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Ruckus plus Wi-Fi into future

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Ruckus Wireless has unveiled the Ruckus ZoneFlex R710 access point (AP), a WiFi AP that allows twice the number of mobile devices to connect to it without a decrease in performance.

It is the first Wi-Fi access point to support major technical advances in the 802.11ac standard that allow the simultaneous transmission of multiple client streams to different devices over the same frequency, a highly anticipated new capability called multi-user multiple input/multiple output (MU-MIMO). This enables over two times the density of mobile devices versus Wave 1, and aggregate data rates exceeding two gigabits per second.

Among the first organisations to deploy the ZoneFlex R710 within a production environment, the City of San José, CA sees big value in the migration to new 802.11ac Wave 2 technology.

“We are at an inflection point in the industry as we deal with insatiable demand for wireless capacity and speed,” said Vijay Sammeta, Chief Information Officer for the City of San José. “We need to be able to plan and prepare for devices and services we haven’t even seen yet. Wave 2 represents an investment in a platform that not only meets our current needs, it will also meet those in the future that we can’t even predict. Delivering our Wickedly Fast Wi-Fi service has become a distinct competitive advantage for the City of San José. The Ruckus ZoneFlex R710 helps us take this to the next level.  It’s simply the best performing Wi-Fi access point we’ve ever deployed, even without multi-user MIMO clients.”

According to Sammeta, after installing the Ruckus ZoneFlex R710, the City was able to achieve dramatic performance improvements, reaching over 445 megabits per second speed with two-stream-capable laptops, and over 200 megabits per second with single-stream mobile smart phones.

“The R710 is an extraordinary feat of engineering that marks a new era for our industry,” said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. “The work and innovation we’ve put into the R710 reflects our leadership in delivering the world’s best in class wireless products that stand the test of time.”

Ruckus Delivers Unique Advantage with BeamFlex

Within a sleek and elegant new design, the Ruckus ZoneFlex R710 access point supports up to four spatial streams and 500 concurrent clients.  Additionally, each ZoneFlex R710 access point integrates Ruckus-patented BeamFlex+ adaptive antenna technology, designed to enhance the operation of Wave 2 802.11ac technology by optimising antenna coverage on a per client, per transmission basis.

With four discrete, dual-band smart antenna arrays, the ZoneFlex R710 is capable of dynamically creating over 4,000 unique directional antenna patterns per radio, mitigating up to 15dB of RF interference while also reducing co-channel interference. Dual-polarised smart antennas also allow the R710 to automatically adapt to the changing physical orientation of mobile client devices such as smartphones and tablets, thereby helping to maximise uplink performance and offer unmatched reception of weak mobile client signals.

With BeamFlex+, the ZoneFlex R710 also offers a significant increase in performance and range, delivering up to 5dB of signal gain and aggregate data rates of over two gigabits per second (Gbps), 1,733 Mbps (@ 5 GHz) and 800 Mbps (@ 2.4 GHz).  Backwards compatible with existing Wi-Fi clients, the ZoneFlex R710 can operate as a standalone Wi-Fi access point or part of a centrally managed Ruckus Smart Wireless LAN (WLAN).  Additionally, the ZoneFlex R710 is equipped with dual gigabit Ethernet ports that can be aggregated to satisfy peak throughput requirements for maximum investment protection.  The ZoneFlex R710 is also unique in its ability to support spatial multiplexing, adaptive antenna switching and transmit beamforming—designed to ensure that Wi-Fi performance and reliability are never compromised. The ZoneFlex R710 maintains full 4×4:4 802.11ac functionality with standard 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE), eliminating the need for costly and cumbersome wired switch upgrades.

Monetising Wi-Fi

The ZoneFlex R710 has a built-in USB port to accommodate Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This, combined with Ruckus SPoT location-based services (LBS) and analytics, enable opportunities for enterprises and Service Providers to monetise their Wi-Fi investment in public venues through rich analytics and location-based user engagement.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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