The Ruckus folks were very prompt in responding to my questions following up on the announcement of the MediaFlex Hotspot. Thanks to David Callisch, Ruckus Wireless Marketing Director for the quick turnaround. Q&A after the jump.
Q&A with David Callisch
Q: What are some best use-case scenarios for the MediaFlex Hotspot?
A: Any public access area where multlimedia content would be consumed. Ideally locations such as airports or hotels where people are waiting for their plane but want to want to the news or sports highlights or make phone calls over the Wi-Fi network. Ultimately, it is our belief that Wi-Fi will blanket the planet as the most prolific and pervasive technology for the last 200 feet. To that end, it must mature in order to be useful.
Q: Can you give me a sense of what kind of traffic load the MediaFlex can sustain?
A: We support between 20 and 25 Mbps of sustained throughput (99 percentile with no packet loss) to any corner of a 4,000 square foot facility. This capacity can be used for dozens of voice calls, many simultaneous compressed IP video streams and hundreds of laptops accessing the Internet.
Q: What kind of QoS software is used in the MediaFlex?
A: It’s a superset of the 802.11e/WMM standard. Our QoS system is known as SmartCast and uses an intelligent packet inspection and classification engine to priority different types of traffic before being sent over the air over the best signal path. For every client, we support four queue (voice, video, data and background).
Q: How does the remote management work?
A: Operators can remotely and securely log into the MediaFlex HS to gather real-time performance and Wi-Fi statistical information that allows them to troubleshoot and optimize the remote environment. They can access the device to run remote diagnostics – such as PING and TRACEROUTES – from within the system without any user intervention. Additionally, the MediaFlex HS supports the ability for the operator to view the RF spectrum and perform spectrum analysis in order to understand what RF problems might be occurring.
Q: When are we likely to see this deployed in the US?
A: This year. It was become clear that today’s hotspots must be reworked with a more “industrial-strength” Wi-Fi technology that supports multimedia applications. More and more clients devices are quickly coming to market with Wi-Fi already integrated. However the network is unable to reliably handle these devices and the new applications running on them. Hotspot operators effectively have two choices today: crappy low-end featureless consumer products or ultra-expensive and complex enterprise Wi-Fi systems that required to IT technicians. Neither alternative is acceptable. Ruckus Wireless is filling this gap.