Aruba, Ruckus Team on WiFi Gear
The two companies are developing hardware based on a draft version of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802.11n protocol, which is due for ratification in the fall of 2007. The 802.11n protocol is designed to boost WiFi throughput rates to 200 Mbit/s, using multiple data streams in a single channel.
Aruba won't release 802.11n products before the standard is released in 2007, but its current wireless LAN controllers will be able to control Ruckus 802.11g access points by the end of the year. Separately, Ruckus plans to extend its BeamFlex signal-steering technology to a draft version of 802.11n, making it available by the end of 2006.
While speed's a good thing, increasing the width of a channel could mean interference with nearby wireless devices. To that end, the companies are working on ways to mitigate interference by dynamically controlling where the signals go, officials say. Ruckus specializes in providing quality of service for WiFi signals between its access points and client adapters.
"The Ruckus guys have had a good deal of success in terms of getting their products into service provider networking plans," says Craig Mathias, principal at the Farpoint Group . "It makes perfect sense for Ruckus to work with Aruba."
So far, Ruckus has been targeting carriers wanting to offer IPTV over WiFi. (See Ruckus Rounds Up Pioneer.) But officials at both Ruckus and Aruba say carriers have shown interest in business-related managed services for WiFi as well.
"We're seeing trends where service providers are trying to roll out managed services to mid-sized, small-sized, and in some cases large enterprises," says Dominic Orr, CEO of Aruba, declining to name names. "You'll see from Aruba a series of announcements coming up in the near future."
In a managed services scenario, a carrier would put an Aruba switch (or several) in its network operating center, and then control the customer's wireless LAN over an IPSec (IP Security) tunnel.
"Carriers have been looking at managed services of all types," says Selina Lo, CEO of Ruckus. "They're looking at security monitoring and video conferencing... You could put your WiFi cams over different locations of the house.
"This is groundbreaking because normally the consumer stuff and the enterprise stuff don't mix."
— Carmen Nobel, Senior Editor, Light Reading