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Ruckus Wireless Targets SMBs With Xclaim Wi-Fi Routers

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Ruckus Wireless says SMBs are currently forced to choose between expensive enterprise products and unsuitable consumer routers

Ruckus Wireless hopes to capitalise on a growing market for SMB Wi-Fi products with its new Xclaim range of wireless routers, which promise easy to use enterprise features at a fraction of the cost.

The Wi-Fi specialist says small businesses currently have to choose between consumer products that are inadequate for their needs or enterprise equipment that is overly complex, expensive and requires specialist knowledge to operate.

The Xclaim range currently comprises three indoor routers, priced between $89 and $199, and one outdoor router costing $299, with a smartphone application used to setup networks within “minutes”, even by someone with limited technical knowledge.

Easy to use

Ruckus Wireless Xclaim harmony appRuckus is pitching Xclaim as the first “controller free enterprise W-Fi for SMB” with all monitoring and management done via the Harmony app for iOS and Android. Harmony features a startup wizard and a dashboard that shows information such as traffic and packet data.

Once you’ve built the first network, new access points are automatically recognised by Harmony and users can set up to four SSIDs per access point. Other enterprise features include dynamic channel selection, which learns the best channel for businesses over time, automatic traffic prioritisation and airtime fairness.

The routers also have auto band steering technology, which chooses the best possible distribution over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Without this, Ruckus says applications will pick the former frequency, a situation it describes as “ridiculous.” Other enterprise features include client isolation, which prevents two Wi-Fi devices from seeing each other’s’ traffic, and standard over the air encryption.

“It’s very easy for non-IT people to understand,” promises Rob Mustarde, vice president and general manager of the Xclaim. Some of the features are similar to those found in much more advanced Software Defined Networking (SDN) systems, but Mustarde is keen to nip such comparisons in the bud, not least because much of Xclaim’s target audience have probably never heard of SDN.

SMB Networking growth

Indeed, one of the reasons for opting for a new brand for its SMB products is that warranties and support will be similar to consumer products, rather than the round-the-clock assistance and lifetime guarantees afforded for Ruckus’ enterprise wares.

Targeted business include restaurants, café’s, bars, small offices and retailers and Ruckus believes the SMB market will be worth $1.3 billion within the next few years.

Currently, up to 70 percent of its business is done with “medium” sized enterprises, with the remainder of its customers in the carrier sector. Ruckus believes this leaves it well placed to take advantage of a growing small business market, where it currently doesn’t do itself justice.

“The niche that we’ve carved out for ourselves is in the mid-market – hospitality, education and warehousing . We have about 40,000 customers and we add several thousand every quarter,” explained Mustarde. “Because we’re a mid-market player, the opportunity we’re going to start addressing is the layer down and the SMB space.”

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