Xclaim’s product line includes four new controller-free access points, 3 for indoor use and one for outdoor use.Two of the new indoor APs, titled Xi-1 and Xi-2, utilize 802.11n, while the indoor Xi-3 and the outdoor Xo-1 boast 802.11ac. The APs can be managed via a free iOS and/or Android app called “Harmony,” which includes real time status updates as a feature. Other features included in the new access points include “dynamic channel selection, band steering, client isolation and airtime fairness.” Ruckus claims that the new APs will deliver the same performance as its legacy ZoneFlex brand, but at a much lower cost per AP, allowing organizations smaller than 100 people to join in on the WLAN solution fun. Nevertheless, the new APs will not be able to support more than 100 devices per AP, which Ruckus claims its ZoneFlex solution can.
To help get the word out and the money coming in, Ruckus has dedicated a complete business unit to Xclaim that will pursue different marketing and sales channels, including a new website dedicated only to Xclaim products, www.xclaimwireless.com. Ruckus will also recruit partners in the SMB space as well as sell through sites such as Amazon, eBay and NewEgg. Additionally, Ruckus approval for resellers to carry one brand will not mean permission to start selling the other.
Ruckus is predictably upbeat about the new product line. Rob Mustarde, VP of Corporate Development at Ruckus, said the following:
“I call it the ‘Goldilocks solution.It’s not too complicated, but it’s not so simple that it doesn’t solve the most basic needs of a small business.”
Not everyone is so positive about the company’s move, however.
Investment analysis and reporting site Seeking Alpha believes the attempt to gain SMB market share, which is currently “dominated” by WLAN solutions provider Ubiquiti, is a mistake on Ruckus’ part. Here is the analyst’s take:
I doubt their traditional business model can support disruptive pricing, and I am concerned their new products’ limited feature set will cheapen their brand, hurt gross margins and cannibalize their existing lower end offerings.
While I can’t predict how adaptable Ruckus’ new dedicated business unit will be to Xclaim, I do think that any potential negative impact on the Ruckus brand will be minimal. Ruckus seems to be doing everything in its power to keep ZoneFlex and Xclaim as separate as can be, which means that a failure in the SMB market should not directly impact brand reputation in the very different enterprise WLAN market. Given that Seeking Alpha admits that Ruckus is in fact a leading brand, tied for Cisco for the top spot in the enterprise-class wireless network solutions market, I think it’s safe to say that Ruckus at least has the enterprise market down.
For the CRN article on Ruckus’ new Xclaim WLAN solution set, click here.
For the critique of Ruckus’ move at Seeking Alpha, click here.