Ruckus Wireless announced today (17 June 2014) the launch of the first two models in a line of new Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 Series outdoor 802.11ac access points (APs): the ZoneFlex T300 omnidirectional; and ZoneFlex T301n narrow band models.
These are concurrent, dual-band APs, which the company claims are the industry’s smallest and lightest form factors. Both are designed specifically for high density user environments such as stadiums, railway station platforms, dense metro/urban hot zones, and other outdoor venues such as outdoor college campuses, business parks, and town squares.
The ZoneFlex T300 Series access points are the only outdoor 802.11ac APs on the market to integrate patented Ruckus BeamFlex+ technology for optimal performance and interference mitigation in challenging RF environments as well as ChannelFly for predictive channel selection based on real-time capacity analysis of all RF channels.
Ruckus said the most groundbreaking features of both the ZoneFlex T300 and ZoneFlex T301n are their lightweight and ultra compact form factors. At just 2 and 2.1 pounds (0.9 kg and 1 kg) respectively including built-in BeamFlex antennas, the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n are significantly lighter than other outdoor 802.11ac APs.
With total dimensions, including their internal antennas, of 7-inches wide x 5.9-inchs deep x 3.4-inchs high (18cm x 15cm x 8.6cm) for the ZoneFlex T300, and 7.6-inches wide x 9.4-inches deep x 4.3-inches high (19.5cm x 23.9cm x 11cm) for the ZoneFlex T301n, these are among the smallest outdoor 802.11ac APs in the market.
Form factor is a critical requirement for many outdoor Wi-Fi applications where aesthetic considerations or minimal visual impact is required. The light-weight feature of the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n eases installation and reduces deployment time and labour costs.
“Our ZoneFlex T300 Series combines carrier-class, high-capacity, high-density outdoor Smart Wi-Fi radio technologies with incredibly lightweight and compact form factors,” said Greg Beach, vice president of product management, Ruckus Wireless.
“Both are easy to install, and are ideal for service providers and venue owners looking to quickly deploy reliable outdoor Wi-Fi networks in environments such as stadiums, train stations, and parks. They’re 50 percent lighter, significantly smaller in overall size, and offer a much lower total cost of ownership, compared with other products on the market that aren’t nearly as feature-rich.”
The Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 is an entry-level outdoor 2x2:2 stream 802.11ac access point with an omni-directional aggregate antenna coverage pattern, featuring a compact form factor and 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE).
It can operate as a standalone AP, or be centrally managed by a Ruckus ZoneDirector controller, Ruckus SmartCell Gateway (SCG) 200, virtual SmartCell Gateway (vSCG), or FlexMaster software for maximum scalability. The ZoneFlex T300 is ideal for providing coverage over a wide outdoor area.
In addition to the features of the ZoneFlex T300, the Ruckus ZoneFlex T301n outdoor 2x2:2 stream 802.11ac access point also features internal narrow beam antennas (30 x 30 degree aggregate coverage pattern @ 2.4GHz, 15 x 15 degrees @ 5GHz) in order to provide narrow sector coverage for very high performance, directed coverage applications.
The narrow beam antennas in the ZoneFlex T301n are described as being ideal for very high density venues like stadiums, where RF energy must be very narrowly focused to maximize capacity. High density Wi-Fi network design typically calls for a large number of APs to get the needed capacity, but care must be taken to limit co-channel interference.
The narrow beam, adaptive antennas in the ZoneFlex T301n are able to focus RF energy into a specific area while delivering flexible, directed coverage that adapts in real time to reduce interference and increase network performance. The ZoneFlex T301n is well suited for extremely high density deployments, delivering the best coverage and capacity, and is highly scalable, making it cost-effective for high density network deployments.
Both the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n are rugged outdoor APs purpose-built to withstand harsh environments. They feature IP-67 water and dust proof plastic enclosures, operating temperatures of from -4 up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit (from -20 up to 55 degrees Celsius), and wind survivability of up to 165 mph.
Both models also offer flexible wall, pole or ceiling mounting options that ensure no distortion of Wi-Fi signals is introduced, delivering performance of up to 1,200 Mbps total WLAN RF capacity, with up to 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz (802.11b/g/n), and up to 900 Mbps at 5 GHz (802.11ac).
The ZoneFlex T300 and T301n also include/ship with mounting brackets, and the integrated antennas in the ZoneFlex T301n eliminate the need to buy external antennas, reducing cost and making installation easier.
Both models also support up to 500 concurrent users per AP and are easy to install using standard 802.3af PoE switches or PoE injectors. They also support co-location operation with distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cell radios.
The ZoneFlex T300 Series 802.11ac outdoor access points also meet stringent EN 61373:2010, EN 50121-1:2006, and EN 50121-4:2006 test requirements overseen by CENELEC, through its close collaboration with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), for use by various U.S. railway systems in their commuter train and subway stations and platforms across the country.
The ZoneFlex T300 Series APs feature Ruckus BeamFlex+ technology, which enables their antennas to adapt to a mobile device’s orientation and location. All antennas have a property called polarization, which refers to the physical orientation of the wireless signal that each antenna is configured to receive or transmit.
Pricing and availability
The Ruckus ZoneFlex T300 has an MSRP of $1,295 (USD), with Ruckus ZoneDirector-managed and standalone availability in North America and EMEA starting 1 July 2014.
The Ruckus ZoneFlex T301n has an MSRP of $1,495 (USD), with Zone Director-managed and standalone availability in North America and EMEA starting 1 August 2014.
Ruckus SmartCell Gateway (SCG) 200 and vSCG support will become available for both models in Q3 2014. The ZoneFlex T300 and T301n will become available in APAC and Latin America later this year. Both the ZoneFlex T300 and T301n are available through authorised Ruckus Big Dog resellers.