Light Reading

Ruckus Takes On HP With Cloud WiFi Services

Sarah Thomas
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: Light Sabre
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
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
Que Sera Sarah
Growth of the 5G Ecosystem

3|6|15   |   1:15   |   (1) comment


Use cases and industry collaborations dominated 5G discussions during Mobile World Congress 2015. For what the road to 5G means for operators and their partners, head to the Building America's 5G Ecosystem event in New York on April 14.
LRTV Custom TV
Sonus NaaS IQ Real-Time Demo

3|6|15   |   4:03   |   (0) comments


Compass Networks Chairman and CEO Matt Bross and Ray Dolin, CEO of Sonus Networks, demonstrate their Sonus IQ SDN solution using a live video conference connection.
LRTV Custom TV
LRTV Talks Carrier WiFi & WiFi Calling With Aptilo Networks

3|6|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


We stopped by Aptilo Networks, a market leader in WiFi service management and offloading, to discuss the new possibilities with next-generation WiFi calling and why WiFi should be a natural part of any operator strategy.
LRTV Interviews
NGMN Chairman Outlines His 5G Vision

3|6|15   |   5:10   |   (1) comment


Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, chairman of the NGMN Alliance and Deutsche Telekom CTO, shares his thoughts on the challenges, opportunities and costs of 5G.
LRTV Interviews
In the Cloud With Telecom Italia

3|5|15   |   7:10   |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders sits down with Telecom Italia's Simone Battiferri at Mobile World Congress to discuss virtualization, agility and the economic advantages of the cloud.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
New Ways of Working

3|5|15   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Hong Kong Telecom's Michael Yue explains how the transformation in its business has changed its customer relationships.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bridging the Digital Gap

3|5|15   |   4:03   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Boingo's Dr. Derek Peterson explains how ICT can help telcos bring the physical and virtual worlds closer together.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Making the Internet of Things Affordable

3|5|15   |   2:42   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Telefonica's Dr. Mike Short explains how the Internet of Things demands a new low-cost approach to connectivity from telcos.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Evolution, Not Revolution

3|5|15   |   2:00   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan explains why telcos can't be too hasty in their efforts to transform themselves.
LRTV Custom TV
Management & Orchestration Enablement Strategies Required for NFV Commercial Success

3|5|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


NFV commercial success rests on successful service orchestration strategies which can span heterogeneous physical, virtual, legacy and next-gen networks. Network data and security integrity are additional key aspects. Nakina provides a suite of orchestratable network integrity applications built on an open, scalable MANO enablement platform.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Power of Five Convergences in OceanStor OS

3|4|15   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


OceanStor OS is Huawei's brand-new storage operating system. While inheriting the consistent high stability, reliability and performance from the company's previous storage products, OceanStor OS abounds in new converged storage features. Specifically, the new storage operating system achieves "five convergences" to lift storage convergence to a higher level.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
4K Brings Extreme Video Experience

3|4|15   |   8:10   |   (0) comments


4K video is a hot topic in the video industry. It will certainly bring an extreme video experience to end users. At the same time, however, it will also pose a big challenge to operators. Check out this Huawei 4K experts' discussion about how operators can achieve success in 4K video service.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Internet Pioneers Decry Title II Rules
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/2/2015
Wheeler: We'll Enforce Title II 'Case-By-Case'
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/3/2015
New CenturyLink CTO in Major Overhaul
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/4/2015
Alibaba 'Planting a Flag' in US Cloud Market
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 3/4/2015
Few in Number, Big in Data
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/2/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Chattanooga’s EPB publicly owned utility comms company has become a poster child for how to enable a local economy using next-gen networking technology. Steve Saunders, Founder of Light Reading, sits down with Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, to learn how EPB is bringing big time tech to small town America.
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks transformation and virtualization – including Light Reading's independent testing of the vendor's virtualization solutions – with Cisco CEO John Chambers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.