Understanding the Advantages of 802.11ac Wave 2

IPC-Wave-2

Wireless speeds have increased dramatically in recent years, and now rival wired connections. Wave 2 products based upon the 802.11ac standard promise a theoretical maximum throughput of up to 6.93Gbps. Real-world implementations aren’t likely to achieve that, but 802.11ac still offers a significant boost over earlier Wi-Fi technologies.

Of course, innovation continues unchecked, and new Wi-Fi standards are on the horizon. 802.11ax, which is slated for release in 2019, promises to deliver 10Gbps in the 5GHz frequency band.

That begs the question: Should you upgrade to 802.11ac Wave 2, or wait for 802.11ax? The answer depends upon how you use wireless in your organization. If Wi-Fi is used merely as a convenience or for guest connectivity, 802.11ac is probably not a priority unless you have an aging 802.11a/b/g network. On the other hand, organizations that rely upon Wi-Fi — such as the retail, hospitality, education and healthcare sectors, just to name a few — will likely benefit from 802.11ac Wave 2 technology.

Raw speed is not the primary advantage, particularly given that few clients support it. The real value of 802.11ac Wave 2 lies in its ability to increase client density and optimize the user experience for every client and transmission. This is possible thanks to multiple user-multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) technology, which can simultaneously transmit multiple client streams to different devices on the same RF channel. Wave 2 products also support beamforming, which helps to increase range by transmitting energy in a specific direction, even around obstacles.

Ruckus Wireless, now part of Brocade, has introduced two new wireless access points (APs) based upon 802.11ac Wave 2. All Ruckus Wave 2 APs combine MU-MIMO with Ruckus’ patented BeamFlex+ adaptive antenna technology and ChannelFly predictive channel selection to deliver the highest performance Wi-Fi possible. The new products include:

  • Ruckus ZoneFlex R510 AP — A Wave 2 version of Ruckus’ most popular indoor AP (R500). The R510 is a competitively priced AP for midmarket customers, featuring two dual-band antennas that utilize BeamFlex+ technology and MU-MIMO to serve more devices with the highest efficiency. Unlike competing products that require expensive switch upgrades to accommodate higher power requirements, the R510 can work with existing 802.3af-capable Ethernet switches.
  • Ruckus ZoneFlex T710 AP – An outdoor version of the industry-first Wave 2 R710 AP delivering multi-gigabit Wi-Fi performance and unprecedented client capacity. The T710 includes four dual-band antennas — utilizing BeamFlex+ — along with interfaces for Ethernet and fiber backhaul, plus built-in GPS for ease of location and inventory management.

Both APs can be managed by Ruckus ZoneDirector and SmartZone controllers. ZoneDirector and SmartZone are software platforms for managing wireless networks, including user access controls, guest networking functions, advanced Wi-Fi security and traffic management. Ruckus is upgrading SmartZone to version 3.4 with new features for self-optimizing Wi-Fi networks, remote network management, simplified installation of new APs and Amazon Web Services support. Ruckus is also upgrading ZoneDirector to version 9.13 to enable even better network installation and management. Both platforms now provide built-in support for Ruckus’ Smart Positioning Technology location-based service and Cloudpath certificate-based security management software, user onboarding and policy access management software.

Ruckus was first to market with Wave 2 APs in April 2015, and now has the industry’s broadest Wave 2 portfolio. Let IPC show you how Ruckus Wave 2 products can boost the capacity and performance of your Wi-Fi network.