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Ruckus Offers Affordable Access Point To SMEs

WLAN vendor Ruckus Wireless has introduced the ZoneFlex 7300 series 802.11n access points. Available in single or dual radio configurations, the new access points boast 802.11n performance at a sub-$500 price point for enterprise applications. While not necessarily a first shot in an 802.11n price war, the new access points represent a bridge to enterprise-class wireless networks for the SME customer.

Both the single-band ZoneFlex 7343 and dual-band 7363 access points feature most of the features and functionality expected in an enterprise-class WLAN product, including Gigabit Ethernet and 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE) options. The ZoneFlex 7300 series also benefits from the smart antenna and beamforming technologies of its high-end sibling, the ZoneFlex 7692, while creating a new tier in Ruckus's product line that balances performance and cost.

The primary driver of the new ZoneFlex access points is its price, which will make the 7300 series attractive to the SME customers. In breaking the $500 price barrier for 802.11n gear, the new Ruckus Wireless products will be a viable alternative to relying on consumer-grade gear for wireless access needs. One of the company's first ZoneFlex customers, Rock Bottom Restaurants, is rolling out their first enterprise-class wireless products throughout their chain of 105 locations, largely due to the lowered cost of entry. "Ruckus Wireless's solution is giving us a foundation for the new technologies in our restaurants", notes Rob Jakoby, VP of IT at Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc. "The ZoneFlex 7300 series is letting us deploy 802.11n at an attractive price point." 

The ubiquitous nature of WiFi is having a positive impact of  the applications and business processes of enterprises of every size and shape. Wireless LAN technologies are becoming the primary means of access for many end-users, as well as inspiring new approaches to old problems. Unfortunately, smaller enterprises that are typically agile enough to take advantage of the new solutions are also the customers who are the most cost conscious.  Products such as the new ZoneFlex access points are allowing that segment of the market to take advantage of business class security and management without breaking the budget.