Tuesday, 10 February 2015 14:19

Ruckus revolution: a befitting brouhaha over carrier-class Wi-Fi calling

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Ruckus Wireless is causing a stir with proprietary Wi-Fi roaming and traffic handling capabilities that improve voice calls in some of the most challenging Wi-Fi environments.

Seeking to cause an upheaval by entering the fray and setting the Wi-Fi voice call cat amongst the carrier pigeons, Ruckus Wireless is going on a rampage to revolutionise the higher quality IP-based voice calling market using the latest Smart Wi-Fi technologies.

Demand for quality voice over Wi-Fi is steadily growing, with Ruckus ensuring its newest technology innovations are being integrated as standard features within its portfolio of Smart Wi-Fi products, to help ensure ‘crystal clear’ Wi-Fi Calling voice quality.

Ruckus will demonstrate these new technologies for the first time at the Mobile World Congress event held in Barcelona, Spain, at its booth #5E41, where it will explain how these technologies have already been successful tested with two of the biggest mobile network operators (MNOs) in the United States.

The news follows the Ruckus Wireless announcement in late January 2015 of Microsoft Lync Server Wi-Fi certification for several of its latest ZoneFlex access points delivering ‘crystal clear Wi-Fi calling and picture perfect, flicker-free videoconferencing’.

Dan Rabinovitsj, COO at Ruckus Wireless said: “The innovations we’ve made will improve the reliability and quality of Wi-Fi Calling applications, which enables both service providers and enterprises to extract greater value from their Wi-Fi infrastructure.

“While voice over Wi-Fi isn’t new, the ability to deliver a carrier-class voice service over Wi-Fi is something that no one has mastered, until now.”

As you might imagine, Ruckus notes its Smart Wi-Fi solutions for Wi-Fi Calling address essential roaming and Quality of Service (QoS) requirements.

Ruckus says its new innovations ‘enable real-time, bidirectional voice calls that demand a narrow set of operating parameters from the network designed to ensure the highest quality Wi-Fi Calling experience.’

In addition, they include ‘a variety of new proprietary capabilities such as capacity-based client access control, Wi-Fi multimedia admission controls, directed roaming, and automatic packet flow heuristics.’

The integration of these and other new Smart Wi-Fi innovations into the Ruckus range ‘helps organisations ensure optimal performance of voice over Wi-Fi communications.’

An example of how these innovations are genuinely able to to support high quality voice services was made evident when the developers at Republic Wireless, the groundbreaking “Wi-Fi First” mobile operator in the US, encountered performance issues with their corporate Wi-Fi network that impacted testing environments.

Instead of returning to the common wealth of classic Wi-Fi equipment providers, Republic turned to Ruckus for a resolution.

David Morken, co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Republic Wireless said: “As a pioneer in ‘Wi-Fi First’ smartphone technology, Republic requires the highest performance from our corporate wireless network.

“With Ruckus, we’ve got the Wi-Fi environment our engineers require in order to continue delivering new services and features for our customers.”

So, what are these new Ruckus technology innovations for carrier-class Wi-Fi Calling to deliver crystal clear voice over Smarter Wi-Fi?

We’re told these include a number of advances designed to optimise roaming and quality of service (QoS) for delay-sensitive voice traffic:

Automatic QoS Heuristics
This is the ability to prioritise Wi-Fi Calling traffic by looking at the Type of Service (ToS) bits set by the smartphone in the IP header, or by using automatic packet flow heuristics that constantly examine the size and frequency of packets in any flow, encrypted or not.

Capacity-Based Client Access Control
If too many new devices attempt to connect to a given Wi-Fi access point (AP), already connected clients may experience service degradation. To help ensure existing clients’ quality of user experience, ‘Ruckus ZoneFlex APs’ can now implement a capacity-based client access control algorithm to decline connection requests from new clients. This new feature allows organisations to protect the user experience during periods of heavy load.

Directed Roaming
Leveraging the 802.11v standard, directed roaming helps to ensure the overall quality of user experience for the entire wireless LAN (WLAN) network by directing clients toward another Wi-Fi access point that can provide a better user experience.

If a signal falls below user-definable signal strength (RSSI) or throughput thresholds, Ruckus ZoneFlex APs can automatically provide a list of alternative access points and request the client to move to a closer AP. This solves the problem of clients that stay connected or ‘sticky’ with a given AP, even if it no longer provides the best connection.

Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) Admission Control
WMM admission control improves the performance of Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks for real time voice and video services by preventing oversubscription of bandwidth. By requiring clients to request a specific amount of bandwidth before connecting to a given Ruckus ZoneFlex AP, bandwidth management on each AP now takes into account network load and channel connections before allowing clients to connect.

When combined with Ruckus BeamFlex technology, Ruckus says these new innovations provide the necessary Quality of Service to support Wi-Fi Calling applications.

By focusing and adapting Wi-Fi signals over the best performing signal path, Ruckus says ‘clients can connect at higher data rates, spending less time contending for access to the Wi-Fi medium. This reduces contention for the RF channel and the likelihood of collisions (increased jitter), frame loss, or packet retransmissions (increased latency) by dynamically adjusting the antenna pattern for each and every packet transmitted.’

So, what does it all cost, and when is it available?

Ruckus says it is ‘becoming available immediately and throughout 2015, the new Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi software innovations for carrier-class Wi-Fi Calling are being embedded within Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi firmware, supported by Ruckus ZoneDirector Smart WLAN controllers, the Ruckus SmartCell Gateway (SCG) and virtual SmartCell Gateway (vSCG), and ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi access points, at no additional cost to customers.’

That should cause quite a ruckus!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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