckus access points to ensure the highest possible throughput. Simply altering the orientation of a mobile device or the angle of a laptop can cause dramatic changes in Wi-Fi performance and reliable connectivity.

Traditional access points typically don’t have the ability to optimize or adapt to these types of changes within new, mobile device-rich Wi-Fi environments.

BeamFlex+ also enables better reception of communications from low-powered mobile devices that don’t have strong Wi-Fi transmission capabilities.

It uniquely leverages maximal ratio combining (MRC) technology in combination with polarization diversity to improve the reception of signals from different orientations for more reliable communication.

This enables BeamFlex+ enabled Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi access points to “listen” to Wi-Fi transmissions that are sent in different ways from client devices, ensuring more consistent Wi-Fi connections.

Recent advances in Wi-Fi standards, such as 802.11n, now allow several parallel data streams to be transmitted from multiple antennas, but at the cost of he said, of increasing Wi-Fi network throughput. At the receiver, these streams are effectively combined to gain higher data rates.

Unlike conventional access points, Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi APs with BeamFlex+ have complete control over how Wi-Fi signals are transmitted and in what orientation. This improves the chances to increase throughput in virtually any environment.

BeamFlex+ has the unique ability to control the shape of Wi-Fi signals to increase the probability that multiple data streams can be effectively combined within a given environment, improving Wi-Fi performance.

Available now BeamFlex+ is supported at no cost in select Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi access points that integrate Ruckus-patented dual-polarized adaptive antenna systems.

Avaiable later in the second quarter of 2012, SmartWay is currently being tested by developers using existing Ruckus ZoneFlex systems by requesting a simple beta software upgrade.

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