Ruckus Launches Dual-Band ZoneFlex R700 Access Point

The R700 integrates the company’s BeamFlex+ adaptive antenna array technology to extend the range, reliability and speed of indoor WiFi services.

Wireless systems specialist Ruckus launched the ZoneFlex R700, a dual-band, three-stream indoor WiFi product specifically built on the most recent 802.11ac standard.

The R700 integrates the company’s BeamFlex+ adaptive antenna array technology to extend the range, reliability and speed of indoor WiFi services, offers enterprises and service providers the ability to offer gigabit-class WiFi performance.

Backwards compatible with existing 802.11 devices, the R700 operates with full functionality using standard 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE), delivering aggregate data rates of up to 1.75G bps using the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands while offering an improvement in WiFi signal coverage, according to a company release.

Operating as a standalone access point (AP) or part of a centrally managed wireless LAN (WLAN), the R700 is purpose-built for the 802.11ac standard, and is being marketed to high capacity WiFi environments such as airports, hotels, schools, hospitals, warehouses and other high-density venues.

"While 802.11ac promises improved performance across the board, realizing that promise requires sophisticated RF controls and advanced WLAN system architecture and product implementation," Craig Mathias, a principal with the mobile and wireless advisory firm Farpoint Group, said in a statement. "With the announcement of the R700, Ruckus Wireless is building upon years of innovation with exactly the techniques required for success in the gigabit-WLAN era."

The R700 is priced at $1,295, and the company is offering a special 802.11ac Buy Up Program. Under the program, customers that have previously purchased a qualifying ZoneFlex 802.11n Smart WiFi indoor access point—with products including the ZoneFlex 7363, 7372, 7982, and 7962--between May 1, 2013 and March 31 of this year can purchase the equivalent number of R700 access points for $499 each, if purchased by June 30, while keeping their existing ZoneFlex 802.11n access points.

Used with a ZoneDirector Smart WLAN controller, the R700 supports a wide range of enterprise WLAN capabilities such as hotspot and 802.1X authentication, guest networking, automatic user and device policy enforcement, client and band balancing, per client performance thresholds, client blacklisting, the creation and installation of dynamic pre-shared keys, and wireless intrusion prevention.

Equipped with BeamFlex+, each R700 AP can automatically select, on a per packet basis, from thousands of potential directional antenna patterns, transmitting and receiving traffic using horizontally and vertically polarized radio waves for improved WiFi connections to low-powered handheld devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

To further improve performance, the R700 uses a channel selection approach called ChannelFly capable of yielding capacity gains over alternative background scanning approaches.

This capacity-driven channel selection technology helps to avoid WiFi interference by predicting and automatically selecting the best performing channels at any given time using statistical, real-time capacity analysis of all RF channels.

"We’ve always been impressed with the performance and reliability of Ruckus, and believe Ruckus is indeed the Smart WiFi choice for deploying 802.11ac, as the R700 is powerful and feature-rich, and easy to install," Sung-jin Hong, officer of Sejong City office of education for the Republic of Korea (South Korea), said in a statement. "Our initial deployment is working very well, and we look forward to completing additional stages of our deployment to provide an exceptional user experience."