Light Reading
New service moves the WiFi controller to the cloud and helps small businesses manage and monetize their WiFi access points.

Ruckus Takes On HP With Cloud WiFi Services

Sarah Reedy
4/15/2014
100%
0%

Ruckus Wireless is challenging HP's recent foray into enterprise WiFi management with a cloud-based platform of its own, designed to virtualize the WLAN controller and help small businesses monetize WiFi.

Ruckus Wireless Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) introduced its cloud-based Smart WiFi Access Management Service, SAMS for short, on Tuesday, two weeks after Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) showed off its version, the Cloud Network Manager, at Interop. (See HP: Here's How We Can Cut WiFi Costs and HP Beefs Up Its SDN Portfolio.)

What Ruckus is pitching is a way for small businesses to manage and monetize the access points they have deployed from the cloud, saving them the expense of deploying controllers and servers to manage the WiFi locally. Salah Nassar, Ruckus's senior manager of product marketing, explains that what makes it unique is not just the ability to manage WiFi from the cloud, but also to monetize it through collecting analytics and layering on custom services.

With SAMS, any new ad or service can be created and managed via a basic web portal, but it starts with analytics. Either working with a Ruckus channel partner or their own IT staff, a venue can track information on their customers WiFi usage -- their ages, device types, gender, duration of sessions, etc. -- and adjust their offer accordingly. (See Ruckus Brings Analytics to WiFi.)

For example, they could require customers to view a targeted ad before logging on to WiFi or authenticate them through Facebook or Twitter or, if they so choose, limit their length of session, bandwidth consumption, or the content they can access based on their usage patterns.

The platform does, of course, require the business to have Ruckus APs in place. The company is offering SAMS through channel partners on a yearly subscription basis for $265 per access point or $180 if the location is using local WLAN management.

So how is this different than HP's Cloud Network Manager or other competing cloud offerings? Nassar says it's the services angle. HP's platform provides AP management, but stops short at helping the venue monetize their WiFi investment. That's what Ruckus aims to do with SAMS.

That's the differentiator that Ruckus is pitching, but Ovum Ltd. analyst Daryl Schoolar says the big deal about its announcement is simply that it simplifies network management by hosting the network controller. This is still a relatively new transition for WiFi companies to be making. The revenue potential is just a value-add, he says.

"I think it fits well with operations that need to support multiple sites, but don't have a major IT budget or headcount," he tells Light Reading. "I can see this being used by a restaurant chain trying to support six to 12 locations."

While telecom service providers are big customers for Ruckus, Nassar says this is the type of WiFi service they are looking to manage and provide on their own. That's why it's focusing on the smaller guys that might only be able to afford a few APs and can't see the value in buying a controller for so few. Nassar says this is a market both Ruckus and network operators haven't really addressed in the past. (See Ruckus Scores 22 New SP Customers in Q4.)

"Those guys really like the cloud solution and tend to be on the lower end," he says of small businesses. "There are some customers on the higher end that don’t care if it's in the cloud or on site because it's a managed service but then it's up to our resellers providing the managed service to decide what's best for them."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/16/2014 | 4:31:48 PM
Re: Cloud or local?
SarahReedy - True. While public venues are moving away from asking people to pay for WiFi, they're looking for other ways to monetize the service. 
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
4/16/2014 | 12:00:38 PM
AT&T & BK
Here's another example today: AT&T is providing WiFi as a managed service to Burger King: http://www.lightreading.com/mobile/carrier-wifi/atandt-strikes-a-whopper-wifi-deal-at-bk/d/d-id/708681 Didn't really go into a services angle, but that could be the next step.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
4/15/2014 | 6:20:24 PM
Re: Cloud or local?
I imagine it will remain free (or there would be a lot of backlash), so this gives them other ways to monetize it -- ads, landing pages, targeted offers, data collection, etc. I think there's already a lot of interest in that.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/15/2014 | 5:33:51 PM
Re: Cloud or local?
I wonder whether monetizing WiFi will prove attractive. Many retail businesses seem to be moving to free WiFi to attract customers. 
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
4/15/2014 | 2:38:43 PM
Re: Cloud or local?
Yeah, Cicso has a big play here, as does Aruba. Ruckus says they can do it in the cloud, local, or some combination therein depending on what the particular venue or company wants. They will, of course, still have APs on site though.
lanbrown
50%
50%
lanbrown,
User Rank: Moderator
4/15/2014 | 2:34:28 PM
Re: Cloud or local?
A WLC is not required unless you are either using lightweight AP's or plan on having more than one AP.  If you use an autonomous AP then you have no need for a controller as the AP is performing all of the functions.

 

A controller is not that much money and even with a cloud offering, you still need equipment on-site unless 100% of the traffic is going to be tunneled out to the cloud which for a business like a coffee shop would not be an issue.

 

Even the heavyweights like Cisco are moving to a decentralized controller but their method also keeps the advantage of having a local controller.  Cisco is moving the controller into the switch but you can still use an upstream controller to control all of those switches with a built-in controller.

 

With a cloud based controller you still need a gateway and/or switch.

 

Cisco also has the Merkai cloud based solution.
SarahReedy
100%
0%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
4/15/2014 | 10:37:33 AM
Cloud or local?
Cloud WiFi is an interesting trend. I think it makes sense for a lot of small companies like neighborhood coffee shops that are expected to have free WiFi but can't pay for local WLAN control. Larger companies may not be so interested in outsourcing their WiFi management, so having the flexibility to choose cloud, local, or some combo therein will be important.

Operators are still figuring out how to control their own APs, so I'm not sure how far along they are in offering managed services like this to enterprises.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Inaugural Optical Innovation Forum in Nice

9|2|14   |     |   (0) comments


More than 170 attendees from network operators, service providers, analyst firms, and component companies from around the world convened in Nice in June for the inaugural Optical Innovation Forum, co-produced by Huawei and Light Reading.
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Introducing 'The New IP'
Stephen Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/11/2014
Glimpsing the Self-Driving Car
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/12/2014
AT&T to Launch WiFi Calling in 2015
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/12/2014
AT&T: We'll Bundle Fixed Wireless & DirecTV
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/15/2014
New NFV Forum Focused on Interoperability
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed