First introduced in 2015, SmartZone-powered controllers combine scalability, tiered multi-tenancy, architectural flexibility, and extensive APIs into a single centrally-managed element. These capabilities enable managed service providers to implement complex, multi-tier and as-a-service business models using their own management applications. They also allow operators to manage subscriber data traffic on a massive scale while integrating traffic flows and network data into existing network architecture.

Ruckus SmartZone products have been deployed in thousands of enterprises and in more than 200 service provider networks across five continents.

Unifying Network Management

IT departments seeking to manage both wired and wireless networks via a single console have traditionally needed to purchase a stand-alone network management element for on-premises management scenarios. Fortunately, Ruckus SmartZoneOS 5 has transformed the industry’s most scalable WLAN controllers into a comprehensive single network element to control and manage both Ruckus access points (APs) and switches. This simplifies network management by:

  • Eliminating provisioning errors through the use of an automated discovery process for access points (APs) and switches.
  • Reducing configuration and deployment duration when compared to a multi-console approach.
  • Reducing network software and hypervisor license fees, server expense, utility expense, and training costs.
  • Enabling a single network controller cluster to scale to 450,000 clients.
  • Enabling networking-as-a-service.

It should be noted that Ruckus SmartZone also includes open, well-documented RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow IT departments to easily invoke SmartZone functions and configurations to enable error-free automation. In addition, streaming APIs enable IT to monitor in near real-time the full array of Ruckus network data, statistics, and alarms. This means IT departments can more easily create customized, information-dense dashboards and reports.

Ruckus SmartZone Lineup: SZ300 & SZ100

Let’s take a closer look at Ruckus’ SmartZone lineup below, beginning with the Ruckus SmartZone 300 (SZ300) which is targeted at operators, MSPs, and large enterprises. Key features and benefits include:

A single SZ300 appliance can manage 10K APs and 500 switches, while 3+1 active clustering increases capacity to 30K APs, 1,500 switches, and 450K clients.

  • 6x 1GbE ports, 4x 10GbE ports.
  • The SZ300 protects itself from catastrophic failures with intra-cluster and inter-cluster failover. Geo-redundancy with active/active clusters delivers higher availability versus traditional hot-standby. Hot-swappable power supplies, 3x fan sets, and redundant disk drives further improve uptime.
  • Multi-tenancy, domain segmentation, and containerization enable secure delivery of managed network services in complex, multi-tier business models across multiple geographies, including MVNO models.
  • Visual Connection Diagnostics speeds and simplifies troubleshooting and client problem resolution while unique “super-KPIs” enable IT to more quickly detect and react to potential user experience degradation.
  • Optional Ruckus Cloudpath integration lets IT create rich location-, device- and user-based policy rules, enabling network segmentation based on real security and policy needs rather than on a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • The SmartZone OS advanced feature set includes rogue AP detection and mitigation, adaptive band balancing, load balancing, airtime fairness, hotspot, and guest services, capacity-based admission control, and more.

Meanwhile, the Ruckus SmartZone 100 (SZ100) is a scalable network controller for mid-sized enterprises. Key features and benefits include:

  • A single SZ100 appliance can manage up to 1,000 APs, while 3+1 active clustering increases capacity to 3,000 APs and 30K clients.
  • 4x 1GbE ports, 2x 10GbE ports.
  • Active/active clustering delivers higher availability and resiliency than traditional N+1 standby. 3x fans further improve uptime.
  • Visual Connection Diagnostics speeds and simplifies troubleshooting and client problem resolution while unique “super-KPIs” enable IT to more quickly detect and react to potential user experience degradation.
  • Optional Ruckus Cloudpath integration lets IT create rich location-, device- and user-based policy rules, enabling network segmentation based on real security and policy needs rather than on a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • The SZ100 can store up to 30 days of network configuration and client data on internal storage drives even with reboots.
  • Automated AP and switch provisioning; L3 and L2 auto-discovery of APs and switches reduce manual administration.
  • The SmartZone OS advanced feature set includes rogue AP detection, interference detection and mitigation, band steering, airtime fairness, hotspot, guest networking services, and more.

Ruckus SmartZone Lineup: vSZ-H and vSZ-E

The Ruckus Virtual SmartZone – High-Scale (vSZ-H) enables operators and managed service providers (MSPs) to easily, flexibly, and securely deliver Networking-as-a-Service (NaaS). Key features and benefits include:

  • A single cluster scales to 450K clients, 30K APs, and 1,500 switches.
  • A single low-cost license and a commodity x86 server with any popular hypervisor are all that’s needed for a vSZ-H instance.
  • Active/Active 3+1 clustering eliminates idle controller capacity and data loss during redundant failover while minimizing configuration time when nodes are added.
  • The vSZ-H centralizes LAN and WLAN management and flexibly integrates with the Virtual SmartZone – Data Plane (vSZ-D) or external WLAN gateways to accommodate complex data plane routing topologies.
  • Sophisticated zone and domain segmentation give service providers the flexibility to supply non-hosting partners with their own domains, to run different SmartZone OS versions in different zones, and countless other options.
  • An independent, containerized tenant architecture minimizes the risk of degraded end-user experience and enhances data privacy between tenants.

Meanwhile, Virtual SmartZone – Essentials (vSZ-E) offers mid-sized enterprises flexibility, lower deployment costs, and the ability to scale a network up to 60,000 clients. Key features and benefits include:

  • A single cluster scales to 60K clients, 3,000 APs, and 50 switches.
  • A single low-cost license and a commodity x86 server with any popular hypervisor is all that’s needed for a vSZ-E instance.
  • Active/Active 3+1 clustering eliminates idle controller capacity and data loss during redundant failover while minimizing configuration time when nodes are added.
  • The vSZ-E centralizes LAN and WLAN management and flexibly integrates with the Virtual SmartZone – Data Plane (vSZ-D) or external WLAN gateways to accommodate complex data plane routing topologies.
  • IT can offload WLAN and connectivity services such as DHCP/NAT to the AP or vSZ-D to reduce expenses for separate routers and servers.

SmartZone: Ruckus APs and Switches

Ruckus SmartZone controllers are designed to manage Ruckus’ extensive lineup of indoor and outdoor access points. Our AP family offers a solution for every deployment scenario including small businesses, wireless LANs, and mission-critical high-density carrier grade installations. Ruckus outdoor access points are suitable for a range of environments and offer a choice of mounting and antenna options, with outdoor point-to-point bridges providing connectivity between remote sites.

As a comprehensive single network element, SmartZone also manages the Ruckus ICX switch family, which can be deployed standalone, stacked or installed within a campus fabric. Switch management features offered by SmartZone include discovery and inventory, SNMP monitoring, link discovery, firmware upgrades, as well as backup and restore functions. By using SmartZone, organizations can proactively monitor their network, perform network-wide troubleshooting, generate traffic reports and gain visibility into the network activity from the wireless edge to the core.

Are you interested in learning more about the Ruckus SmartZone platform?

Submit a contact form or email sales@net-ctrl.com and we can set up a demo for you.

View the original publication at The Ruckus Room.

Predictive, Pre-Deployment, Post Installation and Health Check Wireless Surveys carried out by certified wireless engineers.

IP-CCTV site survey to assess camera locations and requirement and existing Mobotix solution health checks.

Net-Ctrl provide network and structured cabling solutions as either a stand-alone installation, or to compliment products and solutions that we offer.

Net-Ctrl offers our Cloud WLAN. Delivering market-leading patented technology managed by the Net-Ctrl engineering team.