Sky strengthens Wi-Fi in high density UK areas


Partners with Ruckus Wireless to increase connectivity for customers in high traffic areas

Ruckus Wireless, a Wi-­Fi vendor in the service provider sector, has announced its collaboration with Sky to develop a new wireless access point (AP) solution to increase Wi‑Fi connectivity in high footfall usage areas throughout the UK, such as coffee shops and bars.

This smart wireless offering, developed by the two companies, allows Sky to still deliver the same high performance wireless experience even when high speed fibre connections are not practical or economical.

It builds on a service to combine DSL links to the AP’s Ethernet ports for throughput amplification, increasing Wi-­Fi capacity in high density area networks. A key benefit is that the roll out of this wireless service does not 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.

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-plus 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.

“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 this 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.”

Ruckus Wireless noted a challenge to all of today’s Wi-­Fi APs, whether legacy or newer models, is that they carry hundreds of megabits or even gigabit per second wireless connectivity. However, popular xDSL technologies asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) and very high speed digital subscriber line (VDSL) or fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) are limited to tens of megabits per second of downstream capacity.

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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