Sky and Ruckus collaborate to boost Wi-Fi capacity in shops and bars

New Wi-Fi technology combines DSL with the access point’s Ethernet ports to significantly boost capacity and speed without the need to run more fibre or add switches

Sky and Ruckus collaborate to boost Wi-Fi capacity in shops and bars

Wi-Fi provider Ruckus Wireless is collaborating with UK broadcaster Sky to develop a new wireless access point (AP) solution to increase Wi-Fi connectivity in high footfall usage areas such as coffee shops and bars.

The new flexible solution, developed by the two companies, builds on the existing service by combining DSL links to the AP’s Ethernet ports for throughput amplification, increasing Wi-Fi capacity in high density area networks. This allows Sky to still deliver high-performance wireless experience even when high speed fibre connections aren’t practical or economical.

A key benefit is that the roll out of this wireless service doesn’t necessitate a LAN switch, link bonding hardware or special network configuration, which significantly decreases deployment costs, removes the challenge of having a ‘single point of failure’, and optimises the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the service provider.

Another challenge facing service providers today is that all of today’s Wi-Fi APs, whether legacy or newer models, carry hundreds of megabits or even gigabit per second wireless connectivity.

However, popular xDSL technologies ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) and VDSL (very high speed digital subscriber line) or FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) are limited to tens of megabits per second of downstream capacity.

Sami Susiaho, head of edge technologies at Sky, said: “We wanted a simple, scalable, robust and low cost way to add capacity to our hotspots. Line aggregation or fibre optic technologies are too costly to roll-out to 20,000+ sites.

“This technology allows us to just add the same again, perhaps many times if needed, very effectively increasing capacity at a fraction of the cost. Our long-standing successful relationship with Ruckus Wireless meant they were the perfect partners to help us bring this new service to market within six months to the benefit of our customers.”

Susiaho continued: “This product demonstrates our investment in industry innovation and comes at a time where access to Wi-Fi is becoming a utility – voice is moving to Wi-Fi, video traffic is increasing exponentially and the coming summer brings sporting events like International rugby, Test Cricket, Formula 1, the Olympics and the Euros. Evolutions like this keep us in a strong position to grow market share in a highly competitive marketplace.”

Kevin Francis, solution architect at Ruckus Wireless, explained the benefits of the new technology compared with traditional Wi-Fi services: “Service providers often run two or more physical connections to remote client locations, but it is generally expensive to aggregate all of these connections.

“For one, it requires an extra element: a network switch. The ability to bundle DSL links is key to delivering a better user experience – and now we have brought this to market with a world-renowned partner.”

In addition to its large DSL business, Sky delivers Wi-Fi access to enterprise clients and plays a significant role in the B2B segment in the UK.


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