Ruckus Wireless announced that it beat several wireless LAN (WLAN) vendors in a series of “open RF” 802.11n WLAN tests conducted by Tom’s Hardware.

Tom’s Hardware is a source of reviews, news and information on technology. The 19-part review in question posted by William Van Winkle is titled “Beamforming: The best WiFi You’ve Never Seen.”

(Never mind the opening section, with its reference to Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. It’s a ‘teaser.’ He gets to the technology pretty quickly.)

According to Ruckus, in tests covering range and performance across five locations, the Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11n Smart WLAN system “posted impressive throughput gains ranging from 36 to 180 Mbps over equivalent WLAN systems from Cisco and Aruba.”

Van Winkle’s tests emphasized effective techniques for beamforming, a way of “controlling the output characteristics of each transmitter within a transmitter array so that the overall signal is optimized to reach a given receiver in a given direction.”

One vendor has its beamforming act together, but Van Winkle qualifies his praise. “I don’t want you to walk away from this article with the single message: ‘Ruckus rocks!’ That’s not the point,” he writes. “What we’ve seen is that on-chip beamforming, at least in the way that Cisco has implemented it on the (Aironet) 1142, barely has any effect.” (Also included in the test was the Aruba AP125.)

“Ruckus clearly shows that all 802.11n up to the present has merely been a preface. This is the next level, and so far there’s only one company standing on it.”

The “open RF” aspect of the tests was noteworthy, according to Ruckus. “This testing was particularly significant because it measured performance using different traffic types, multiple frequencies, distance, obstacles and even client rotation,” Ruckus VP Engineering Steve Martin, said in a statement. “These are exactly the kinds of issues that customers wrestle with every day.”

For background on Ruckus, which won the “Best Product Idea” at the 2008 CableLabs Winter Conference, click here. For an article earlier this year on “Wireless HD, the last 30 Feet,” click here.

–Jonathan Tombes

The Daily

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