Plug-n-Play SmartMesh Technology Changes the Economics of Extended WLAN Deployments by Eliminating New Cabling and RF Planning Costs

SUNNYVALE, CA, April 21, 2008 – Ruckus Wireless today introduced the first Smart Wi-Fi meshing technology, called SmartMesh, which enables enterprises to deploy extensive wireless LANs (WLANs) in half the time at half the cost, and get three times the performance of typical WLANs.

In addition the company said that Lodgian, Inc. (Amex: LGN), one of the largest independent owners and operators of full-service hotels in the United States, is among the first companies to deploy the Ruckus SmartMesh and 802.11n solutions.

SmartMesh extends patented Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology to enable a new class of simple yet robust WLANs that self-organize, self-optimize, and self-heal, eliminating costly, inconvenient cabling to every Wi-Fi access point (AP) and complex, labor-intensive RF planning. Combined with the award-winning Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11n access point, a SmartMesh WLAN offers unprecedented performance, coverage and capacity scaling, paving the way to ubiquitous mobility for the enterprise.

In addition to SmartMesh, Ruckus Wireless also introduced:

  • ZoneDirector 3000, a line of scalable, easy-to-use enterprise WLAN controllers for Ruckus ZoneFlex APs
  • Ruckus FlexMaster remote Wi-Fi management system for centralized management of ZoneFlex APs and/or WLANs over a wide area IP network.

Ruckus will show the first public demonstration of its ground-breaking 802.11n SmartMesh technology with the ZoneFlex Smart Wireless LAN system at INTEROP Las Vegas, April 28-May 1. To schedule a private demo go to

“Ruckus SmartMesh and 802.11n change the game for enterprises deploying or extending wireless LANs,” said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. “With Ruckus SmartMesh, enterprises have a compelling new economic and deployment model for building enterprise-wide wireless LANs that are reliable enough to replace the wired LANs. This new model drastically reduces operating costs and eliminates the ‘black magic’ associated with planning, deploying and scaling extensive Wi-Fi networks.” Lo identified three missing ingredients that have stymied the deployment of wireless meshing within the enterprise: 1) scalable capability, 2) easy deployment and 3) low maintenance. Similar to the introduction and evolution of Gigabit Ethernet, an 802.11n SmartMesh lets enterprises realize immediate value for 802.11n within their network – even before 802.11n clients become pervasive.

“802.11n is ready and perfect today as a high-speed wireless backbone to aggregate lower-speed Wi-Fi clients,” Lo noted. “We’ve gone a step further to remove the complexity in deploying and operating wireless meshing. The same Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology in the Ruckus AP that selects best signal paths has now been extended to SmartMesh to provide automatic network-wide optimum path selection and interference mitigation,” Lo concluded.

Ruckus SmartMesh technology is ideal for enterprises, hotels, schools, hospitals, warehouses, multi-dwelling units, and other environments where Ethernet cabling may not be ubiquitous.

Lodgian, Inc. is retrofitting its hotels with the Ruckus SmartMesh solution to provide ubiquitous Wi-Fi through its properties. Within the 180-room Buckhead Courtyard Marriott hotel, Lodgian has deployed the Ruckus SmartMesh to provide high-performance Wi-Fi connectivity to every inch of the property.

“Our hotels are very large properties where pulling cabling everywhere just isn’t physically or economically feasible,” said James MacLennan, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Lodgian. “The Smart Wi-Fi system from Ruckus Wireless eliminates much of the labor and capital costs associated with deploying a conventional Wi-Fi network and service while delivering a much better user experience that exceeds their expectations.”

Fast Meshing That Minds Itself

Ruckus SmartMesh is based on intelligent beam steering technology pioneered by Ruckus Wireless called Smart Wi-Fi.

Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi controls the form and direction of Wi-Fi signals, adapting them in real-time to the changing RF environment due to interference, distance and physical obstructions. This enables a wireless LAN with unprecedented reliability, extended coverage and consistent performance.

Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology is essential to creating and maintaining a high performance mesh. Extended signal range minimizes the number of mesh nodes needed for a given coverage area. This in turn reduces the associated “hop” delay that can reduce client throughput by 50 percent or more per hop. Additionally, automatic interference avoidance and optimum path selection enables the SmartMesh to deliver consistently high performance. A Ruckus 802.11n SmartMesh AP is capable of delivering higher throughput than a standard 802.11g wired AP even across two mesh hops.

The use of Smart Wi-Fi antennas also minimizes neighbor node interference within the mesh – unlike omni-directional antennas that radiate signals in all directions all the time, Smart Wi-Fi signals are directed specifically to the receiver only for the duration of a transmission.

SmartMesh Transforms the Model for WLAN Deployment and Operation

A software upgrade for the Ruckus ZoneDirector family of WLAN controllers, Ruckus SmartMesh simplifies the deployment of wireless LANs by eliminating the requirement to run Ethernet cables to every Wi-Fi access point.

Unlike any other wireless meshing alternative, Ruckus SmartMesh was designed for simplicity and performance. In a matter of minutes administrators can easily enable SmartMesh through a point-and-click graphical user interface (GUI) on the Ruckus ZoneDirector. APs are automatically configured and managed by the ZoneDirector. Network provisioning, optimization and RF tuning are also automatic. Administrators can place SmartMesh access points where needed and walk away.

Unlike other wireless mesh approaches, Ruckus SmartMesh creates the optimum network topology by continually determining the best path to clients as well as among mesh backhaul nodes. Self-healing around RF problems and auto-recovery in the event of an AP failure ensure high availability of the SmartMesh. A graphical map provides a complete view of the mesh topology at any given moment.

Truth in Numbers

Today, the cost of a typical 500-user WLAN using the industry’s most popular enterprise 802.11g WLAN systems is approximately $35,000. This includes 25 access points each costing $700, a single WLAN controller priced at $15,000 and 25 Ethernet drops (labor included) costing $150 each.

In contrast, an equivalent Ruckus SmartMesh solution with faster 802.11n technology is under $15,000 and can be installed in half the time without the need for extensive wiring and site planning. Due to its extended range and performance, the Ruckus SmartMesh solution requires only 15 access points, each costing $699, five Ethernet drops at $150/piece and a Smart WLAN controller for $3,500.

Scalable WLANs Are Now Easy with the ZoneDirector 3000 and the FlexMaster

Along with SmartMesh, Ruckus Wireless is introducing a new line of scalable enterprise-class Smart WLAN controllers, the ZoneDirector 3000. Supporting up to 250 ZoneFlex access points, the ZoneDirector 3000 is a robust Smart WLAN controller for large enterprise environments.

In addition, all ZoneDirectors and/or ZoneFlex APs are now manageable through the Ruckus FlexMaster Wi-Fi management system. Now enterprises can securely manage remote smart WLANs and APs in regional or branch offices from a single point over the Internet or private IP networks.

Pricing and Availability

SmartMesh is available immediately as a free software upgrade (ZoneDirector 6.0 software) to premium support customers with Ruckus ZoneDirector Smart WLAN controllers. SmartMesh can be used with the entire family of Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11g/n Smart Wi-Fi access points.

Available in July, the ZoneDirector 3000 starts at US $6,000 for 25 APs.

The FlexMaster management system is available now for ZoneFlex APs starting at US$5,000 for 100 APs. FlexMaster managing ZoneDirectors will be available in July.

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