Ruckus Wireless Unveils New Triple Play-Ready Multimedia Wi-Fi System for Hotspot Market
MediaFlex Hotspot System Takes on New Challenges Facing Operators, Delivering Extended Wi-Fi Range, Capacity, Density and Multimedia Support at an Affordable Price
SUNNYVALE, CA, February 26, 2007 – Ruckus Wireless today unveiled the Ruckus MediaFlex Hotspot (HS), the first industrial-strength, Smart Wi-Fi access point specifically developed for broadband operators who are dealing with dramatic increases in the density and mix of users, devices and applications at public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Unlike conventional Wi-Fi products, the Ruckus MediaFlex was designed to increase the reliability and robustness of public Wi-Fi environments while providing essential features that open the door for operators to use the network as a revenue-generating tool.
The Ruckus MediaFlex HS is a multimedia Wi-Fi system offering a unique collection of features and capabilities not available with low-cost consumer-grade Wi-Fi access points or expensive enterprise systems. Among these new capabilities are a custom antenna array optimized for dynamic and dense Wi-Fi environments, advanced quality of service features that allow multiple virtual networks and different traffic types to be reliably streamed over the same system and sophisticated remote spectrum management that gives operators unprecedented visibility into hotspot RF environments.
Triple play-ready, the Ruckus MediaFlex delivers breakthrough range, capacity and user density, making it possible for operators to now offer a sophisticated suite of new Wi-Fi services such as voice over Wi-Fi, fixed mobile convergence (FMC), IP-based video, tiered Wi-Fi services and extended enterprise access.
Compared to conventional Wi-Fi APs, the Ruckus MediaFlex HS doubles Wi-Fi signal range, supports up to 20 concurrent voice over Wi-Fi calls and delivers 20 Mbps of consistent throughput for IP video streams. It also offers a two- to four-fold increase in coverage, thereby reducing the number of APs needed for a particular area.
PCCW, the principal telecommunications company in Hong Kong and ThaiFi, a leading networking company in Thailand, are among the first to standardize on the new MediaFlex HS system. PCCW is installing the MediaFlex HS in thousands of hotspots in and around Hong Kong. And ThaiFi has installed the system throughout several four-star hotels in Bangkok including the Sukhothai, the Siri Sathorn and the Fraser Suites Urbana Sathorn (see related release).
“Hotspot wireless access used to be about checking email in a Starbucks. Now, triple play is moving out of the home and into hotspots and other public spaces where people expect decent Wi-Fi connections,” said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. “But today’s Wi-Fi products and technology just don’t cut it for new applications such as voice-over-Wi-Fi that require high-density voice support or emerging IP-based multimedia streaming. We’re changing all that as we already did in the IPTV home market.”
Broadband operators face increasing pressure to find viable revenue-generating business models and the technology to enable them.
Until now, they have been forced to choose between cheap, consumer-grade Wi-Fi access points and expensive, enterprise-class APs. The consumer-grade Wi-Fi solutions don’t provide the rich feature set, adequate range, quality of service and multimedia support needed, and the enterprise systems have too many irrelevant features, are difficult to install and cumbersome to manage.
“There was this tremendous void between the high and low end of the Wi-Fi market,” said Carl Rubin, co-founder and business director of ThaiFi, a leading networking company in Thailand. “When we looked at using Wi-Fi to support a variety of user services in our hotels, we needed something feature-rich but affordable, purpose-built for hotspots and easy to use and deploy. We finally found it.”
Rubin continued: “We wanted to deploy as few APs as we could but still provide adequate coverage and capacity for users within our hotels. But perhaps more important, we needed the Wi-Fi system to give us visibility into the RF environment so we didn’t have to constantly send technicians to fix problems. Meanwhile, this same system needed to support future services such as voice and IP-based video. The MediaFlex HS delivered all this feature/functionality at an astounding price/performance ratio.”
Given its ubiquity and ease of use, operators see Wi-Fi as the perfect “utility” for new service offerings, but also require increased reliability of the medium. Furthermore, they are looking for ways to use Wi-Fi to define and enforce service classes for different types of users and multimedia support to address emerging applications. Conventional Wi-Fi technology wasn’t designed for these applications.
Meanwhile the market for voice over Wi-Fi using emerging dual-mode (cellular/Wi-Fi) phones is set to explode. Applications such as fixed mobile convergence (FMC), along with the ability to support new multimedia services over Wi-Fi, are becoming essential to both consumers and carriers.
Ruckus Wireless has been credited with helping to solve these problems by innovating state-of-the-art advances in smart antenna arrays, quality of service software and remote management technology that deliver the next generation of 802.11 capable of turning Wi-Fi into a useful and reliable utility for all multimedia traffic.
“Believe it or not, Wi-Fi is just getting started. And MediaFlex HS is yet another part of our over-arching strategy to make it as predictable and reliable to deliver a new generation of voice, video and data services to consumers wherever they are – at home or in hotspots,” concluded Lo.
Product Details, Pricing and Availability
The Ruckus MediaFlex HS is based on a special BeamFlex smart antenna array for hotspots that supports delay-sensitive voice over Wi-Fi traffic, a high density of users, extended coverage and adaptive Wi-Fi controls.
BeamFlex is a patent-pending smart antenna array system used to determine the best path for Wi-Fi signals in real time, automatically steering them around interference as it occurs. With the MediaFlex HS, operators can realize. In addition, BeamFlex allows for more flexible placement options overcoming potential interferences and obstacles.
Ceiling- or wall-mounted, the Ruckus MediaFlex HS supports up to four BSSIDs, allowing operators to create virtual networks for different services or traffic types. For each BSSID, an operator can assign unique broadcast, QoS settings, security parameters and management policies.
Advanced technology such as continuous channel selection (CCS) and remote spectrum monitoring help ensure maximum resilience within ever-changing Wi-Fi environments. Based on utilization and performance, CCS automatically ensures that the best Wi-Fi channel is used to minimize problems so users remain satisfied. And remote spectrum management gives operators a detailed view into the RF environment in order to troubleshoot problems and optimize service quality.
Completely secure, the MediaFlex HS supports the latest link layer encryption including WEP, WPA and WPA-PSK as well as 802.1X authentication.
Available immediately, the MediaFlex HS is list priced at US $199.00.