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Smart Mesh Networking
The First Intelligent Indoor 802.11 Meshing for Building Low-Cost, High-Performance, Ultra-Reliable Wireless LANs.

Think about it: you typically have to run wires to access points to enable a wireless LAN (WLAN). That didn't sound right to us, either. So RUCKUS developed their unique SmartMesh Networking approach.

With SmartMesh Networking, you reduce cumbersome RF planning and costly cable backhaul, as Ethernet wiring is no longer needed to connect to individual access points. Enterprise WLAN deployment becomes dramatically faster, simpler, and less costly, as access points are simply plugged into any convenient power source. No extensive RF site surveys, cable runs, configuration, or optimization adjustments are required.

SmartMesh Networking is the first Wi-Fi meshing approach that combines high-gain smart antenna arrays, sophisticated RF routing, and centralized management in a single WLAN system. And it extends Smart Wi-Fi technology to create a new class of reliable WLANs that are self-organizing, self-optimizing, and self-healing.

SmartMesh Networking:

The First Intelligent 802.11 Meshing for Building Low Cost, High Performance, and Ultra-Reliable Wireless LANs

RUCKUS Networks Smart Mesh Networking is a unique, new approach to building high-performance wireless LANs (WLANs). It reduces cumbersome RF planning and costly cable backhaul by lowering the need to run Ethernet wiring to individual ZoneFlex™ Smart Wi-Fi access points.

Smart Mesh Networking dramatically simplifies, speeds and reduces the cost of WLAN deployment. With Smart Mesh Networking, enterprises now simply plug ZoneFlex access points into any convenient power source, and walk away. No extensive RF site surveys, cable runs, configuration, or optimization adjustments are required.

RUCKUS Hybrid Mesh also allows APs to be connected by Ethernet to remote mesh nodes. Forming new trees in the middle of the mesh, Hybrid Mesh takes advantage of spectrum reuse to increase system capacity while expanding the mesh. APs automatically determine their role in the mesh, and automatically react to topology changes.

Proven in the largest outdoor mesh installation in the world, Smart Mesh Networking delivers three key ingredients that have previously hindered the use of indoor meshing:

  1. High performance by combining 802.11n with smart Wi-Fi technology
  2. Reliable connectivity between mesh nodes, using best path selection and interference avoidance techniques
  3. Ultra-simple deployment through the automation of AP and mesh provisioning

SmartMesh extends RUCKUS-patented Smart Wi-Fi technology to create a new class of reliable and high-performance wireless LANs that are selforganizing, self-optimizing and self-healing. It is the first Wi-Fi meshing approach that combines high-gain smart antenna arrays, sophisticated RF routing and centralized management with a single WLAN system.

SmartMesh Smart Wi- Fi technology diagram


  • Smart Mesh Networking dramatically lowers deployment costs
    Smart Mesh Networking eliminates costly Ethernet cabling to every Wi-Fi access point. Extended signal range from high-gain directional antenna arrays reduce the number of mesh APs typically required.
  • No RF experts required
    Smart Mesh Networking automatically determines the optimal network topology and maintains the best connections between APs.
  • Extended range minimizes mesh hops for high performance
    High-gain directional antenna arrays in every Smart Mesh Networking access point enable signals to reach farther to eliminate needless mesh hops that degrade performance.
  • Hybrid mesh architecture expands the mesh without reducing throughput
    APs can be connected by Ethernet to remote Mesh APs, forming new trees on new channels and eliminating the "halving of throughput" that happens when adding a hop.
  • Deploys in half the time of conventional 802.11 WLANs
    Smart Mesh Networking automates configuration, reducing Ethernet cabling and eliminating extensive RF planning, enabling Smart Mesh Networking WLANs to be deployed and operational in half the time of conventional WLANs.
  • Integrated interference avoidance ensures high reliability
    An intelligent antenna array in each ZoneFlex AP picks the best signal path for traffic at any given time and automatically steers signals around interference to ensure high availability of mesh links.
  • Automated deployment keeps things simple
    Configure the entire Smart Mesh Network in minutes from a central management system. Plug mesh APs into the network and the ZoneDirector™ automatically provisions all nodes.
  • Highly secure
    All mesh backhaul links between nodes are encrypted and hidden to ensure safe and secure operation.

Smart Wi-Fi Makes all the Difference

RUCKUS Smart Wi-Fi technology is used by the SmartMesh to form, direct and steer Wi-Fi signals over the best performing paths between mesh nodes, as well as to associated clients. This enables the SmartMesh to adapt in real time to environmental changes, ensuring highly reliable and available wireless trunk links.

Each ZoneFlex APs within the SmartMesh integrates an intelligent, high-gain antenna array that provides diversity and extended signal range. This ensures high performance by minimizing the number of mesh hops and reducing the number of mesh APs required.

Additionally, this same smart antenna array allows the SmartMesh to continuously choose from thousands of antenna patterns, to avoid or reject interference, and to maintain high performance connections between mesh nodes.

ZoneDirector Interface

How RUCKUS SmartMesh Works

With SmartMesh, each ZoneFlex AP functions as a wireless node within the mesh. SmartMesh uses antenna-ranking techniques to determine the best upstream path through the RF to the backhaul AP.

SmartMesh topology is automatically determined based on the potential throughput of each node. Potential throughput is the actual throughput of its uplink (i.e., how fast the uplink AP can get a packet to the wired network) as well as the potential throughput to the uplink AP. This is based on the actual throughput to the uplink AP, signal strength, and other considerations such as AP load and hop count.

Each AP in the mesh determines the best mesh node with which to associate. Each upstream ZoneFlex AP continually advertises its Smart Mesh characteristics including its own potential throughput and the path through which it is connected to the wired network. This allows other APs to make real-time topology decisions, reacting to any changes in the environment.

In the event of an AP failure or if an upstream path drops below a set performance threshold due to overloading or interference, a new path to the best performing AP is selected. This efficient “tree” topology minimizes convergence risks and latency while maximizing performance.

SmartMesh Antenna Pattern

Simple to Deploy

To enable SmartMesh administrators simply click a check box within the ZoneFlex Setup Wizard. Once the WLAN is configured, the administrator attaches the SmartMesh access points to the ZoneDirector for autoprovisioning. After provisioning is complete, the administrator can place the ZoneFlex APs virtually anywhere.

Once plugged into any power source, RUCKUS SmartMesh determines the optimal network topology and each ZoneFlex AP chooses the best mesh path back to a root AP.

Simple to Manage

All management of the SmartMesh is performed from the ZoneDirector. There, administrators can view a topology map of the mesh, see associated clients and make any desired changes.


  • Built on patented RUCKUS BeamFlex™ directional smart Wi-Fi antenna array technology
  • Centrally managed by RUCKUS ZoneDirector smart WLAN controller
  • Self-forming network topology
  • Automatic access point provisioning
  • Secure encrypted backhaul links
  • Self-healing around mesh AP failures and environmental problems
  • Flexible Hybrid Mesh topology
  • Supported on all RUCKUS ZoneFlex 802.11g and 802.11n smart Wi-Fi access points
  • Real-time interference avoidance and automatic interference rejection
  • Best path signal selection to clients
  • High quality of service and rate limiting throughout the mesh


Download the RUCKUS Smart Mesh Networking Datasheet (PDF).

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