Ruckus Wireless Announces Smart Wi-Fi

The company will demonstrate "Smart N," a new antenna and signal control technology for 802.11n access points.

Wireless equipment maker Ruckus Wireless, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is announcing a new antenna and signal control technology for 802.11n access points.

The new "Smart N" technology is being readied by the company for its first demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show, to be held in Las Vegas starting January 8, 2007.

According to information provided by Ruckus, the new technology features several radios and antennas operating in parallel, which can be used to dynamically control the RF energy that carries data from point to point so that performance and reliability can be optimized.

Ruckus will be showing a combination of voice, video and data streams operating simultaneously, according to information released by the company.

"The key here is reliability, focusing on carrier and service provider where guaranteed reliability and performance are required," said Steve Martin, vice president of engineering for Ruckus.

Martin said that its important to be able to guarantee a minimum level of performance.

"This lets carriers deploy services on top of knowing that they wont get calls about installations that arent working properly," he said.

Martin added that there are multiple factors that play into designing such reliability into a wireless environment.

"One is the physical antenna," he said, "combined with that is the firmware that controls which antenna elements to utilize at any given time on a packet-by-packet basis."

This has always been important, Martin said, but its even more important in 11n because you have multiple streams and radios that have to be optimized with the environment.

"Theres a huge different between what were doing and whats available off the shelf, which are static," he said.

But Martin added that theres more to optimizing the quality of transmission than simply having a lot of RF pathways. One of the keys to achieving the performance promises is to guarantee there is enough de-correlation between those multiple streams, he said.

"If the streams were identical, 11n doesnt perform at the level its capable. Our smart antenna can guarantee that theres just the right amount of difference that you can achieve the maximum potential that 11n can offer," Martin said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read how Ruckus keeps wireless clean.

Part of the reason that Ruckus can do as much with the RF streams as it can depends on the basic 802.11n standard, and the number of parameters that can be set to control the signal.

"In 11n there are a large number of control parameters available," said Sri Juvvadi, director of product management for Ruckus. "There are 88 physical data rates. We fine tune in the 10 millisecond range."

Juvvadi said that the CES demo will include three separate high definition television streams in addition to data and voice distribution.

"What Ruckus does is automatically have dynamic real time control to have the best possible performance under all conditions," he said. "With new parameters we have control that allows us to push the throughput up. We can do that in software and in real time. We can do it continually in real time."

Juvvadi said that the demonstration system being shown at CES isnt an actual product, but rather a means of showing whats possible.

However, he said that Ruckus plans to have a product using this technology available before the end of 2007.

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Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...