Ruckus Wireless announced the launch of Ruckus SmartCell Insight - a new, highly scalable Wi-Fi analytics platform - today (18 November 2013) at the WBA Wi-Fi Global Congress in Beijing.
The company describes it as the first carrier-class platform capable of archiving years of historical operational data that can be generated by up to hundreds of thousands of Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi access points and millions of client Wi-Fi sessions on mobile network operator (MNO) and large enterprise Wi-Fi networks.
Ruckus SmartCell Insight represents a fundamental new approach to measuring, assessing and troubleshooting large-scale Wi-Fi networks using Big Data technology and techniques, the company stated.
The industry’s only software-based reporting, data repository and analytics engine designed and developed specifically for service providers and large enterprise networks, SmartCell Insight empowers network operators with essential Wi-Fi analytics to help them determine the long-term health and behaviour of their Wi-Fi networks and the efficiency of the services provided over them.
Network operators of all types are rapidly deploying carrier-grade Wi-Fi as one of the standard and cornerstone radio access network (RAN) technologies used by subscribers to access the mobile Internet. Once deployed, getting the most from a carrier Wi-Fi network requires clear visibility into its performance as well as user activity, at both granular and aggregate levels of detail to measure global trends spanning many years.
However, until now, the tools to provide detailed business and network analytics for large carrier-grade Wi-Fi networks have simply not existed, according to Ruckus.
Changing mobile Internet usage patterns coupled with exploding volumes of users, devices and traffic have created new challenges for conventional management and reporting systems. These systems must now enable long-term trend analysis to support network and service evolution planning.
“Operators want and need this level of visibility to assess if the Wi-Fi networks they are building are actually meeting the objectives of their business,” said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. “SmartCell Insight is the first carrier solution on the market to do this by delivering detailed analytics in an easy to use, customisable and highly scalable fashion.”
Big Data for Wi-Fi Networks
Unlike traditional element management systems that provide limited reporting and data collection over days or months, Ruckus SmartCell Insight is based on Big Data technology and storage innovations found in columnar database repositories that are used to simplify the collection, storage and manipulation of huge amounts of network data. With this technology integrated into SmartCell Insight, service providers can now collect, parse and analyse years of Wi-Fi data for trending and business optimisation.
With SmartCell Insight, service providers now have instant access to a wide range of essential network metrics such as the distribution of client device types throughout the network, or the amount of uplink versus downlink traffic over a period of time or within a given location – vital information needed to make real-time business decisions.
SmartCell Insight provides the foundation for sophisticated predictive analysis that leverages historical network analytics and client location. Analytics can then be leveraged to become powerful new tools that service providers can use to determine future user behaviour or stay ahead of data demand.
This gives service providers the power to predict network performance for the purpose of increasing subscriber retention rates, reducing churn and enable targeted marketing and upselling of new products and services.
”The industry has not thought of carrier class Wi-Fi before, meaning Wi-Fi that is guaranteed to be better than cellular,” said Sami Susiaho, head of Edge Technologies for BSkyB (British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC). “Knowing what is going on in the Wi-Fi network is essential to delivering a carrier quality Wi-Fi service, but this information can only be used effectively if the insight lives and is easily accessible within the Wi-Fi network.
“We aren’t interested in more data crunching, stat spewing software. Rather, we are looking for Wi-Fi data and analytics capabilities that help us understand what’s going on and tie directly into our Wi-Fi infrastructure so we can take action and automate changes that might be required. This is what SmartCell Insight is really all about,” said Susiaho.
More Insight into Ruckus SmartCell Insight
Ruckus SmartCell Insight is a software-based analytics platform that collects, stores and parses a wide variety of key performance indicators (KPIs) from Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi components including Ruckus ZoneFlex access points (APs), the Ruckus SmartCell Gateway (SCG), and Ruckus ZoneDirector wireless LAN (WLAN) controllers.
These KPIs can be used to generate a wide variety of standard and custom reports for different organisations within the service provider. KPIs exposed by the network through SmartCell Insight include data such as:
- upstream and downstream traffic volumes by device or device type,
- RF channel capacity between APs and stations
- access points with the greatest traffic volume
- potential client throughput
- number of unique clients, sessions and session length
- response time, and much more.
With this information, network operators can quickly generate any number of customised reports on the fly that would have previously taken weeks or months to obtain, such as looking for trends in subscriber equipment (Android, Apple, etc.), trends in upstream traffic versus downstream traffic, increases in connection times in high traffic areas, increases in the number of unique users in all shopping mall deployments on weekends, access point reboots in new deployments, etc.
Standard and customised reports are graphically displayed in a simple, intuitive, browser-driven, drag and drop interface.
Ruckus SmartCell Insight also integrates directly to northbound OSS/BSS systems through a variety of application-programming interfaces (APIs).
Pricing and availability
Available starting in Q1 2014, the Ruckus SmartCell Insight base software platform is priced at US$35,000 (£21,742), with additional access point licensing of US$25 (£15.50) per AP, which lets customers pay as they grow.