The Cloud, Now Part of BSkyB, Standardizes on New Wi-Fi Gear from Ruckus Wireless for Large-Scale Hotspot Expansion
Thousands of Dual-Band 802.11n Wi-Fi Access Points Being Deployed to Increase Wi-Fi Performance and Reliability for Subscribers and Support Mobile Data Services
BROADBAND WORLD FORUM, Paris, France – 26, September 2011 – Ruckus Wireless™ today announced that it has been selected by The Cloud, the UK’s largest public access Wi-Fi provider, to supply advanced indoor wireless products and technology to support the large-scale upgrade and expansion of its nationwide Wi-Fi service.
Combined with plans to significantly increase its Wi-Fi hotspot presence in the UK, The Cloud is retrofitting thousands of hotspot locations with ZoneFlex™ dual-band 802.11n access points throughout the UK in myriad retail locations such as Caffé Nero, PizzaExpress, Pret A Manger and many others, for high-speed public Wi-Fi access.
Recently acquired by BSkyB, The Cloud offers Wi-Fi coverage across 12 European countries, in over 8,500 locations with 22,000 access points deployed in venues such as airports, hotels, and railway stations.
Unprecedented Hotspot Growth Expected
The hotspot market continues to surge forward driven by the increased penetration of Wi-Fi-enabled smart mobile devices that are driving demand for higher speed wireless connectivity. According to anew report by In-Stat Research entitled “Wi-Fi Hotspots: the Mobile Operator’s 3G Offload Alternative,” worldwide hotspot venues are projected to increase to over 1.2 million venues in 2015 from under 421,000 in 2010. Usage will follow similar growth, increasing from four billion connects in 2010 to 120 billion connects by 2015.
Consequently, wireless operators are approaching the hotspot market with renewed energy for reasons that range from mobile data offloading to competitive positioning. With the current, renewed interested in establishing a wireless footprint, the market has again entered into an almost frenzied rush to secure venue contracts, particularly in high-density urban areas.
“Given the density of users, the increase in smart devices and the sophistication of high bandwidth applications, we’ve really focused our efforts on how to best improve the Wi-Fi experience for our customers,” said Sami Susiaho, Wi-Fi product manager for The Cloud. “Busy hotspots on the high street can sometimes prove challenging when deploying Wi-Fi services and the equipment used needs to be able to cope with those challenges. We see this as a real opportunity to offer higher speed Wi-Fi services to consumers, managed wireless services to business and mobile data offload to operators.”
Out with the Old, In with the New
The Cloud is offering Ruckus indoor ZoneFlex 7363 dual-band 802.11n access points (APs) to its commercial customers as an attractive way to incent them to offer public Wi-Fi services. With it, businesses can now attract new customers while focusing on their core competence - eliminating the need to manage network equipment and taking away the burden of having to provide audit trails on wireless usage.
The Cloud’s hotspot network upgrade replaces legacy 802.11g APs with patented Wi-Fi technology from Ruckus, developed to deliver higher speed, higher capacity, and reliable wireless connectivity within an affordable and small form factor.
The Wi-Fi upgrade now makes use of new 802.11n technology that has been combined with patented adaptive antenna technology that delivers stronger and longer-range signals that continuously adapt to changing environmental conditions. 802.11n technology operates at speeds of 300Mbps and higher.
Ruckus ZoneFlex APs are pre-provisioned and automatically “phone home” to self configure. In dense environments where retailers are in close proximity, wireless meshing simplifies deployment and reduces operating expenses - allowing The Cloud and its customers to save the cost of DSL lines for backhauling traffic. ZoneFlex APs are managed by ZoneDirector™ controllers within high-density environments, or by FlexMaster™, a remote Wi-Fi management service platform used to manage and monitor standalone APs.
A mass deployment tool for wireless deployments, FlexMaster is a centralized Wi-Fi service management platform that provides bulk configuration and statistics for tens of thousands of discrete APs or entire wireless LAN systems. FlexMaster effectively eliminates any equipment configuration by the retailer or technical support by The Cloud. Devices can simply be shipped to retail customers who need only to plug them into a power source.
From a technology perspective, The Cloud has had four necessities for its next-gen Wi-Fi infrastructure: 802.11n-capable indoor and outdoor devices; supporting clients on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands; resilient, self-optimizing and self-healing wireless mesh capabilities; and the ability to dynamically manage the RF environment.
About The Cloud
The Cloud builds and operates Wi-Fi networks across the UK and Europe to provide the mobile media experience that consumer’s want. The service delivers simple, fast, reliable and cost effective broadband to millions of Wi-Fi enabled laptop, netbook, smartphone and entertainment devices. The Cloud has exclusive commercial partnerships with retail, leisure, hotels, sports, transport, entertainment and content partners to deliver its longer-term vision of a connected society. The Cloud connects over 3 million devices each month to its Wi-Fi network. It also works with a growing number of brands such as Marriott, McDonalds, O2, Pret A Manger, Eat and the City of London Corporation to deliver fast Internet access to any Wi-Fi enabled device. The Cloud is a part of the BSkyB Group.