Tag Archives: Ruckus Wireless

Quick Hits: Xirrus, Ruckus, Cambium, Mojo Networks, Nyansa, CWNP

I don’t typically do aggregation blogs, as I prefer to explore a topic or product first-hand and write it up with my own learned perspective. At the same time, I’ve been full-out busy of late and don’t want to not give these topics at least some minor attention in case you have an interest in any. So many cool things happening in the world of wireless…

Xirrus- New HD AP, With Flavor Crystals! OK, no flavor crystals. That was just to keep you hooked. But Xirrus has announced the new .11ac Wave 2 XA4 access point that does support external antennas (really unique for Xirrus) and claims to replace four traditional APs from the competition. Check it out, and if you’re a Xirrus fan or pundit, please leave a comment at the end of this blog.


Ruckus- What Comes Next? In case you missed it, Ruckus Wireless may be facing an uncertain future. The Big Dog was bought by Brocode not too long ago, and now Broadcom is buying Brocade. And… Broadcom doesn’t want Ruckus or the rest of the Ethernet portfolio from Brocade. Did you get all that? Here’s hoping that our Ruckus brothers and sisters all land on their feet. Ruckus has a loyal following, so many of us are watching this one closely.


Cambium Partners With Disaster Tech Labs to help Refugees- There is a tech side to the unfortunate human drama playing out daily on the Island of Lesvos, as countless refugees flea the horrors of Syria and other garden spots for Europe. Disaster Tech Lab goes  where it’s needed when trouble hits, and the need is strong right now on Lesvos. The organization has teamed up with Cambium Networks to provide a range of services for the refugees and those who are directly assisting them.


Mojo Networks Leads the White Box Movement. Mojo Networks is a WLAN vendor, yes- but they also have some fascinating folks on staff that are involved with the Open Compute Project (OCP) and efforts to evolve “white-box WiFi” into a viable option. If you’ve felt like you’re on the losing end of “vendor lock” you’ll probably find the entire notion fascinating. Here’s an interesting presentation from Mojo on the idea of open access points.


Nyansa Adds Application Analysis to Voyance. I’ve been following Nyansa since before they were public, with early NDA briefs on the very powerful Voyance analytics platform. It’s taking WiFi analytics to really interesting cloud-enabled places, and recently got yet another feature boost by adding application analysis to Voyance’s powerful network key performance indicators.


CWNP Awards 200th CWNE Certification. The best source for wireless training in the world has just hit an incredible milestone, and the honor and privilege are mine.

Now you know! Thoughts? Comments? Let ’em rip. 

A Voice of Clarity in the Fog of LTE-U

Open your web browser. Type in “LTE-U” news. Note the 19 million or so results that are returned.

Now scroll a bit through the first dozen, and you’ll pretty quickly see a mish-mash of opinions both pro and con. You’ll also get lost real quick in a sea of acronyms, political posturing, and turfy claims by all sides right before your brain starts to numb up. But let’s back up a bit…

For those who don’t know, LTE-U is the twinkle in the eye of the mobile carriers that expands the use of their services out of licensed frequencies and into the same unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum that the WLAN community has come to hold sacred. It could be devastating to Wi-Fi, or it may be non-disruptive. It all depends on what rhetoric you believe, and how it will be implemented. Notice that I didn’t say “how it MAY be implemented”, because it will absolutely become a reality in some form despite those of us on the WLAN side that don’t want it to. And the meanderings of the issue can be really, really hard to follow because tech + politics + emotion = confusion.

But I found my light in the fog, at Wireless Field Day 8. He works for Ruckus Wireless, and his name is Dave Wright.

I knew Dave just a bit before hearing his excellent presentation on LTE-U. I knew that he’s a straight-up guy, a gentleman with a good sense of humor, and just a pleasure to talk with about technology and things in common. But after Dave’s presentation at Field Day, I also realized that I finally found someone who not only gets the big picture of the LTE-U situation, but is also actively trying to guide it to a reasonable conclusion for both Ruckus’ product aspirations and the WLAN industry.

Dave’s presentation is a must-see. My friend and WLAN biggie Keith Parsons was also at Wireless Field Day, and did a nice job with his own treatment of both the topic, and Dave’s session.

I won’t say that I agree with every opinion Dave might have on LTE-U, but I will say that when he explains the various groups involved and potential technical outcomes of the LTE-U battle, you can actually understand them.

Given the complexity of the issues, that’s saying a lot.

Could Missing Filters and a Potential Conflict of Interest at the FCC Mean A Bad Deal for Wi-Fi? Another TLPS Blog

Wowsers. If you’re in the WLAN world in any capacity, you’ve likely at least heard  of TLPS. Short for terrestrial low power service, TLPS is a crazily over-hyped twinkle in satellite communications company Globalstar’s eye. The satcomm company is lobbying hard for the FCC to approve it’s very  weird offering, while a range of groups and individuals who actually understand and work with real-world WLAN technologies that would be negatively impacted by TLPS try to bring sound technical counter-arguments to the FCC’s attention. If you need some refresher material, here are past articles I’ve written on TLPS:

Then there’s skepticism by Devin Akin, Kerrisdale Capitol, and Kerrisdale again, and lots of others including the Wi-Fi Alliance the Bluetooth SIG, Microsoft, and Google.

Here’s where anyone pro-TLPS says “So what? Globalstar has it’s own army of supporters.” The problem is, many of them are stark-raving nuts, with little technical acumen, high hopes for getting rich off of TLPS, and a penchant for conspiracy theories about why the FCC hasn’t approved this steaming bundle of joy yet.

Whatever.

Then there’s Greg Gerst. He too would like to make a lot of money off of TLPS, by having it NOT be approved. Gerst is a CFA at Gerst Capitol who has taken a most public short position on Globalstar, but he also happens to be an experienced Cornell-educated BSEE with a decent technical resume in digital communications technology. I don’t know Gerst. I can’t tell you whether he’s a good human being or not, but I do know he has posted impressive ex parte filings stating his case in engineering terms that validate and expand what many of us fear about TLPS.

Gerst is calling out some pretty specific and really disturbing things. If he’s wrong, time will prove him to be a laughingstock. If he’s right, however, then absolute shady dealings are afoot in the offices of the FCC when it comes to The Demonstration (mentioned above in the Network Computing article). And to boot, a potential conflict of interest by one FCC committee member adds an odd shadow to what’s already pretty weird ground.

Globalstar conducted a limited demonstration of their TLPS technology at the FCC’s offices using Ruckus Wireless access points. (To date, I’ve read nowhere that TLPS has been demonstrated with any other brand of AP.) There is a lot of opinion about the validity and results of the rather brief demonstration, but Gerst throws a zinger here, where he claims in his 5/14/15 filing that Globalstar used MODIFIED Ruckus access points while leading the FCC to believe that the test gear was commercially available off the shelf. A screen grab from the filing (it’s an interesting read regardless of how you feel about TLPS):

gerst 1

Gerst reiterates his opinion about the missing filters equaling deceptive testing in a 7/16/15 filing that also calls into question the judgement of one of the FCC’s Technical Advisory Council Members (the chairman, I think) when it comes to TLPS, as he also happens to be a paid consultant working for Globalstar. From the filing:

Regarding the final quote above, it is ironic that Globalstar’s paid lobbyist, Blair Levin, refers to “sound engineering” when a straightforward engineering analysis clearly raises doubts that TLPS will be “compatible with existing services”. More ironic is Dennis Roberson’s involvement as Globalstar’s paid consultant in this proceeding while chairing the Commission’s Technical Advisory Council (TAC)12. In April, the TAC produced an excellent paper entitled “A Quick Introduction to Risk-Informed Interference Assessment” 13. According to the executive summary, “This short paper proposes the use of quantitative risk analysis to assess the harm that may be caused by changes in radio service rules.” In his capacity as a paid consultant to Globalstar Mr. Roberson would have the Commission rely on the fact that TLPS had no “qualitative impact” 14 on Bluetooth, while ignoring the quantitative negative impact proven by the Bluetooth SIG report1.

That feels weird from where I sit, but then again Washington is a place where millionaires claim to be po’ folk and no one bats an eye, a certain Chief Exec never had sex with the woman he had sex with, and pretty much anything goes as long as it’s done “for the children”. I won’t even pretend to know what’s OK with lobbying rules, but Gerst’s point about Mr. Roberson would equal a conflict of interest in my own world, if Mr. Roberson’s committee has any sway in whether TLPS gets accepted (provided Gerst is representing the relationship between Globalstar and Roberson properly).

Like everything regarding TLPS, it will be interesting to see where this all goes.

Don’t Forget About Aruba When Considering Ruckus-Juniper Partnership

Just a few day’s ago I shared the new Ruckus and Juniper announcement. Following that, there were a number of comments out and about predicated on the notion that Juniper must have severed ties with Aruba (connected to HP’s acquisition of Aruba). I have to admit, I too assumed that Juniper and Aruba were no longer pals when I heard the Ruckus news… Ah, but things are not always what they might seem.

I did get a reach-out today reminding me that Aruba and Juniper ARE VERY MUCH still an item, despite the Juniper/Ruckus teaming. (Yeah, it does sound a bit odd, doesn’t it?) What differentiates Juniper/Aruba from Juniper/Ruckus? According to a well-place Aruba camper:

Unlike the agreement between Ruckus and Juniper which is a “meet in the channel” rather than resale agreement, Aruba remains the only partner that is technology-integrated with Juniper.

– Aruba and Juniper will continue joint development efforts and go-to-market collaboration, with the goal of providing open, innovative solutions for the enterprises.

– Collaboration to integrate Aruba mobility solutions with Juniper enterprise switches and routers will continue, delivering ongoing product innovation, simplified management, visibility and policy across company product lines to streamline recurring network operations.

Hmmm. Again, that’s how Aruba sees it. Which in itself has a weird vibe, knowing that Ruckus is also on the same dance floor- but what the heck. Hopefully there’s enough demand and use casses to go around for everyone involved. The Aruba contact also reminded me that The Letter signed by both Juniper and Aruba CEOs is still valid, in case anyone was assuming otherwise.

2015 04 – Joint Aruba Juniper Letter from CEOs-FINAL

It’s certainly been an interesting year for wireless, and we’re only half-way through 2015!

(See Network Computing’s article on the same, by Editor Marcia Savage)


Any thoughts on Juniper’s relationships with both Aruba and Ruckus for WLAN?

Ruckus and Juniper Form Alliance For Total Networking Solution

Quick and dirty: Ruckus Wireless needed a wired-side offering to compete long-term. And… Juniper Networks hasn’t exactly been setting the enterprise wireless world on fire.

See where this is going?

Yep- The Dog and Big J are now pals, and word on the street is that Ruckus might actually get to smell the rarefied air of Gartner’s Confusing Quadrant this year! As Madonna herself once sang “we are living in a unified world, and I am a unified girl…” or something like that.

More on the announcement here, and best of luck to both companies in an increasingly competitive market. (You wanna click that link- it’s more of a solution brief than simple PR).

Any predictions for what might come next in the fast and frequently changing WLAN industry?

802.11ac Is A Big Fat Pack of Lies

We’ve been hoodwinked. They snookered us. The wool has done been pulled over our eyes. Ah yes, the snake oil convention came to town, and we all went in the big tent and bought us some. But who could blame us for getting all sparkly-eyed when you breathe in the aroma of those fat numbers promised by 802.11ac? It’s intoxicating stuff, this getting-ever-faster Wi-Fi. But alas… it’s also fraudulent promises, broken hearts, and “Ha! Made you look!” all put in a shit sandwich that we’re willingly nibbling on.

OK- so maybe it’s not quite that bad. But it’s safe to say that with 802.11ac, and even 802.11n, the standards-authors are writing certain checks that the Bank of Reality just can’t cash, despite the giddy marketing folks’ best efforts to convince us otherwise.

Have I bummed you out yet? You might be wondering what could put an upbeat, good-looking fella like myself in this sort of funk. Well, I’ll tell you what sir (or madame)… I just read me an excellent- and I mean excellent- whitepaper from the very smart folks at 7signal, titled 802.11ac Migration: Real World Best Practices. I should have saw what was coming with the subtitle “Learn what vendors won’t tell about 11ac performance in real-world deployments”. Here’s the kicker: there’s nothing really new here, per se. But the cold hard facts of what a given standard “supports” versus what reality allows are presented extremely eloquently in this document. Ideally, it would be required reading for WLAN vendor marketing departments and technical managers and execs not familiar with such things.

7sigpaper
(
Download here)

I won’t give it all away, but here are a few teases:

  • We never did get to the top-end of 802.11n’s promised 600 Mbps data rates, and it’s highly doubtful we’ll recognize 11ac’s hyped 6.7 Gbps either
  • 256 QAM is awesome- if you’re standing close to an AP or have one in your pocket
  • Channel bonding is the stuff of high data rates… but you’re probably expecting too much out of this feature
  • Despite rapid adoption of 11ac, what we’ll see out of it in terms of big, impressive performance numbers will be a mere fraction of what hype tells us to expect
  • There are several other depressing little nuggets

Get the document, read it, and share it. It really is well written and injects a needed dose of reality to the 11ac buzz.

At the same time, don’t be as pissy as I’m making myself out to be in this blog (I’m a writer, and this is called creative license for those of you watching at home). 11ac is still moving the Wi-Fi cheese deeper into the 5 GHz spectrum, which is a huge gain for the greater wireless good. And…we’re still getting better rate-over-range with 11ac versus 11n, and with Ruckus breaking the ice on Wave 2, we’re getting into 4×4 APs with MU-MIMO (though 7signal deflates the MU-MIMO bluster a bit as well in the whitepaper). 

So maybe 11ac isn’t really a big fat pack of lies… perhaps it’s more like a series of Brian Williams-style “embellishments”.  But the truth here does matter for managing expectations, and that’s the point of 7signal’s excellent document.

Nothing Magic About Gartner’s Quadrant When It Comes To Wi-Fi

I just digested the latest “Magic Quadrant for the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure”, and I have a feeling I’m not the only WLAN professional or analyst that finds significant fault with what this once-decent “evaluation” has become.

Where to start with this train wreck? Maybe a little background is in order. Through 2011, Gartner dedicated a Magic Quadrant report to WLAN only, and one to Enterprise LAN. That changed in 2012, when they moved to  “Magic Quadrant for the Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure” format. And here’s where the problem starts. This thing doesn’t know what it wants to be… is it enterprise-oriented? Is it supposed to somehow capture the spirit of unified access? Is there supposed to be a decent analysis of the WLAN industry in here? I really can’t tell as it’s named and delivered. Despite Gartner’s overview of criteria up front in the report, it just feels bizarre when you dig into it.

You’ll notice this is not named the “Magic Quadrant for Unified Access”, which might more justify the “if you don’t have your own LAN switches, you can piss off as a WLAN vendor” reasoning that is in play here. But with a title like Wired and Wireless LAN Access, I’d expect to see companies that do LAN, WLAN, and both.  But since 2012, if a vendor doesn’t have switches AND a WLAN solution, then there’s No Soup For You. Forget that vendors OEM each others stuff, and that a company might be best of breed at either WLAN or LAN and mediocre at the other- you gotta have both to come to this weird party. Which leaves out some important players in the WLAN industry, like:

  • Ruckus Wireless – who happens to be rolling out one new municipal Wi-Fi deployment after another, doing many stadium deployments, and is visible all over my immediate area as viewed through the rogue detection on my own WLAN NMS
  • Meru Networks – who not so long was #3 in a market that was fairly defined as consisting of Cisco, Aruba, and Meru when it came to enterprise WLAN. Lately Meru is making noise in the SDN space, but more on that in a minute
  • AirTight Networks – An interesting newcomer to the WLAN access market (made the jump from WIPS-only), with growing market share and has been connected to some of the brightest technical minds in the industry (Akin, von Nagy)
  • Ubiquiti – like ’em or hate ’em, they are selling in volume, and are as viable of a Wi-Fi option as other players that made it into the Quadrant
  • Meraki – yes, Meraki is listed under Cisco, but even that is wonky in this context, as Meraki and Cisco have fundamentally different paradigms

Flash forward (clever plot device): D-Link made the quadrant, while Ruckus did not. 

Now let’s pick apart what is in the report a bit. Where vendors have “end to end” offerings that Gartner seems to harp on for this exercise, some of them are almost irrelevant because they aren’t “seen” the same way by those shopping for a solution. Adtran has a “complete” solution cobbled together from Adtran switches and Bluesocket Wi-Fi (purchased a few years back). Yet they are a niche player in the Wi-Fi world. Adtran made the quadrant, but Ruckus did not.

Aruba is a top-shelf, WLAN-centric market Force To Be Reckoned With.  They absolutely belong where they landed in the Leaders rankings. But Aruba is rebadged by Dell and Alcatel-Lucent. So Dell is “allowed” to combine their own switches with rebadged Aruba hardware to get into the quadrant… meanwhile, Dell made the quadrant but Ruckus did not.

The treatment of Cisco is pretty weird here, but that may be more Cisco’s problem (to a point) than Gartner’s. Though Meraki WLAN and Cisco WLAN are both technically Cisco WLAN, Meraki WLAN is worlds apart in functionality and approach from Cisco WLAN (I know, because I use them both). Gartner attempts to explain this, but when a product set like Meraki is reduced to being a bullet item under the Cisco heading, there’s something lacking in the analysis and delivery.

Uh… Huawei? Really? Guess what- Huawei made the quadrant but Ruckus did not.

For D-Link, I know pitting them against market leaders is unfair. I have no ill-will against D-Link, and frequently recommend D-Link products for the SMB/residential spaces. But Gartner’s own “cautions” outweigh the listed “strengths”, and the report stresses that D-Link lacks an enterprise reputation, and is a brand that “seldom comes up in conversations with Gartner clients”. But I bet of few of those clients ask about Ruckus on occasion.

Now that the SDN tide is rising (albeit not as fast as the media hype that goes along with it), the notion of “everything from one vendor” starts to be less important. Meru Networks, who I’ll remind you also did not make the quadrant, gets that. Fast forward down the SDN timeline, and the fact that a single vendor has switches and access points both becomes more irrelevant when it comes to what happens on SDN-enabled networks. Sure, you still need to manage the underneath networking, but many “single pane of glass” NMS are so poor at either WLAN or LAN that you’re frequently better off with one for each.

Finally, it’s my conjecture that Gartner is out of touch with who the WLAN industry itself sees as worth comparing. Each of these views shows head-to-head comparisons of various sorts by different vendors or IT experts (click picture for source doc):

rucktest


wlanshoot

merucomp

I can’t remember the last time I saw a bake-off between Cisco, D-Link, and Huawei. Can you?

So how do you fix the Flawed Quadrant?

I’d urge Gartner to consider any and all of these:

  • Bring back a WLAN-specific quadrant
  • The market is so striated, show some effective creativity. Quadrants for MSP-suitable wireless, cloud-enabled wireless, true enterprise WLAN and other tiers
  • Stick to single lines (break out Cisco from Meraki)
  • Do a “Rebadgers Quadrant”

Just shooting from the hip with these, but the point is that the current Quadrant is a defective vehicle, and I think anyone who drives it is getting ripped off.