Ruckus unveils LTE-ready, 802.11ax access point

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Ruckus Wireless says its new R730 access point is especially well suited for high-density environments like stadiums and auditoriums. (Pixabay)

The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) 3.5 GHz band is coming to the U.S., and Ruckus Wireless will be ready for it, including with support through its new R730, which it describes as the industry’s first IoT- and LTE-ready 802.11ax access point (AP).

802.11ax is the latest and greatest version of Wi-Fi to come along since 802.11ac, and the R730 not only complies with the 802.11ax standard but also the new WPA3 security protocol and Wi-Fi Enhanced Open for more secure connections on public networks. It works at 2.4 and 5 GHz and accommodates modular Ruckus OpenG LTE APs operating in the U.S. 3.5 CBRS band.

“Overall, the way we see the AP road map is Wi-Fi is great. Wi-Fi continues to get better, with ax specifically, but also, there needs to be things that bring us beyond Wi-Fi,” Dennis Huang, director of product marketing at Ruckus, told FierceWirelessTech.

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The R730 includes embedded Zigbee and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radios and can be augmented with Ruckus IoT modules to support additional physical layer protocols such as LoRa. The CBRS support initially will be in the form of modules.

Ruckus, now an Arris company, has been highly engaged in the CBRS community since efforts got underway to create the unique three-tiered structure for the band in the U.S. The spectrum will be shared among three different categories, which will open a whole new set of potential customers for AP vendors.

Ruckus’ R730 is geared toward stadiums, auditoriums, convention centers and the like, as opposed to just a 20-seat classroom, for example. The company says its Ultra-High Density Technology goes beyond the 802.11ax standard to ensure high quality of service in those extremely dense environments.

The R730 promises to deliver peak data rates of up to 4.8 Gbps through multiple enhancements, including boosting spectral efficiency with OFDMA and reducing sub-carrier spacing.

Although the rules are still not finalized, the CBRS structure was originally designed to enable non-traditional entities to build their own LTE networks as opposed to relying on wireless carriers. Ruckus’ R730 will be CBRS-ready once it’s certified and the band is ready for business.

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The R730 will be Ruckus’ flagship access point when it’s available later this quarter. Plans call for distributing price information to partners in August and making it generally available in early September, Huang said.