802.11 is a family of wireless standards created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). 802.11n is the older version of Wi-Fi, launched in 2009. It improved over previous versions of Wi-Fi with multiple radios, advanced transmit and receive techniques, and the option to use 5 GHz spectrum—all of which translate to a data rate of up to 600 Mbps.
802.11ac, introduced in 2014, is the latest generation. It adds wider channels and the ability to utilize up to eight data streams (“spatial streams”) with downlink using multi-user multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) techniques for simultaneous transmission on up to four devices. These are changes over the previous standard that yield a maximum data rate of more than 3 Gbps, and even higher in the future. It also operates exclusively in the cleaner, capacity-rich 5 GHz frequency band.
Older 802.11n technology is now widely deployed, and still does a good job for many applications. But if you’re deploying wireless infrastructure today, especially in a new, “green field” deployment, 802.11ac is the way to go. You might have heard some grumbling about real-world 802.11ac throughput gains not living up to expectations. And that was sometimes true for early products. But the second generation of 802.11ac—known as “Wave 2”—delivers major advantages over 802.11n, with room to grow. To get the most from 802.11ac, however, you need solutions built with solid wireless fundamentals, thoughtful radio design and very good antennas.
802.11ac Wave 2 is the newest version of the newest Wi-Fi standard. It builds on first-generation 802.11ac technology by delivering faster data rates and the ability to communicate with four different clients simultaneously, instead of one at a time.
Since rolling out in 2015, 802.11ac Wave 2 has become the Wi-Fi technology of choice, seeing double-digit growth in its first two years after launch. With wireless speeds as fast or faster than wired networks, many businesses now use it as the primary way to connect to the LAN.
Ruckus got in early on the 802.11ac game, offering one of the leading Wave 2 access points and the industry’s first commercially available Wave 2 outdoor access point. Today, we offer one of the largest Wave 2 portfolios on the market. By combining Wave 2 capacity with our technology breakthroughs in Smart Wi-Fi intelligence and antenna design, we’re making the dream of super-fast 802.11ac a reality in thousands of locations worldwide.
802.11ax, is the latest Wi-Fi IEEE wireless standard. This new standard brings significant advances on multiple fronts. It expands the multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) techniques to transmit simultaneously on up to eight streams compared to four streams on 802.11ac Wave 2. Furthermore, it piggybacks on MU-MIMO with Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology allowing each MU-MIMO stream to be split into four additional streams, boosting effective average throughput per user by four times.
Introduction of new modulation and coding sets with 1024-QAM allows for more data to be transmitted per packet resulting in better throughput. It also improved the overall physical and MAC layer efficiency and improves the battery power management.
If earlier standard was like a long line of customers waiting in a grocery store for one cashier, MU-MIMO expanded it to four cashiers serving four lines of customers in 802.11ac. 802.11ax expanded it further to eight cashiers serving eight lines of customers. With OFDMA, now the cashier gets the ability to handle multiple customers at a time when they are free. Imagine, a cashier being able to serve the next customer, if the first customer decides to do a quick run back to pick something up.
Wi-Fi is now being deployed at crowded stadiums or busy airports with hundreds of thousands of devices fighting for bandwidth which the current 802.11ac standard has challenges in supporting. 802.11ax increase the average throughput per user by 4x in high-density scenarios.
The newest standard combined with Ruckus’ Ultra-High-Density Technology Suite will empower you to deliver the best end-user experience.
APs and Clients continuously exchange management frames to maintain a connection. Airtime Decongestion is a Ruckus technology that limits management frame exchanges between APs and clients in ultra-high dense environments.
In an ultra-high dense Wi-Fi environment, excessive management traffic saturates the available Wi-Fi spectrum. This results in poor connectivity and low per-client throughput, ultimately leading to a poor client experience.
Airtime Decongestion technology enables APs to selectively respond to clients, dramatically increasing overall network efficiency for higher airtime utilization and thus a better user experience.
Airtime fairness is a feature on Ruckus APs that ensures all connected clients get the same amount of airtime, regardless of each device’s theoretical data rate.
Ever been in a conference room and noticed your wireless device isn’t performing as it should? This happens in mixed environments where some devices are using older wireless technologies, or when some clients are much farther away than others. Like a teacher doling out snacks, access points share their capacity equally, giving each device its turn to download the same number of packets. If your colleague’s ancient laptop, or a tablet connected down the hall, takes a lot longer to download them, you’ll feel that delay—and so will everyone else connected to that AP. Instead, airtime fairness gives every device the same transmission time, no matter how many packets they receive. So older or more distant clients don’t slow everyone else down, and your network gains capacity.
Asset Tracking is a way to keep track of a device’s location using Wi-Fi, radio frequency ID (RFID) tags, or a combination of both.
Many organizations—especially schools, hospitals, and others with large campuses—have lots of expensive equipment that moves around all the time. Whether it’s tablets or laptops used by students and teachers, audiovisual equipment, lab or clinical equipment, organizations want to be able to know where their assets are located. Modern wireless technologies offer two ways to do this. For devices connected to the Wi-Fi network, you can use Wi-Fi location and positioning tools to see their location. For assets with an RFID tag attached, you can use similar tools that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to track them. If you’re using a Ruckus Smart Positioning Technology (SPoT), you can do both. Just open up the Locator feature in the SPoT Analytics Dashboard, enter in the device’s unique MAC address, and you can:
Band steering is a technology that encourages WLAN clients to connect over one frequency band versus another.
Most modern wireless networks can use both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. But 2.4 GHz is much more congested—both with older wireless clients, and things like cordless phones and Bluetooth devices that generate interference. For devices with “dual-band” capability, connecting over 5 GHz is usually the better choice.
With band steering, the wireless system monitors all clients in the environment, keeping track of whether they’re single-band or dual-band, and which types of APs are in their proximity. When a dual-band device tries to connect over 2.4 GHz, the AP steers it towards the cleaner, higher-capacity 5 GHz frequency band instead. Users on the 2.4 GHz band win too, because they’re now sharing that spectrum with fewer devices.
Smart, compact adaptive antenna systems containing multiple elements that electrically manipulate antenna properties so as to create optimal antenna patterns for each device with which they communicate.
Traditional wireless antennas are either “omnidirectional” (radiating signals in all directions) or “directional” (radiating signals in one direction). Ruckus BeamFlex Adaptive Antenna Technology takes a more adaptable approach. BeamFlex technology enables the antenna system within a Ruckus AP to continually sense and optimize for its environment.
This antenna system mitigates radio interference, noise and network performance issues, and improves application flows. The results:
BeamFlex+ is an enhancement to Ruckus BeamFlex adaptive antenna technology by providing adaptive support to mobile devices. BeamFlex+ enables antennas to adapt to client device orientation in addition to client device location.
Beamforming is a technique APs use to focus their radio signals in the direction of the clients they’re communicating with to gain better capacity and throughput. And while “beamforming” and Ruckus’ “Beamflex” technology sound similar, they’re not the same thing!
When most technology vendors talk about beamforming, they mean “transmit beamforming,” (TxBF), which is achieved through signal processing built into the AP’s chip. In contrast, Ruckus’ Beamflex+ technology focuses radio signals using smart adaptive antennas. Beamflex+ is not part of the industry-standard chip. We add this capability—which works at the antenna-level—and we’re the only vendor that has successfully implemented it.
When APs target their signals directly to clients, the signal is stronger (better throughput), and the overall airspace is cleaner (less interference from signals bouncing all over the place). So we can all agree that beamforming is a good thing. But some vendors claim TxBF is all you need. That’s not quite true.
Transmit beamforming requires feedback from the client—which means devices have to support the TxBF protocol to benefit from it, and many don’t. Transmitters using TxBF also can’t use spatial multiplexing at the same time (another technique that’s widely used to get more capacity in the same airspace).
With Ruckus’ revolutionary BeamFlex and BeamFlex+ Adaptive Antenna technology, you can provide benefits for all clients. So your RF spectrum stays much cleaner, and your network delivers better throughput and reliability. Want to use both? You can: BeamFlex and BeamFlex+ technologies add benefit on top of whatever beamforming technology may be implemented in the chip.
Based on open standard IEEE 802.1BR Bridge Port Extension technology, Ruckus Campus Fabric integrates premium, mid-range, and entry-level switches by collapsing the network access, aggregation, and core layers into a single domain that shares services.
The control bridge and a port extender are the building blocks of a Campus Fabric. The traditional aggregation/core layer is replaced by switches that act as the control bridge which is the brain of the complete Campus Fabric technology. The access layer is replaced by switches that operate in port extender mode; these switches provide connectivity to PCs, laptops, IP phones, and other access devices. The control bridge communicates with the attached port extender devices using protocols defined in the IEEE 802.1BR standards.
Traditional access networks are highly inefficient and rigid, requiring network teams to connect to each individual network devices to provision resources, apply configuration changes, and deploy network policies.
Unlike the traditional three-tier network design, Ruckus Campus Fabric collapses the network into a single logical device. This design centralizes control, simplifies deployment and management of services, and scales easily to handle growth. All the links between the switches are active at all times and traffic is load balanced. The results are:
In computer networking, a digital certificate is a document installed on a device that provides the basis for authenticating the device onto the network. Certificate management is the process of managing these digital certificates. This includes processes such as creation, storage, distribution, suspension and revocation. Certificate authorities (CA) are responsible for certificate management and serve as a registration authority for subscriber certificates.
Digital certificates installed on the device as part of an automated network onboarding process streamline network authentication and make sure that every connection is secure. Users who have installed a certificate on their device during initial onboarding no longer have to take any action to re-authenticate on future connection attempts—the device connects automatically in a process that is transparent to the user. The certificate persists on the device until revoked by IT administrators. Default methods of network onboarding and authentication, such as conventional pre-shared keys and MAC authentication, do not provide the security or user experience benefits of digital certificates distributed via a secure onboarding platform.
The ChannelFly dynamic channel management technology in Ruckus APs improves wireless performance by dynamically switching a client to a better channel when the one it’s using starts to degrade.
Most modern WLAN products can change a client’s channel when the one it’s using gets clogged with interference or too many devices. But there’s no point in switching channels unless you know the new one will actually provide more capacity. And most channel management strategies don’t do a great job of predicting. ChannelFly technology assesses all available channels to measure the real-world capacity improvement each one can provide before it directs the AP to switch channels.
ChannelFly technology was originally developed for use in carrier Wi-Fi environments, where channels are highly congested. Even in these dense public settings, it delivers multi-fold improvements in AP and network capacity—within seconds, automatically.
In 2015, FCC authorized the use of the 3.5 GHz band (3550 MHz to 3700 MHz) for shared wireless access, opening up spectrum currently used by the US Navy and other DoD members.
The band utilizes standard LTE (in band 48) but it’s unique in how spectrum is allocated: Usage is individually requested and assigned on a case-by-case basis. When the use of the spectrum is no longer required, the specific channel is freed up and made available to other users.
To use CBRS spectrum, one must request and be assigned a band by a Spectrum Allocation Server (SAS). The SAS calculates RF density and channel availability using terrain, radio propagation and current usage data before approving the request and allocating the spectrum.
Shared spectrum with CBRS is a game changer in wireless connectivity in the US. It will enable simply better wireless experiences.
Who is this for? Basically everyone (in the US).
Mobile operators will leverage this band to augment their existing mobile coverage.
Cable operators will be able to utilize this spectrum in their new wireless offerings.
Organizations in the U.S. will, for the first time, be able to build their own LTE networks to address their most challenging business-critical use cases with CBRS.
Once CBRS supported mobile phones will be prevalent venues will be able to deploy neutral host networks. A single CBRS small cell will be able to provide cellular coverage to multiple operators. This could address in-building coverage issues with a very cost effective and straightforward solution.
With client load balancing, a WLAN distributes new connections across multiple APs in order to make the best use of the network and radio spectrum.
When too many clients connect to a single AP, there’s less capacity available for each device, and poorer performance. But in many environments, a client can connect to any of several APs. Ruckus APs and ZoneDirector software track every client in the environment and distribute connections more evenly, while making sure that each device has a strong signal. So your WLANs make better use of their capacity, and users get better throughput and quality.
Client roaming allows wireless devices to switch from one AP to another more quickly and intelligently as they move through a space. This is especially important for latency- and quality-of-service (QoS)-sensitive applications like voice and video, where sticking too long with an AP as you move away from it will degrade performance.
If you’re using a mobile device, you’re likely to be, well, mobile. Which means your experience will suffer if your device doesn’t know when to switch from the AP you connected with when you walked in the door to the one across the convention hall where you are now. Unfortunately, many devices get “stuck” to their previous AP for too long. This is especially problematic for voice and video applications, and a major source of frustration in high-density environments.
With Ruckus SmartRoam+ technology, you can force clients to switch to a new AP when their signal gets too weak. Your users get better roaming. And, even more important in dense public venues, you won’t waste network capacity communicating with too many devices over slower, weaker connections.
Dynamic Pre-Shared Key (DPSK) is a Ruckus-patented technology that delivers secure network access by providing each device and user with a unique login credential. Users access the wireless network using their own personal key, which is provided as part of the network onboarding process. In contrast, with conventional pre-shared keys (PSKs), multiple, or even all, users share the same key.
Traditional pre-shared keys create a security hole in network defenses because multiple users access the network with the same key. Conventional PSKs do not give IT teams visibility and control over devices on the network or the ability to map access policies to specific users and devices. Users readily share conventional PSKs with others, and IT cannot revoke them for one user without revoking access for all. DPSKs address the security flaws of conventional PSKs to make users, devices, data and the network more secure.
DPSKs are an alternative to digital certificates that provide similar security benefits. They are appropriate in cases where user experience considerations make it impractical to install a digital certificate on the device. This applies in cases where the user will only need network access for a limited time—for example, in the case of guest users.
Footfall analytics is a way to use the wireless network in a public venue (especially a retail store) to gain deep insight into how customers behave in a physical space.
While online is a big part of modern retail business, physical stores still play a huge role in the shopping experience. Now, retailers around the world are using location analytics to bring the same kind of personalized, highly targeted shopping intelligence you see online to their brick-and-mortar stores. Location analytics solutions like Ruckus Smart Positioning Technology (SPoT) can show retailers exactly how customers are using a space. They can see in-store traffic patterns, identify the best locations for products down to the shelf level, optimize store layouts to increase sales and time spent in the venue, and much more.
Hotspot 2.0 makes Wi-Fi roaming as seamless as cell phone roaming. Just as your cell phone automatically finds a roaming partner network and securely connects no matter where you travel, users can get the same experience over Wi-Fi.
Most wireless users prefer to connect to Wi-Fi whenever they can, either to avoid cellular data overages, or because they’re using a Wi-Fi-only device. But they have to work for it—finding and selecting the right network, entering a password, logging on through a portal. With Hotspot 2.0 and the 802.11u standard, all that goes away. Here’s how it works:
Wireless providers—cable or mobile providers, enterprises, and others—join roaming partnerships with other providers. Users’ devices are loaded with the right credentials and security certificates. Then, anytime a user is away from her home network provider, her device automatically checks for Hotspot 2.0-capable APs with participating roaming partners. If one is available, she can connect automatically, without doing a thing.
The Internet of things (IoT) refer to common physical devices – such as an electric bulb, lock, washing machine or even an automobile augmented with software and internet connectivity.
The direct benefit is the ability to monitor and control these IoT devices from anywhere in the world. IoT devices can collect data, which can be used to enhance user experiences, improve organizational efficiency or reduce organizational costs. IoT can also enable organizations to offer new services along with their existing products.
For instance, smart locks can enhance the security for a home owner or a guest at a hotel. Intelligent lighting controls can reduce energy usage. Additionally, connected trash cans can inform a waste management company when it is full and thus require a collection process.
An IoT access network connects both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi IoT endpoints over a converged, multi-standard, physical network.
An An IoT access network connects both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi IoT endpoints over a converged, multi-standards physical network. Such a network unifies and reuses the same device onboarding, security and management infrastructure of an existing wired and wireless network to reduce costs thus enabling organizations to more quickly realize benefits from IoT endpoints and services.
You’re not crazy if you think that wireless networks should be… wireless. But in traditional WLANs, you still have to run cables to each AP. In mesh networks, individual APs connect with each other wirelessly.
Who wouldn’t want to eliminate the need for expensive Ethernet cabling across their facilities? But making mesh networks work in enterprises is easier said than done. Traditionally, it’s required a lot of complex configuration, and it’s been hard to assure consistent, reliable connectivity.