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Ruckus 802.11ac Wave 2 access point delivers more throughput

The latest Ruckus 802.11ac access point provides limited use of Wave 2 technology, so existing network infrastructure can keep up.

Ruckus Wireless released the first 802.11ac Wave 2 access point for enterprises, which uses the latest Wi-Fi technology to support more mobile devices and deliver faster speeds than Wave 1 access points.

The higher bandwidth of Wave 2 doubles the density of mobile devices through a capability called multi-user multiple input/multiple output, or MU-MIMO. This capability enables the transmission of multiple client streams to different devices over the same frequency at the same time.

Preparing for Wave 2 technology is considered more disruptive because it could require costly wired networking upgrades. Wave 2 technology's promised speeds can exceed 2 gigabits per second. These speeds will surpass the capacity of most existing Ethernet switching infrastructures.

To support the new Ruckus ZoneFlex R710 access point, however, enterprises don't have to rip and replace their wired infrastructure because the built-in Wave 2 technology is limited.

The R710 uses 80MHz channels in the 5GHz band as opposed to 160MHz channels. This throughput limitation will help ensure that existing switching infrastructure will be able to support the AP, Andre Kindness, analyst for Forrester Research said.

This feature is also important because Wave 2-capable clients are not expected to hit the market for at least 18 months, experts say.

The ZoneFlex R710's speeds can be supported using existing Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches. Should an enterprise run up against the gigabit limit, the latest access point is equipped with dual gigabit Ethernet ports that can be aggregated to meet additional throughput requirements. "We don't want customers to have to upgrade their switches to achieve the speed the access point can provide,” said Kash Shaikh, Ruckus' vice president of marketing.

ZoneFlex R710 802.11ac Wave 2 features

The ZoneFlex R710, supports up to four spatial streams and 500 concurrent clients in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The AP is backwards compatible, and also supports beamforming technology for better Wi-Fi performance.

The device has a built-in USB port to accommodate Bluetooth Low Energy beacons and other Internet of Things endpoints. Ruckus designed the R710 access point with many different functions and use cases in mind, especially for verticals like for healthcare and retail, Kindness said.

Wave 2 technology won't be readily adopted until more clients support the technology, however, he said. "It's like creating the freeway, but we still need the cars," Kindness said.

The ZoneFlex R710 lists at $1,295 and will be available this quarter, the company said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, senior news writer and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter. 

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