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        ADD A COMMENT
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
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
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
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Google Ready to Release Thousands of Loons
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/20/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment