Net-Ctrl Blog

Ruckus BeamFlex Explained

September 18th, 2014

Unsure on the differences between ‘Transmit Beamforming’ and Ruckus’ patented ‘BeamFlex’ technology?

Watch this short video from Ruckus that will briefly explain how and why the Ruckus BeamFlex technology works and how it improves range, reliability and performance of WiFi networks and services.

Back to School Wireless Promotion

September 16th, 2014
Faster, more dependable Wi-Fi connectivity that’s affordable is fundamental for schools, colleges, academies and universities.

Wireless in education has a demanding list of requirements. It must cover large school grounds, yet reach every corner of a classroom. It must support multimedia applications while providing secure connectivity for staff, students, and guests.

Limited budgets and IT staff add further strain to the equation. Ruckus smart Wi-Fi could be just what you need.

Ruckus Wireless and Net-Ctrl are running a special promotion exclusively for education that will save your school money, whilst still providing you with an award winning enterprise grade wireless solution.

We will work with you to build a solution that it purposefully designed for your site and your wireless ambitions.

We can combine any number of access points, including the 11ac R700 unit. This offer will expire on the 30th September.

If you’re unsure on the number of access points your site needs to achieve site wide smart WiFi and have some accurate site plans available, send them to sales@net-ctrl.com for a free predictive site survey. We will be able to provide you with predictive heat maps, AP counts, signal strength, signal coverage and more. Find out about our wireless site surveys.

 

Why You Should Choose Net-Ctrl

Net-Ctrl have installed Ruckus into over 400 education sites around the UK, many of which we provide an on-going wireless support service to. We have worked hard at achieving the top level partner status within Ruckus, which means we can offer you the best possible price, and you have the confidence in knowing that you’re buying from a fully trained and certified Ruckus Wireless partner

 

Ruckus Wireless Reaches New Heights with Wi-Fi Tech

September 11th, 2014

This is an edited article taken from Nasdaq – click for original article.

Wi-Fi is a great thing as long as you have immediate and easy access to the signal and don’t find yourself chasing it around the room just to stay connected.

The problem is many Wi-Fi signals are weak. They can get blocked or redirected, or they lack the capacity to support multiple devices.

Ruckus’ technology addresses Wi-Fi capacity and coverage problems caused by the ever-increasing amount of traffic and noise or interference on wireless networks, mainly due to a rise in the use of smartphones and tablets.

Smartphone Connection

Its gear is in high demand amid a corresponding boom in demand for more and better Wi-Fi technology.

“Because of the smartphone phenomenon, data capacity keeps expanding, and Wi-Fi has become the de facto way users want to connect,” said David Callisch, Ruckus’ vice president of corporate marketing. “Our innovations transform Wi-Fi into more of a wire like experience in terms of reliability.”

It does so by providing a stronger, more direct signal for users, Callisch told IBD. That’s important because so many different factors can disrupt a signal.

“If you are in a warehouse, for example, every time something changes or moves, the Wi-Fi environment changes,” Callisch said. “If you have 50 different access points, you can’t go changing all the antennas at once.”

Ruckus‘ technology creates a “dynamic” antenna that moves the Wi-Fi signal around the same way a lighthouse moves its beam, he says. “Because it is focused, the signal is inherently stronger, so users get higher data rates.”

Many of Ruckus’ customers are small and midsize enterprises that want to deliver better Wi-Fi services to staff and customers.

“Their antenna technology is far superior because it works in high-density environments like hotels and factories. Factories have a lot of cement, and hotels have a lot of walls, and you need a strong signal for Wi-Fi to work effectively,” said Catharine Trebnick, analyst at Dougherty, an investment bank and brokerage firm.

Ruckus’ customers also include service providers, such as telecoms and cable companies, that want to gain more business by providing better Wi-Fi services to customers.

“Cable operators are using our Wi-Fi technology to enable them to reduce churn with subscribers,” Seamus Hennessy, Ruckus’ chief financial officer, told IBD. “Ruckus is benefiting because our core technology lets the network operate almost like a utility.”

Apple Watch, Google Fiber

Ruckus is expected to land more business as new products such as smartwatches grow in popularity.

“Apple ( AAPL ) and Samsung have launched mobile watches, and that’s going to require even more Wi-Fi,” analyst Trebnick told IBD. “Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous, so that’s the driver that’s not going to ever go away.”

She says Ruckus also stands to benefit from Google ‘s (GOOGL) fiber-optics network, which got started around Kansas City, Kan., and has expanded into Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas. Google is expected to roll out the Google Fiber fast-broadband service into more than 30 U.S. cities as well as other countries.

Among the customers that Google wants to target with the network are small to midsize businesses, Trebnick says.

“It hasn’t been confirmed, but everybody believes Ruckus will be one of the primary suppliers of Wi-Fi when Google does this,” she said.

Ruckus executives wouldn’t comment on the Google Fiber rumours.

For now, the company has plenty of business to keep it occupied. Ruckus was founded in 2004 and had its initial public offering in November 2012. It has been profitable since 2009 and expects to keep growing those profits in coming quarters and years.

“We’ve made significant investments in R&D over last few years, and we’re now at a position where revenue is growing faster than R&D spending,” Hennessy said. “We have also achieved operating efficiencies that led to higher gross margins.”

“We are in a significant growth cycle for Wi-Fi over the next couple of years because of the proliferation of devices,” Hennessy said. “We feel we are in a good position to take advantage of that because of our technology.”

 

Two Men, a Two Kilometre P2P Link and Some Ruckus Wireless Access Points

September 11th, 2014
Some of the Net-Ctrl team take wireless outdoors with the Ruckus Wireless 7731 Point-to-Point ZoneFlex access points to achieve a two kilometre connection over some tricky terrain.

Last week one of our senior wireless engineers and an account manager visited a customer site to test a planned point-to-point (PTP) link. They were using the Ruckus Wireless 7731 access points for a two kilometre link. The 7731 outdoor access point utilises a patented dual-polarised directional smart antenna system that is capable of supporting a maximum fifteen kilometre link. In theory, the posed two kilometre link shouldn’t be a problem.

Before visiting the site our engineer had performed some predictive tests, which all came back suggesting a good link was achievable over the area in question. All good so far. However, as everyone in wireless knows, wireless and RF is an unpredictable beast, which is why performing live tests and surveys for any proposed wireless project is a MUST.

outdoor-survey-image-1

Outdoor P2P Mast

Our team turned up with two of the 7731 access points and two seventeen metre telescopic masts in order to achieve the required height. These particular masts are a valuable bit of kit in the wireless engineer tool box, especially as they compact down to less than two metres.

outdoor-survey-image-2

Ruckus 7731 on our Mast

Each mast was placed at ground level, where the final access point would be installed. Due to a few limitation and aesthetic requirements our team was very limited to the locations where we could mount the Non-Root node on the building. This would limit the chances for a successful connection if the only available location failed due to obstructions further down the link.

Despite our teams best efforts the link did not work due to a plot of very high trees intruding too much on the Fresnel Zone. To try and combat this, we tried the 10 degree beam width antennas in an attempt to reduce the Fresnel Zone created by the link, unfortunately it still failed.

This is a great example of the importance of performing on-site PTP link tests. The planning tools suggested it should work and to the eye it looked good, but with wireless you never know until you test and test again.

The good news is we are working closely with the customer and their restraints on a way around the obstruction.

The next action is to “dog leg” the link by finding a common vantage point for both ends to achieve a clear line of site.

Watch this space.

Palo Alto Networks Provides a New Breed of Intelligence to Detect and Prevent

August 8th, 2014
Taken from the Palo Alto Networks Blog.

Back in June, Microsoft patched 59 Internet Explorer vulnerabilities and Palo Alto Networks (PAN) discovered 21 of them, all rated critical. Then in July, we released findings about evolved Nigerian 419 scammers from Unit 42, the new Palo Alto Networks threat intelligence team.

The way we perform cybersecurity research is opening the door to a new breed of intelligence that I predict will reshape how organizations gather and share cyber intelligence while converting it to actionable indicators.

The reason is evasive applications.
I won’t go into exact numbers, but we have teams dedicated to knowing everything there is to know about enterprise applications and how attackers use them. You’ve seen that every year in PANs annual Application Usage and Threat Report and it’s something we stress in all of our research efforts. In addition, we’ve invested serious resources to create a scalable cloud infrastructure for our security researchers so they can immediately convert results from their research into actionable indicators for our customers.

What you’re going to see next is how this more comprehensive and coordinated approach creates a new breed of cybersecurity intelligence – one we can share with Palo Alto Networks customers and partners to make better-informed decisions about advanced cyber threats and how to prevent them.

When you have a chance, take a look at Applipedia, which was the industry’s first application-specific database used for actionable security intelligence. We add additional applications weekly, and continuously update evasive applications as they change. If you’re a current Palo Alto Networks customer, maybe you’ve been one of our (frequent) requests to perform one-off analysis on specific applications. It’s a service that continues to become powerful and valuable when security administrators need to control specific applications their businesses want to utilize. I can see CIOs and CISOs taking advantage of this type of service so they can remain relevant to business lines and reduce risk while embracing new applications.

Take the evasive application advantage away from attackers.
Evasive applications provide a significant advantage to attackers. To take back that advantage, companies need to control applications on their enterprise and distinguish the normal applications from the bad. All the security research performed by our experts is actionable intelligence converted back into our product for all customers so they can control applications out-of-the-box. This is in addition to continuous AntiVirus, WildFire, DNS, URLs, IPS and C2 updates across all network traffic…and yes, we do that stuff out-of-the-same-box as well.

Take some time to learn more about our new breed of intelligence by browsing the Unit 42 home page and quickly reading Palo Alto Networks new Consortium page to see their commitment to intelligence sharing.

Read the original piece from Palo Alto Networks.

Net-Ctrl is a UK based reseller of Palo Alto Networks solutions, we are also able to support your deployment with our in-house technical team.

If you would like to discuss the PAN solution range call our team on 01473 281 211, or email sales@net-ctrl.com.

Ruckus 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi Becomes Back to School Standard for Educational Institutions

August 7th, 2014
Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi Selected by Dozens of Schools and School Districts to Satisfy the Growing Need for Higher Capacity, Faster, and Smarter Wi-Fi Connectivity

SUNNYVALE, CA — August 4, 2014 — Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) announced today that its new 802.11ac products and technology have been selected by a number of schools, school districts and colleges and universities across the United States to tackle the growing demands for more reliable, faster and higher capacity Wi-Fi services needed to transform education in today’s classrooms.

“The traditional educational experience for students and teachers has gone digital and online,” said Will Kerr, technology director for the Reynoldsburg City School District, the latest school district to standardize on Ruckus 802.11ac products and technology. “Wi-Fi has become the primary means of connectivity, and it absolutely must operate as reliably as any utility. Conventional Wi-Fi technology was never really designed with this in mind.”

Located just east of Columbus, OH, the Reynoldsburg City School District has now replaced its legacy Aruba 802.11n Wi-Fi system with 405 new Ruckus ZoneFlex™ R700 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi access points. “Our existing Wi-Fi system was costly, difficult to manage and simply couldn’t keep up with the client capacities we needed to support for delivering a 21st Century education,” said Kerr. “This drove us to the R700.”

The ZoneFlex R700 is the first and only dual-band, three-stream indoor 802.11ac Wi-Fi access point (AP) for the new 802.11ac standard to integrate patented Ruckus BeamFlex+™ adaptive antenna array technology. BeamFlex+ helps to significantly extend the range and speed of indoor Wi-Fi networks, providing unmatched reliability and gigabit-class Wi-Fi performance.

Supporting more than 7,500 students and faculty across 14 schools within this 14 square mile school district, Reynoldsburg’s move to the 802.11ac standard was driven in large part by its one-to-one initiatives to provide Chromebooks to students and staff, as well as the explosive growth in the use of Wi-Fi for a variety of purposes, ranging from guest access to student information systems and back-end administrative applications.

According to Kerr, after evaluating competitive WLAN systems from suppliers including Aruba, Cisco Meraki and HP, Reynoldsburg standardized on the Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11ac R700 system. The new Ruckus 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi network replaces an existing Aruba WLAN infrastructure that was struggling to deliver the performance, capacity and stability essential for the District’s wireless requirements. Taking only three days to deploy, Ruckus ZoneFlex R700 APs have now been installed across District classrooms in 15 buildings housing pre-school (kindergarten), elementary, middle and high schools.

“After evaluating everything out there, Ruckus was the clear Wi-Fi choice as it was the only network infrastructure system that was ideally suited to address the unique requirements for Wi-Fi in education,” Kerr said.

The new Ruckus infrastructure also works seamlessly with the District’s iBoss network security system and Active Directory authentication domain to automate policy enforcement and content filtering based on user authentication. The entire Wi-Fi network for the District is centrally managed using Ruckus ZoneDirector™ 5000 controllers, located within Reynoldsburg’s network operations center (NOC).

“With Ruckus, we were able to install fewer but more industrial strength APs that could cover additional locations that I just couldn’t resolve with other suppliers. So, my original two-year deployment plan using a cloud-based Wi-Fi alternative that forced us into a subscription model could be reduced to a one-year plan, and at a substantially lower cost. This was a key deciding factor in selecting Ruckus over other cloud-based solutions we were considering,” Kerr concluded.

“We are seeing the migration to the new 802.11ac standard accelerating at a faster pace than the adoption of the 802.11n standard when it was first introduced,” said Wendy Cartee, vice president of Marketing for Ruckus Wireless. “Within our first quarter product shipments, our 802.11ac Wi-Fi systems have quickly eclipsed the run rate for three-stream 802.11n products.”

Read the full press release from Ruckus Wireless.

If you would like to discuss how Ruckus can help you achieve your wireless ambitions please call us on 01473 281 211, or email sales@net-ctrl.com.

 

GT Hill Running Educational Wireless Webinars

July 25th, 2014

GT Hill, the Director of Technical Marketing at Ruckus Wireless is running a series of free educational webinars about Wi-Fi that will go through the real facts and physics necessary to achieve better Wi-Fi.

If you haven’t heard of GT before it’s worth checking him out on YouTube, he is an extremely knowledgeable guy when it comes to Wi-Fi.

These educational webinars are designed to teach you, not sell you (too much), on the keys to creating a better Wi-Fi experience for your users. He’ll answer questions like:

• Why does signal really matter?
• How can you not only deal with Wi-Fi interference but fix it?
• Should you wait for 802.11ac Wave 2?
• Will MU-MIMO really give me 4x better performance?

Session 1 – Intro To Wi-Fi Basics and Radio Frequency
Wednesday 23rd July @ 16.00-16.45
Watch the recording

Session 2 – Exploiting Next Generation 802.11ac with smarter antennas
Wednesday 30th July @ 16.00-16.45
Register

Session 3 – Demystifying beamforming and adaptive antennas
Thursday 14th August & 16.00-16.45
Register

If you would like some information on the sessions you can read GT Hills blog post on the Ruckus Room, or visit the Ruckus website.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

NetMotion Wireless User Named as Finalist for EHI Award

July 22nd, 2014

Net-Ctrl is proud to announce that one of our NetMotion Wireless customers, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, is a finalist for an EHI Award for ‘Excellence in Mobile Healthcare’.

This award recognises the role that technology plays in facilitating mobile working for healthcare staff.

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust first contacted Net-Ctrl in November 2013 in need of a new remote working solution. The Trust had heard about the work Net-Ctrl and NetMotion Wireless had completed in healthcare through other organisations in their area that had witnessed the benefits of Mobility XE first-hand.

NetMotion Mobility® is a mobile VPN solution that gives enterprises a central control point for managing mission-critical mobile deployments. It keeps mobile workers using iPads, iPhones, Windows laptops, tablets and Android devices connected and productive.

Mobility shields them from connectivity issues as they move in and out of wireless coverage areas and roam between networks. It provides the ability to set policies to manage devices, applications access and bandwidth, and gives organisations the visibility they need to maximise their mobile investments.

The winners will be announced at a special awards evening on 09th October, we wish Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust the best of luck.

If you would like more information on NetMotion Wireless and their Mobility XE solution, please email sales@net-ctrl.com or call us on 01473 281 211.

 

New Application Usage and Threat Report from Palo Alto Networks

June 23rd, 2014

The Application Usage and Threat (AUT) Report (June 2014) from Palo Alto Networks provides a global view into enterprise application usage and the associated cyber threat landscape.

The  report provides an analysis of applications and their link to cyber threats within the enterprise. The report also summarises network traffic assessments performed worldwide in more than 5,500 organisations where 2,100 applications, 16,000 unique threats and billions of threat logs were observed.

Download the report to get the full analysis of the intertwined relationship between Cyberattacks and applications.

Watch the report video summary

Alternatively you can:

 

 

Ruckus Launches Industry’s Lightest, Smallest 11ac Outdoor Access Points – The ZoneFlex T300 Series

June 17th, 2014

Industry’s First Outdoor 802.11ac APs with Embedded Adaptive Antennas in Incredibly Lightweight, Small Form Factors that are Designed for High Density Venues.

SUNNYVALE, CA – June 17, 2014 – Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) announced today the launch of the first two models in a line of new Ruckus ZoneFlex™ T300 Series outdoor 802.11ac access points (APs), the ZoneFlex T300 omnidirectional and ZoneFlex T301n narrow band models. These are concurrent, dual-band APs featuring the industry’s smallest and lightest form factors. Both are designed specifically for high density user environments such as stadiums, railway station platforms, dense metro/urban hot zones, and other outdoor venues such as outdoor college campuses, business parks, and town squares.

The ZoneFlex T300 Series access points are the only outdoor 802.11ac APs on the market to integrate patented Ruckus BeamFlex+™ technology for optimal performance and interference mitigation in challenging RF environments as well as ChannelFly™ for predictive channel selection based on real-time capacity analysis of all RF channels.

The most ground breaking features of both the ZoneFlex T300 and ZoneFlex T301n are their lightweight and ultra-compact form factors. At just 2 and 2.1 pounds (0.9 kg and 1 kg) respectively including built-in BeamFlex antennas, the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n are significantly lighter than other outdoor 802.11ac APs. With total dimensions, including their internal antennas, of 7”w x 5.9”d x 3.4”h (18cm x 15cm x 8.6cm) for the ZoneFlex T300, and 7.6”w x 9.4”d x 4.3”h (19.5cm x 23.9cm x 11cm) for the ZoneFlex T301n, these are among the smallest outdoor 802.11ac APs in the market. Form factor is a critical requirement for many outdoor Wi-Fi applications where aesthetic considerations or minimal visual impact is required. The light-weight feature of the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n dramatically eases installation and reduces deployment time and labor costs.

“Our ZoneFlex T300 Series combines carrier-class, high-capacity, high-density outdoor Smart Wi-Fi radio technologies with incredibly lightweight and compact form factors,” said Greg Beach, vice president of Product Management, Ruckus Wireless. “Both are easy to install, and are ideal for service providers and venue owners looking to quickly deploy reliable outdoor Wi-Fi networks in environments such as stadiums, train stations, and parks. They’re 50 percent lighter, significantly smaller in overall size, and offer a much lower total cost of ownership, compared with other products on the market that aren’t nearly as feature-rich.”

Fitting Outdoor Environments to a T

The Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 is an entry-level outdoor 2×2:2 stream 802.11ac access point with an omnidirectional aggregate antenna coverage pattern, featuring a compact form factor and 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE). It can operate as a standalone AP, or be centrally managed by a Ruckus ZoneDirector™ controller, Ruckus SmartCell™ Gateway (SCG) 200, virtual SmartCell Gateway (vSCG), or FlexMaster software for maximum scalability. The ZoneFlex T300 is ideal for providing coverage over a wide outdoor area.

In addition to the features of the ZoneFlex T300, the Ruckus ZoneFlex T301n outdoor 2×2:2 stream 802.11ac access point also features internal narrow beam antennas (30 x 30 degree aggregate coverage pattern @ 2.4 GHz, 15 x 15 degrees @ 5 GHz) in order to provide narrow sector coverage for very high performance, directed coverage applications. The narrow beam antennas in the ZoneFlex T301n are ideal for very high density venues like stadiums, where RF energy must be very narrowly focused to maximize capacity. High density Wi-Fi network design typically calls for a large number of APs to get the needed capacity, but care must be taken to limit co-channel interference. The narrow beam, adaptive antennas in the ZoneFlex T301n are able to focus RF energy into a specific area while delivering flexible, directed coverage that adapts in real time to reduce interference and increase network performance. The ZoneFlex T301n is well suited for extremely high density deployments, delivering the best coverage and capacity, and is highly scalable, making it cost-effective for high density network deployments.

Both the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n are rugged outdoor APs purpose-built to withstand harsh environments. They feature IP-67 water and dust proof plastic enclosures, operating temperatures of from -4 up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit (from -20 up to 55 degrees Celsius), and wind survivability of up to 165 mph. Both models also offer flexible wall, pole or ceiling mounting options that ensure no distortion of Wi-Fi signals is introduced, delivering performance of up to 1,200 Mbps total WLAN RF capacity, with up to 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz (802.11b/g/n), and up to 900 Mbps at 5 GHz (802.11ac). The ZoneFlex T300 and T301n also include/ship with mounting brackets, and the integrated antennas in the ZoneFlex T301n eliminate the need to buy external antennas, reducing cost and making installation easier.

Both models also support up to 500 concurrent users per AP and are easy to install using standard 802.3af PoE switches or PoE injectors. They also support co-location operation with distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cell radios. The ZoneFlex T300 Series 802.11ac outdoor access points also meet stringent EN 61373:2010, EN 50121-1:2006, and EN 50121-4:2006 test requirements overseen by CENELEC, through its close collaboration with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), for use by various U.S. railway systems in their commuter train and subway stations and platforms across the country.

Superior 802.11ac Performance with BeamFlex+

The ZoneFlex T300 Series APs feature Ruckus BeamFlex+ technology, which enables their antennas to adapt to a mobile device’s orientation and location. All antennas have a property called polarization, which refers to the physical orientation of the wireless signal that each antenna is configured to receive or transmit. For best performance, the antenna polarizations of the two sides of a wireless link (e.g. AP and client) should be aligned. In practice, the respective antenna polarizations of APs and clients are seldom aligned, especially for mobile device clients that users frequently rotate and hold in different orientations (i.e. smartphones and tablets).

BeamFlex+ adaptive antennas feature a mix of two distinct polarizations (vertical and horizontal) across antenna elements. The signals received on these antennas, across the two distinct polarizations of BeamFlex+, are combined by the AP in such a way as to maximize the received signal-to-noise ratio, allowing the best possible performance. This has the same effect as if the AP were physically aligning its antennas with the client device. The adaptive nature of BeamFlex+ means that the antennas adapt to client device orientation in real-time.

BeamFlex+ can enhance the user experience by ensuring a consistent wireless signal. Without it, changing client device orientation can cause up to 2.5x performance difference. BeamFlex+ eliminates this variability and ensures optimum performance for any client device orientation, making the ZoneFlex T300 Series perfectly suited for serving mobile devices.

Cloud-enabled Technology

Offering maximum deployment flexibility and management options, the Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 Series APs support Ruckus Smart Wireless Services. These Cloud-based Smart Wi-Fi technologies include: Ruckus Smart Positioning Technology (SPoT™) service, the industry’s first Cloud-based Smart positioning location-based service (LBS); the Ruckus Smart Access Management Service (SAMs) for better enabling public Wi-Fi hotspots; and the Ruckus virtual SmartCell Gateway (vSCG), the industry’s first carrier-grade Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) solution for mobile network operators (MNOs), multiple system operators (MSOs), managed service providers (MSPs) and enterprises designed to streamline the creation of highly scalable and resilient cloud-based wireless LAN (WLAN) services.

For more information on the T300 and T301n please contact your Net-Ctrl account manager, or email sales@net-ctrl.com, alternatively you can call us direct on 01473 281211.

View the original post by Ruckus Wireless.