Ruckus first to roll out enterprise 802.11ac Wave 2 AP

Ruckus became the first enterprise wireless equipment vendor to roll out an 802.11ac Wave 2 access point today, with the release of the ZoneFlex R710.

The R710 features the multi-user MIMO capability characteristic of Wave 2 devices, using what Ruckus calls Beamflex technology – built around antenna polarization – to focus signals directionally, making more efficient use of available bandwidth. The company says the R710 can handle 800Mbps of throughput via the older 2.4GHz frequencies, and 1733Mbps via 5GHz.

Analyst and Network World contributor Zeus Kerravala said that the R710 is, in a very real sense, far ahead of its time.

"There aren't any wave 2 [client] devices expected for at least 18 months," he said. "So they are way early."

One early customer is the city of San Jose, which is using the R710 to replace legacy devices and, in part, an older wired network in City Hall. The city’s CIO, Vijay Sammeta, said that San Jose went for the wireless option in part for its simplicity.

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There are 23 wiring closets in city hall, each one with seven to 10 network switches in a stacked configuration. “That’s quite a number of ports,” he said.

“So recreating that madness … while we could muster the effort to do it, are we really meeting our ultimate goal of employee productivity? Our assertion is that we’re really not,” Sammeta said. “So the idea of deploying the wireless network throughout this facility and reducing the number of wired ports we use, both at this facility and at other ones, made perfect sense to us.”

The hefty throughput capabilities of the R710 helped push it past the competition after the city issued an RFP, he added. With a workforce that’s growing increasingly mobile, the idea of keeping workers tied to their desks wasn’t one they wanted to consider.

“It just made a lot more sense for us to deploy access points and future-proof ourselves with Wave 2, as those devices come out over the next year or two, that we lay that foundation now and buy fewer and fewer wired switches,” Sammeta said.

The ZoneFlex R710 will be available this quarter, at a price of $1,300.

This story, "Ruckus first to roll out enterprise 802.11ac Wave 2 AP" was originally published by Network World.

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