Indoor Wi-Fi Signal Penetration, Faster User Adoption of Wi-Fi Metro Services and Lower Support Costs Cited as Key Drivers for High-Gain Wi-Fi Modems
CHICAGO, June 19 - NXTCOMM CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION - Ruckus Wireless today announced that it has been selected to provide its award-winning MetroFlex indoor Wi-Fi modem solution to support the rollout of metro Wi-Fi network services in Cleveland and Hartford. The Ruckus MetroFlex was also named with winner of the 2007 Eos award for Home Networking (see related release) at the NXTcomm conference and exhibition.
Wi-Fi modems are a new class of in-home customer premise equipment (CPE) developed to help consumers achieve better and more reliable connectivity to outdoor metro Wi-Fi networks.
The City of Hartford and OneCommunity are standardizing on the Ruckus MetroFlex system to give consumers predictable and longer-range Wi-Fi connections from inside buildings and homes, reduce Wi-Fi support calls and increase the adoption and user of Wi-Fi metro services.
Despite the aggressive rollout of outdoor metro Wi-Fi services, reliably connecting and maintaining connection to these services indoors has turned out to be a big problem for both consumers and carriers. Wi-Fi signals weaken as users move farther away from outdoor Wi-Fi nodes or as Wi-Fi signals are obstructed by walls, foliage or other obstacles.
Using Wi-Fi to Build Community in Hartford
The City of Hartford has begun an aggressive city-wide rollout of Wi-Fi services across the 18-square mile city footprint. Over the next 18 months, Hartford plans to deploy hundreds of metro Wi-Fi nodes to serve some 120,000 Hartford residents as well as visitors. Unlike other metro Wi-Fi rollouts, Hartford has provided residents with low-cost access to desktop computers, bundling affordable computers with free network access and training. For approximately $200, residents can purchase a computer and Wi-Fi modem and begin accessing Hartford's metro Wi-Fi service.
"For most cities, wireless networks are networks of convenience," said Eric Jackson, chief information officer for the City of Hartford. "While addressing the digital divide has become one of the major tenants of metro Wi- Fi religion, we have a broader vision of using Wi-Fi to bring together and build better community."
Jackson noted that to address the digital divide, access to the home is an imperative and that outdoor Wi-Fi network are not well suited or designed to penetrate indoor environments.
"Getting into the home with wireless is a tough challenge," said Jackson. "We really needed a reliable conduit to connect people in the home and office to our Wi-Fi system. We found what we believe is the ideal solution with the Ruckus MetroFlex Wi-Fi modem."
The Ruckus MetroFlex device is a long-range Wi-Fi receiver that mitigates interference to deliver reliable indoor connectivity to faint outdoor Wi-Fi signals. Through the use of patented smart antenna array technology, the Ruckus MetroFlex provides a three to four-fold increase in Wi-Fi reception. The Ruckus MetroFlex also functions as a repeater and Wi-Fi access point - regenerating the received Wi-Fi signal indoors.
Jackson said that Hartford is actively pursuing the creation of content for young children, adults and seniors with the help of local libraries, schools, civic centers and other government agencies. Hartford has also begun developing an "e-Government" service portal to make it easier to do business with the city.
"At the end of the day, content drives the use of computer networks. We have taken active step to get computers into the home and provide free network access. Using Wi-Fi to help people find others, create their own content, obtain access to vital services, community information and entertainment, is what we are striving for," concluded Jackson.
The City of Hartford is currently offering residents free 11 Mbps access to their Wi-Fi network with plans to offer higher speed 54 Mbps and tiered services. Hartford has partnered with BT Solutions to test in-home connectivity and provide support services.
OneCommunity in Cleveland
OneCommunity, a nonprofit information-technology service company that connects public and nonprofit institutions throughout Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, is using the Ruckus MetroFlex to provide indoor connectivity to users of its Wi-Fi mesh network in Cleveland. The City of Cleveland is one of the founding partners of OneCommunity.
In partnership with Sprint, Cisco and Case Western University, OneCommunity has deployed an outdoor Wi-Fi mesh network covering five square miles, providing free Wi-Fi access to residents, businesses and visitors at speeds ranging from one to 10 Mbps.
Considering itself a "social enterprise," OneCommunity owns and operates over 600 miles of fiber optics throughout Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Youngtown, Ohio. It uses this fiber ring to provide multi-gigabit broadband connectivity through more than 200 nodes to hundreds of educational, governmental, research, arts and cultural, health care and civic organizations.
"Wi-Fi is an ideal onramp to our broadband fiber network - giving us the ability to quickly revitalize underserved communities," said Mark Ansboury, chief operating officer at OneCommunity.
Ansboury noted that keys to their decision to standardize on an in-home metro CPE solution were being able to ensure high service available and to minimize support costs. "In-home customer equipment was a critical component for ensuring high levels of service availability and customer satisfaction. The Ruckus MetroFlex system was the only real purpose-built solution on the leading edge of technology to solve these specific problems," said Ansboury.
In a unique approach to wireless broadband services, OneCommunity not only provides an outdoor Wi-Fi service but also indoor wireless solutions to complement its broadband wireless service. The Ruckus MetroFlex gives OneCommunity a reliable extension of its metro Wi-Fi service throughout multi- tenant facilities, office buildings and residences.
"When you think about broadband wireless, you need to consider everything from end-to-end. It's no longer good enough to merely turn Wi-Fi on outdoors and expect the world to beat a path to your door," concluded Ansboury. Key to OneCommunity's vision was an indoor solution that provided reliable and long- range connectivity to the Wi-Fi metro network.
"From a price/performance and simplicity perspective, we found the Ruckus MetroFlex was unmatched, giving users reliable Wi-Fi connectivity in the simplest manner," said Ansboury. "The last 100 feet of connectivity is going to be wireless whether you like it or not. This is what users want - location freedom. However users are coming to expect cell-quality reliability over the unlicensed Wi-Fi band. This is a major problem for wireless providers everywhere because Wi-Fi wasn't developed as deterministic medium yet it is one of the most pervasive access technologies available to consumers."
Source: Ruckus Wireless, Inc.
Web site: http://www.ruckuswireless.com/