Published on February 17th, 2015 | by Jack Eagle
4Gon speak to Xclaim Wireless on the Xclaim AP range, Ruckus and how Xclaim compares to Ubiquiti UniFi.
David Frith, Marketing Manager at 4Gon Solutions, speaks to Rob Mustarde, VP & General Manager at Xclaim Wireless. The pair discuss the history of Xclaim and its relationship with Ruckus, the Xclaim wireless access point product range and how Xclaim products compare to the Ubiquiti UniFi range.
4Gon: Broadcasting from various countries around the world using wireless technology, this is 4G Uncovered, a 4Gon Solutions UK podcast. I’m David Frith and joining us today is Rob Mustarde, VP & General Manager at Xclaim. Wireless Thanks for joining us today Rob!
Rob Mustarde, VP & General Manager at Xclaim: Pleasure, Thanks David, thank you for the opportunity.
4Gon: No problem. Could you give us a brief background to Xclaim Wireless and Xclaim’s relationship with Ruckus?
Rob Mustarde, VP & General Manager at Xclaim: Ok so the first thing to point out is that Xclaim Wireless is not a company or an entity in its own right it, is essentially a product line and as you correctly point out its part of the Ruckus Wireless organisation. Really whilst the mainstream Ruckus portfolio of products and that’s the Ruckus ZoneFlex product line and Ruckus ZoneDirector controller product line that most people are probably familiar with.
What we have done with Xclaim is produce a complete new product line which is specifically aimed at the lower end of the market, the small business customer.
We have created a product line with a reduced complexity feature set, but still something which is relevant to small businesses and certainly provides more relevant functionality than you would find in a consumer brand product, but at the same time is still very very easy to use at a price point people are comfortable with.
We are created a new brand because we did want to make sure we created clear separation between the traditional ZoneFlex portfolio and the Xclaim portfolio, and we didn’t want people buying a lower end Ruckus product and expecting features and functions and types of support contracts we would offer with those ZoneFlex products with the Xclaim portfolio. It’s a very different positioning and product feature set, so thats why we created the different brand.
4Gon: Ok that’s Excellent. Could you talk us through the different models in your indoor access point portfolio, the Xi-1, Xi-2, Xi-3, and their targeted applications?
Rob Mustarde, VP & General Manager at Xclaim: I think from an applications standpoint its not that we have specifically aimed the products at different, certainly at this point in the product lines lifetime, we’re not aiming at specifically different applications per say, it’s more really the good, better, best in terms of the level of functionality and performance that the customer may be looking for, that small business customer that we are aiming this product line at.
So the Xi-1, by the way we have a very simple naming scheme for if you say a product with XI, it means Xclaim indoor and we do have an outdoor product as well, called the Xo-1 and Xo stands for Xclaim outdoor, so whenever you see those prefixes of our products you will immediately know if its an indoor or outdoor products, and the numbering scheme is simply the ordering of the access point that will get released over time.
So from an indoor standpoint, our first product and our most entry level product if you will is the Xclaim Xi-1, thats a single radio 802.11 n access point. That single radio can be set at either 2.4 or 5GHz, one or the other not both. Its a two by two device which means it can support up to an aggregate maximum throughput of 300Mbps. It supports 802.3af POE Gigabit ethernet port, so if a customer has a PoE switch then they can plug this AP directly into that and it will work perfectly and if they don’t have a PoE switch they do include a PoE injector in the box which they can use to power the device.
So thats the Xi-1, the next product in the portfolio if the Xclaim Xi-2, that’s a dual radio 11n access point, so that will support 2.4 and 5GHz concurrently, again its a two by two device. aggregate capacity of up to 600Mbps and again a single Gigabit PoE port.
And then the third product is our premium product in our indoor product line today that’s the Xclaim Xi-3 thats an 11ac access point that has an aggregate maximum throughput of just under 1.2Gbps and again comes with a Gigabit PoE port and standard 802.3 af support on the PoE front.
So thats the indoor product line and we also have an external product which I will tell you about, which is the Xo-1, which is what I mentioned previously. That is essentially an outdoor version of the Xi-3, so its an 11ac outdoor access point, just under 1.2Gbps of aggregate capacity.
All of the access points have internal antennas, both the 2.4 and 5GHz antennas, the one caveat so that is on an external product on the Xo-1, you do have the option of selecting to use an external 5GHz antenna, so it does a 5GHz antennas built in but if for any reason you wanted to put some alternative omnidirectional or directional external 5GHz antennas you then have the ability to do that.
One of the unique things about the product line is that we have a free to download app which will run on an Android or Apple ios device and you can monitor a network of Xclaim access points through this App which we call Harmony. So you basically have full ability to control a network of AP’s, theres not a PC in sight in terms of having to have a wireless LAN controller or download controller software loaded on a PC or anything like that so everything can be done through that management App.
Rob Mustarde, VP & General Manager at Xclaim: We are an 802.3af compliant product, so if your customer already has a PoE switch then a af switch is lower powered PoE switch and people are more likely to have from an install base standpoint af PoE switches and we support that so our AP will run very happily from that and with Ubiquiti you would have to replace your PoE switching if you’re running off a PoE switch.
The Ubiquiti products is also 60% more expensive, we retail our product for $299 dollars where Ubiquti retails thiers at $489.
Then from a customer view, if you look at that dimensions and size of the product they are about half the weight and half the physical size of the Ubiquiti products, so just ease of use in terms of mounting the product and how intrusive it is in the environment your locating it is also very important. So that covers a number of thoughts people may want to think about we deciding which product to buy.
4Gon: Thanks Rob, that leads me on to my next question. There is a lot of competition already in the small business wireless industry. What stands Xclaim apart from rival companies such as Ubiquiti with their UniFi range, with their Ubiquiti UniFi UAP, Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-PRO, Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC products and the EnGenius AP range?
Rob Mustarde, VP & General Manager at Xclaim: Again I think rather than focussing on what we do vis-à-vis those specific vendors you’ve talked about, you have to look at what is the value that we’re bringing? And from a holistic standpoint, why should somebody, if they’re thinking about deploying WiFi, why should they use an Xclaim product line? I like to buttonhole it into 3 different areas.
First of all, small businesses at the end of the day are businesses, not consumers, so what we’ve done is we’ve produced products specific to the small business customer with a set of business class features and functions, whether it’s things like band steering or automatic traffic prioritization, airtime fairness, these are features and functions that we can get into that are very relevant to a small business and to making WiFi considerably better than you would get in a consumer environment, but we’ve implemented these features and functions in a manner which is very easy for a small business customer to use. One of the challenges that small businesses have is that they are not hugely technically savvy from a wifi standpoint, they just want to get a product that is very good at what it does, it is relevant to the environment that they have but is really really easy to use because they don’t typically have some kind of dedicated IT staff and are not going to be particularly technically savvy themselves. Some of them may be but many of them aren’t. So it’s just the right feature set for a small business customer.
We combine that with a price point which i don’t think anyone is going to complain about. If we want to be specific to the likes of EnGenius or Ubiquiti, then we’re typically the same price or 30, 40, 50% cheaper than the equivalent products from those other vendors, so I don’t think anyone is going to have any issues with the pricing of our products.
And then thirdly, it’s actually coming from a company, Ruckus Wireless, which is a recognized market leader in the enterprise space, so we’re up there with the fastest growing WiFi vendor for the last 4 or 5 years, A recognised market leader in both service provider and enterprise WiFi, which those other vendors aren’t. They may be recognised vendors but they aren’t recognised market leaders in enterprise class and service provider WiFi, tier 1 service provider WiFi, and we are. We’re now delivering that quality of products to the small business customer, so it’s the right feature set product , with ease of use at the right price from the right organisation. And that’s why people should consider the Xclaim product line.
4Gon: And finally considering Xclaim products are aimed at the small business market, are there any future plans for any new products, considering anything aimed at the enterprise market could encroach on Ruckus’ products?
Rob Mustarde, VP & General Manager at Xclaim: Yeah, one of the challenges bringing a product like this to market is that people will think ‘hey I’m now going to get a Ruckus Wireless product at a fraction of the price” and they are going to get a Ruckus Wireless product in terms of the fact that it’s developed by Ruckus Wireless and we stand behind the technology that we make, but when you get into the features and functions they are somewhat fundamentally different. I think at last count, there was something like over 1000 features and settings that you could control within a ZoneDirector and the ZoneFlex Access Point family that Ruckus has. We probably have more like 10 to 20 different things to play around with on the Xclaim product series. There is almost double orders of magnitude difference in terms of the things that you can play with, and those things do matter when a larger company gets hold of an Xclaim product line, they’re going to say ‘how do I do this and how do I do that?’ and the answer will be we don’t have that functionality on this product line and for a small business it’s not relevant. So we don’t burden the product with those things which will typically burden the cost and create more complexity in terms of deployment.
So to your point, we will be enhancing the product line over time, but we will enhance the product line always with an eye to what’s relevant for that entry level part of the market. So, for example we’d like to add social login capabilities. We think a lot of these things will be used in public access environments, bars, restaurants, cafes and things like that where you will make WiFi part of your offering to attract people to your premise, allow them to get onto your WiFi, a lot of people like to use things like their facebook credentials to log in. And in return whoever is offering the WiFi service to that coffee shop owner gets analytics about the clients who are accessing their network. So we will look to have that kind of capability amongst other things that we will add. It will be very important to us that there is clear blue water between this product line and the other product lines that Ruckus have to offer.
4Gon: That’s great and they sound like some really advanced future features for the Xclaim range so we look forward to the analytics part and that will really help small businesses develop even further.
So thanks for joining us to today Rob, the Xclaim product range is now available to purchase at 4Gon Solutions.
This has been a 4G Uncovered podcast, brought to you by 4Gon Solutions. For more information, please visit www.4gon.co.uk
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