Ruckus Wireless announced a new line of carrier-grade products designed for mobile and broadband operators looking to offload heavy data traffic onto WiFi.
The new Ruckus Mobile Internet products are designed for wireless operator infrastructures, the company said, and include an outdoor mesh access point, a point-to-multipoint wireless backhaul bridge, a new indoor/outdoor customer premise equipment and system-wide remote WiFi management designed to manage tens of thousands of network elements and several thousand WiFi clients.
"There's been a transition for operators when it comes to thinking about WiFi," Steven Glapa, director of carrier business development with Ruckus, told FierceBroadbandWireless. "A few years ago operators were looking at WiFi as a Band-aid for 3G traffic. Now there is discussion around its strategic long-term play."
Indeed, Ruckus has been pushing the concept for more than a year now, and it has customers under its belt in the arena. WiMAX operator Towerstream selected the ZoneFlex 7762-S Smart Sector AP as part of an R&D initiative to look at the explosive growth of data traffic on 3G mobile networks. It appears Towerstream is embarking on a wholesale WiFi model, leveraging its thousands of office building sites in New York to deploy WiFi sites and offload traffic for mobile operators.
According to David Callisch, vice president of marketing with Ruckus, Towerstream conducted an experiment by adding public SSIDs with names people recognized and allowed them to automatically authenticate onto the networks. As a result users consumed about 30 terrabytes per day. Towerstream is recorded 250,000 connections per day without any prompting and about 21 million in the second quarter alone, Callisch said.
"With mobile data growing at 150 percent per year, operators face the chilling prospect of doubling the capacity of network equipment every 18 months," Jeff Thompson, president and CEO of Towerstream said in a press release. "Smarter Wi-Fi infrastructure delivers capacity much faster at pennies of what telcos are used to paying. Recent technical advances in Wi-Fi technology, like those pioneered by Ruckus, are proving that offloading data traffic from 3G devices is the most expedient and cost effective approach an operator can take in the near term.
Chilean broadband operator STEL has also made a deal with Ruckus for the company's Smart WiFi equipment and has deployed the network in Maipu, a community with more than 650,000. Tikona Digital Networks in India has also deployed Ruckus' Smart WiFi system, installing more than 30,000 ZoneFlex mesh nodes.
- see this release
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