We appreciate Ruckus highlighting their concerns in the latest “Seven Myths of Cloud-Managed Wi-Fi” white paper. The point of view lacks Intelligence — AI that is. Ruckus is a great company, with great products and technologies, so we were puzzled by the “retrospective” on Cloud Managed Wi-Fi as the paper describes concerns with yesterday’s Cloud Managed Wi-Fi systems. In one way they are correct. Cloud Managed Wi-Fi without AI does not work that well… without an AI-Driven Cloud Controller.
Let’s address the “Seven Myths…” one by one.
1. “Cloud Managed Wi-Fi Just Works”
– Claim: Cloud Managed Wi-Fi makes performance worse (compared to AP bought and managed), and does not make problems go away because of low cost and “sub-optimal technology” and “lowest common-denominator” antenna design. Therefore, makes the claim that smart channel selection, roaming and QoS is only possible with Ruckus’s cloud solution – which provides a REACTIVE response to issues (i.e…. call them if your network goes down).
– Myth? NO
– Why? Today’s next gen, Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered-Wi-Fi, handles management and control centrally, with one global view of all Access Points. The system improves the network performance as compared to manual IT management or yesterday’s cloud management solutions. KodaCloud’s system for example, PROACTIVELY detects and fixes 80-90% of network performance and connectivity problems. This is AI at work, resulting in a major cost saving and productivity improvement impact for any enterprise who cannot afford a team of people to manage an on-site controller.
2. “Cloud Managed Wi-Fi is Simple”
– Claim: In this claim, the author states that by moving the controller from on premise to the cloud does not make things simpler, then claims that “RF management is tricky”, and that the AP cannot tell you if it’s “too close” to another AP. This section further highlights concerns with guest management, channel selection, airtime fairness, band steering and simplified deployment. Simplified deployment, and an “intent-driven interface as the solution with a mobile app.
– Myth? No. In fact, the author almost makes the claim that Cloud is indeed simpler.
– Why? AI-powered network? Check! Simple to install? Check! Mobile App? Check! Guest management and 100 SSID? Check! 5-10 minute or less to install and manage? Check!… We can go on and on. Managed Wi-Fi can be simple. It’s even simpler when you have an AI-engine that proactively runs the network, improves user experience by 15-35dB, and per user Mb/download by 25-50Mb per device/person on average. As one industry-recognized Wi-Fi analyst puts it, KodaCloud is redefining the organizational network. What we’re seeing here isn’t just the future of Wi-Fi in enterprise, government and beyond, but in fact the redefinition of organizational IT itself away from ever-more boxes, and towards easily scalable and very cost-effective services. How?.. you may ask:
- KodaCloud classifies the problems into separate groups: Connectivity, performance, security
- KodaCloud’s expert system is working in real-time to identify known patterns
- Learns from previous corrections to constantly update the problem/correction knowledge
- Constantly analyzes the problems, fixes and measures the improvements
- Results: Improve dB, SNR, roaming time, packet loss, connection time, etc.
3. “Cloud Managed Wi-Fi Means Cloud Scale”
– Claim: Cloud concerns with backend limits, hard limit on number of sites the cloud can support, maximum of 30 clients per AP, etc. The response is that with a Ruckus AP + Cloud can help facilitate with carrier proven architecture, etc.
– Myth? No, it’s not a myth.
– Why? Do you have concerns with FedEx capability to deliver packages to many locations? Do you have concerns with Amazon’s ability to cloud manage any and all transactions? Nor do we. KodaCloud’s service for instance, includes a network of indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi access points (APs) that are shipped directly to customer location(s), and entire networks can be installed in minutes. KodaCloud delivers and manages the networks for less than the cost of most vendors’ maintenance contracts, eliminating the need for a customer to buy equipment, or a partner to manage inventory or shipments. KodaCloud proactively manages and troubleshoots mixed and regionally distributed deployments of indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi networks, controlled by one global expert system that’s powered by AI.
4. “Cloud Managed Wi-Fi Means Inexpensive”
-Claim: AP is typically 80% of capital cost for Wi-Fi. The author then seeds doubt with… “you get what you pay for.”
– Myth? No, managed Wi-Fi as a Service can cost as little as $15 per AP/month… with NO additional cost (no software or cloud license).
– Why? With a PROACTIVE system, where Wi-Fi is a service, you do not need to pay for the AP, software license, cloud access, specialized RF staff, etc. With one low monthly fee, you get your “IT in the Cloud”. Sounds great? It is. Just ask the 100+ customers that have signed up for KodaCloud’s service. KodaCloud is the first company to offer a subscription-based service for indoor + outdoor Wi-Fi networks that is powered by one global expert system which proactively manages and troubleshoots distributed Wi-Fi networks for its partners and customers.
5. “Go Cloud and it’s Cloud Forever”
– Claim? When you go cloud, it’s a one way trip. And, to be safe, lock in with Ruckus… that way you too can switch from cloud to an on-premise and expensive cloud controller… if you so decide.
– Myth? No, not really. With a cloud managed Wi-Fi system, powered by AI… you are not locked in. IT will love it, and so will the CFO.
– Why? Affordable and predictable service cost. And, if for any reason you want to take over install, management and ongoing support (besides a portal or APP view), then it’s all yours again. You did not buy any equipment, so there’s no rip and replace.
6. “Cloud Managed Wi-Fi Means Less Secure”
– Claim: Cloud gives you less control. You need certificate-based authentication. And, the author states…“there’s some truth to Cloud Managed Wi-Fi means less secure”.
– Myth? We are almost in agreement here. It’s a myth. Cloud Managed Wi-Fi does NOT mean “less secure”.
– Why? We use Amazon cloud. It’s as secure as any cloud can be. The Access Points do not allow any kind of external access. They connect to the cloud and only our Network Operations Center (NOC) experts can access them (via the cloud). All data, usernames, passwords, authentication credentials, etc. remain within the customers’ local network. SSID’s can be secured with WPA2 pre-shared key and 802.1x authentication. We also support RADIUS proxy and Management VLAN’s for additional security. We offer guest and hidden SSIDs for guest access security.
7. “All Access Points are Created Equal”
– Claim: Cloud managed vendors offer “Cheap” Access Points. Ruckus makes the assertion that all customers need the same long list of features.
– Myth? No, not really.
– Why? In most cases, the majority of the AP hardware comes from the same set of contract manufacturers, who supply the same SoC to 80% of the big-name vendor AP brands. The next gen model is “commodity hardware” where software clients and AI makes the difference. We embrace this model. It allows for improved service at a lower cost for customers. With a common software client on the AP, all APs may indeed appear equal in performance and management. KodaCloud does this today! With AI-based support and optimization, along with 24/7 monitoring by a team of experts, KodaCloud’s analytics engine regularly informs all systems on how to continually optimize the Wireless LAN environment. KodaCloud’s AI then diagnoses and classifies issues, which the expert system self-corrects based on an extensive set of rules. The AI system then optimizes all Wi-Fi networks and ALL Access Points to the environment, even as the environment changes on a continuous basis. So, in our system, all APs are equally great!
The old way…
- Autonomous APs: Cisco, Proxim
- Managed WLAN (Controllers): Cisco, Aruba, Ruckus, etc.
- Managed WLAN (Controller-less): Aerohive, Aruba, Ruckus, etc.
- Cloud Managed WLAN: Meraki, Aerohive, Aruba, Ruckus, etc.
The new way…
- NextGen Cloud is AI or Intelligent WLAN: KodaCloud
KodaCloud’s system leverages AI + Machine Learning to automate time-consuming troubleshooting and optimization tasks. The “Expert System” makes decisions regarding which parameters to tune based on patterns fed by the learning module. The system also creates client behavior profiles and uses fingerprinting to tailor device-to-AP interactions. The Machine Learning engine is the brain of the AI system. It learns network behaviors and patterns by gathering data from KodaCloud’s global network. In summary:
- Rule-based algorithm in the cloud
- Machine-learning model that updates the parameters of the rule-based algorithm
- RRM enforcement, measurement and data collection modules on the AP (enforcing and collecting data)
- Automation of all functions without any knobs to control or conflicting manual parameters to tune
All networks are managed by one global expert system for proactive network monitoring and troubleshooting using patented Artificial Intelligence (AI) — which automatically corrects 80-90% of network and connectivity issues. The system collects detailed information from each Access Point, and networks and presents the information to the AI system that reacts at machine speed, capacity and cost.
As of February 2017 (in just a few months), KodaCloud has deployed over 1,000 Wi-Fi access points in 200+ locations. In January alone, KodaCloud’s proactive network monitoring identified over 20,000+ daily connectivity or performance issues with over 150,000 device connections. KodaCloud’s system made 80-90% corrections, and issued network alerts to IT teams where human intervention was needed. The system improves average signal connectivity strength by 29dB and improves employee data rate connectivity by an average of 50 Mbps for each correction made. See an example of customer data/benefits.
KodaCloud is comprised of long-time wireless experts from Aruba, BelAir Networks, Bridgewater, Ericsson and SpiderCloud. The team knows how to deploy and manage highly scalable systems and hundreds of thousands of Access Points. KodaCloud’s service includes a network of indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi Access Points that are shipped directly to customer location(s), eliminating the need for a customer to buy equipment, or a partner to manage inventory or shipments. The entire network can be installed in minutes, and KodaCloud manages the network for a low-monthly fee. With its patented approach, KodaCloud can also enforce QoS for applications such as voice over Wi-Fi with AP-to-AP handoff. KodaCloud has 16 patents (AI, machine learning, cloud control).
We applaud Ruckus for raising concerns with Cloud Managed Wi-Fi, but with AI-powered Wi-Fi, Cloud managed Wi-Fi works. Tomorrow is here, today, with AI-powered networks.