Ruckus Wireless has unveiled a line of ZoneFlex wireless access points (APs) that it claimed are the first to come to market based on Wave 2 features of the 802.11ac standard.
The supplier says this will enable it to extend the ability of Wi-Fi to enable multi-gigabit performance, and vastly increase capacity over current 802.11ac devices.
Wave 2 – the second generation of 802.11ac APs – was always expected to start shipping during 2015, although Wi-Fi suppliers such as Ruckus's rival Aruba have been cautious, saying it would likely be towards the middle or end of the year.
Wave 2 uses a capability called multi-user multiple input/multiple output (MU-MIMO) which allows the simultaneous transmission of multiple client streams to different devices over the same frequency, something that was not possible before. This will enable users to double the density of mobile devices on their WLAN, and aggregate data rates of over 2Gbps.
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Demand for wireless capacity
Ruckus’s Wave 2 ZoneFlex R710 AP can support up to four spatial streams and, the supplier claimed, 500 concurrent clients. It adapts to client devices' changing locations using dual-polarised smart antennae. It can create over 4,000 unique directional antenna patterns per radio, mitigating up to 15dB of RF interference.
The APs also incorporate Ruckus’s BeamFlex+ technology to boost network performance and range, as well as a USB port to accommodate Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and other internet of things (IoT) devices. Combined with location services and analytics, Ruckus said it believes this can help network owners monetise their assets.
Vijay Sammeta, CIO of the City of San Jose in California – a Ruckus launch customer – said he was seeing “insatiable” demand for wireless capacity across the city’s public networks.
“We need to be able to plan and prepare for devices and services we haven’t even seen yet. Wave 2 represents an investment in a platform that not only meets our current needs, it will meet those in the future that we can’t predict,” said Sammeta.
Sammeta claimed to have already seen dramatic performance improvements over the R710s, reaching 445Mbps on two-stream capable laptops, and 200Mbps on single-stream smartphones under test conditions.