Oracle Team USA, the winner of the 33rd America’s Cup in 2010 and defender of the America’s Cup in September 2013, has announced that it has selected Ruckus Wireless as the team’s official Wi-Fi technology supplier.
Oracle Team USA is equipping state-of-the-art AC 45 (45ft) and AC 72 (72ft) racing catamarans with ultra high-speed Wi-Fi technology patented by Ruckus. Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology increases the strength, performance and reliability of Wi-Fi transmissions by automatically focusing and continuously steering signals around obstacles and over the best performing paths as environmental conditions change.
Ruckus products and technology are also being used within Oracle Team USA design and production facilities, the America’s Cup team bases at Piers 30/32 in San Francisco, and at the team’s hospitality lounge in the Marina.
‘Since it was first won by the yacht America in 1851, technology has always been the key to winning the America’s Cup,’ said Asim Khan, Director of Information Systems at Oracle Team USA.
On Oracle Team USA’s race boats, smart Wi-Fi technology is used to transmit critical telemetry, wind and load data from sensors located throughout the boat to crew members equipped with wearable, Wi-Fi-enabled displays.
Immediate access to this information allows the crew to quickly make real-time adjustments to sail trim to enable maximum speed through the water. The communication systems will be carefully configured to comply with strenuous communications rules regarding information to and from the yacht when it is racing.
The Wi-Fi system is also being used to disseminate data gathered during practice sailing (training) to Oracle Team USA design and production teams for faster post-race processing and evaluation. Oracle Team USA uses very high-bandwidth applications to gather and assess performance data during its tests, such as the boat’s speed using different sail trim configurations.
‘Wi-Fi was an obvious choice for us but getting it to work fast and operate reliably has been a big problem historically because carbon fiber structures screen RF signals,’ said Khan. ‘Add to this that our boats operate at high-speed in drenching salt-water conditions, then traditional wireless technologies simply couldn’t deliver. With Ruckus we’ve seen a 10-fold improvement in performance over previous wireless technology we used.’
On board each Oracle Team USA race boat, data is collected from hundreds of sensors and is processed by an onboard local server. A single Ruckus ZoneFlex 7982 802.11n AP then transmits this data to different Wi-Fi devices the crew members’ reference.
At the end of each training session, Ruckus Smart Mesh Wi-Fi technology is used to backhaul gigabytes of data collected on the boat to servers within Oracle Team USA’s operation that process the information for the team’s various design and test groups.
The crew now has access to crucial information affecting race performance or how the craft is responding to wave or load pressure. Trimmers, for example, can adjust the boat’s wing and soft sails to compensate for changes in wind and load.