Ruckus Wireless ChannelFly


Virtually all wireless equipment suppliers who tout their interference avoidance capabilities use a technique called background scanning. With background scanning, the AP hops off of the channel and checks every other possible channel for potential interference.


Predictive Capacity Management for Automatic RF Channel Selection

Ruckus’ innovative approach to channel selection and interference mitigation


ChannelFly is a new approach to optimising RF channel selection based on capacity averages across all channels. Specialised algorithms select the best channel based on historical values.


In combination with Ruckus’ adaptive antenna technology, ChannelFly delivers unprecedented throughput. When combined with Ruckus’ smart adaptive antenna array (BeamFlex), up to twice the capacity as competitive alternatives is achievable.


Ruckus has already developed a patented approach to mitigating interference using adaptive antenna array technology. With BeamFlex interference mitigation can be significantly enhanced through smarter and more dynamic channel selection techniques.


Poor WiFi performance can be caused by interference on the same RF channel as the WLAN. Theoretically, changing the channel to a channel with  less interference will increase performance. While channel selection to avoid interference is not new, the majority of vendor implementations are rudimentary at best.

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A significant problem with background scanning is so-called “dead time.” Dead time occurs when the AP is not on the same channel as its associated clients. If a client wants to transmit while an AP is performing a background scan it will have to wait. This technique is inefficient, at best. Interference characterisation is not a high performance approach since it focuses on interference rather than capacity. Potential channel capacity cannot be quantified with this approach. Something new is needed.


Because capacity is the most important factor to determine performance, the effectiveness of channel-based interference mitigation must be measured by capacity rather than interference. Ruckus has taken a different approach to this problem. Instead of “channel based interference mitigation based on interference characterisation,” Ruckus focuses instead on capacity measurements over time.


A smart software engine, called ChannelFly, is integrated within each Ruckus access point. ChannelFly monitors the RF environment constantly. It builds and maintains a trending history of the capacity and interference on every channel. If a significant drop in capacity occurs on the current channel, ChannelFly can quickly react and switch to a better channel in less than 15 seconds. For smaller capacity fluctuations, ChannelFly will take longer to react, avoiding unnecessary channel changes.


ChannelFly uses the 802.11h protocol, which is supported by many 2.4GHz and all 5GHz clients, to advertise the channel move to active clients when the channel change is necessary. This channel change announcement ensures smooth transitions from one channel to another channel for clients and access points.


ChannelFly is now available as an optional channel optimisation enhancement on all Ruckus APs. Through early trials in a number of service provider and hospitality networks, ChannelFly has demonstrated up to three-fold improvements in overall AP capacity in highly contested environments.


Competitive approaches to RF channel selection go offchannel to passively listen for beacons, CRC errors and other metrics at a given moment in time. In contrast, ChannelFly constantly learns about each channel’s capacity using actual activity on across all channels within the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. With this information, ChannelFly builds a statistical model over time to determine what channel will yield the greatest capacity for clients.

ChannelFly Features

Leverages patented principles from BeamFlex™ to learn and select the best RF channel

Uses live channel activity to learn what channels will yield the most throughput

Assesses true channel capacity, not subjective noise and traffic measurements

Evaluates all channels: 2.4 GHz access and 5 GHz backhaul

Smooth client transitions using 802.11h

System constantly determines proper channel; no configuration or monitoring necessary

Fast reaction (in seconds) to significant drop in throughput

Simply enabled through a single click on GUI (off by default)

Significant capacity improvement observed in congested environments (25 -50%)

Ask us about the Ruckus Wireless ChannelFly

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