Press Release

Ruckus Wireless Adds "Dual Zone" Wi-Fi Capabilities to Popular MetroFlex Broadband Access Gateway

Two-Products-In-One, Same Device Gives Users Wireless Broadband Connectivity to Outdoor Wi-Fi Networks and Indoor Wi-Fi Connectivity to Home PCs

SUNNYVALE, CA, January 29, 2007 – Ruckus Wireless today announced a new line of purpose-built metro Wi-Fi devices for service providers, MetroFlex DZ. MetroFlex DZ is a single device that gives subscribers wireless connectivity to outdoor broadband metro networks while simultaneously providing indoor Wi-Fi connectivity to home PCs and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

Ruckus Wireless is currently the exclusive or preferred supplier of customer premise metro equipment for a number of municipal Wi-Fi networks across the country, including: Minneapolis (see related release), Mountain View, CA; Portland, OR; Toronto, Waterloo, Ontario; Vail, CO and St. Louis Park.

Until recently, end users were forced to deploy multiple devices in the home - one to receive Wi-Fi signals from the outdoor nodes and another to provide Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the home. MetroFlex DZ is designed as both an extended range Wi-Fi access point as well as long-range indoor Wi-Fi receiver that works with any standard 802.11 metro network.

Unlike any other product on the market, MetroFlex DZ is specially equipped with patent-pending smart antenna technology that dynamically selects the best sending and receiving antennas for incoming and outgoing Wi-Fi signals. Expert control software integrated into the device picks the best antennas from the available array, thereby avoiding sources of interference and eliminating the need for any sort of manual configuration or tuning by end users.

“Dual-zone support is critical when deploying metro networks on such a large scale,” said Travis Carter, VP of technology for US Internet. US Internet was recently awarded the contract to build a citywide Wi-Fi network throughout Minneapolis. “End users want less devices in their home, not more, and those devices must be low cost, high value and simple to use. We’ve found the Ruckus MetroFlex line perfectly priced and suited to meet these exact criteria.”

“Ruckus continues to be an innovator in the growing metro Wi-Fi market, and we are proud to have them as a MetroMesh Solution Partner,” said Ron Sege, president and CEO of Tropos Networks. “Their BeamFlex technology provides superior connectivity into and throughout the home and leverages the Tropos TMCX specification to provide great performance when connecting to a citywide Wi-Fi mesh.”

“The MetroFlex DZ provides a valuable extension to any citywide Wi-Fi network,” said Brian Jenkins, vice president of product management at SkyPilot Networks. “When connected with a scalable outdoor Wi-Fi mesh solution, the MetroFlex DZ helps extend the outdoor Wi-Fi coverage into the home. This enables service providers to effectively service Wi-Fi subscribers on both a residential and citywide basis.”

Practical Challenges to Extend Metro Wi-Fi Networks Indoors

Broadband providers are facing some practical challenges deploying citywide Wi-Fi networks. Walls, rooftops and other obstacles often inhibit signal penetration, thus restricting indoor users from gaining reliable access to metro Wi-Fi networks and services.

Today’s laptops and generic Wi-Fi access points typically don’t have the transmission power or integrated intelligence to pass signals through multiple walls or around physical obstacles, or avoid interference from common household devices such as microwave ovens and cordless phones.

To solve these problems, many operators have focused on blanketing cities with Wi-Fi mesh nodes that typically reside outside on light poles. However, this is only half the solution. “You can have the best Wi-Fi mesh node technology on every light pole in the city but if users can’t connect, who cares?” said Carter. Consequently, wireless broadband operators are now focusing efforts on building municipal Wi-Fi networks from the customer’s premise as the starting point.

Advances in Wi-Fi antennas and quality of service technology have enabled a new generation of in-home customer premise equipment to solve these problems – making reliable wireless broadband connectivity possible for consumers wherever they are.

Product Details

Designed and built for broadband operators deploying large, metro-scale Wi-Fi networks, MetroFlex DZ product offers a variety of provider-specific features, including:

  • Management IP access that allows the provider to restrict and control remote access to subscriber units
  • Single radio solution for optimum cost to consumer
  • Multiple, discrete SSIDs between the WAN and LAN
  • Separate security configurations between the WAN and LAN for secure access
  • Captive portal functionality to redirect users when no Internet connectivity is available
  • NUTTCP support to allow providers to conduct performance testing directly from the metro node to the MetroFlex DZ

A high-powered transmitter and dual-polarized antennas on the Ruckus MetroFlex DZ deliver wide coverage and strong resilience to interference. The Ruckus MetroFlex DZ is credited with being the industry’s most sensitive Wi-Fi receiver with the ability to receive faint or weak Wi-Fi signals down to -99dBm.