Pacific Seafood Finds Better Wi-Fi Helps Deliver More Fish Faster
SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Ruckus Wireless(TM) today announced that it has been selected by Pacific Seafood, one of the nation’s leading seafood processing and distribution companies, to provide Smart 802.11n wireless LAN (WLAN) products and technology across its enterprise to support warehouse, inventory, trading and back office applications.
Pacific Seafood has now standardized on the Ruckus ZoneFlex(TM) 802.11n WLAN system including indoor dual-band ZoneFlex 7962 access points (APs), outdoor dual-band ZoneFlex 7762 APs as well as long-range 802.11n (5 GHz) point-to-point/multipoint ZoneFlex 7731 bridges. The indoor/outdoor WLAN is centrally managed by the Ruckus ZoneDirector Smart WLAN control system. Pacific Seafood is deploying the new Smart Wi-Fi network to support up to 3,000 workers across its vast operations, spanning 30 different locations from Alaska to Texas.
Based on the 802.11n wireless standard combined with patented adaptive antenna array technology, the advanced wireless network is being used to support a broad range of devices such as Wi-Fi-enabled handheld scanners, laptops, and custom computerized mobile “robots” used to support Pacific Seafood’s inventory management system.
By enabling more ubiquitous and reliable network connectivity, the new Smart WLAN is helping Pacific Seafood to boost operational efficiency and user productivity across its remote sites that include distribution centers, fish farms, processing and trading businesses.
“At certain times of the day, we’d literally experience a meltdown of our legacy wireless network as workers rushed to a bank of microwaves that then annihilated the RF spectrum,” said Nathan Wiegand, network technician for Pacific Seafood, based in Clackamas, Oregon. “We had critical sales people doing millions of dollars of sales everyday losing connectivity several times a day.”
Wiegand added that due to the latency-sensitive nature of its inventory management system used throughout its large warehouses, if the wireless network coverage or performance fluctuated, sessions would be dropped forcing users to reconnect later.
“We had to move to a more reliable wireless indoor and outdoor infrastructure that could be easily managed and scaled,” he said. “The problem was that most of the wireless systems out there didn’t really address physical layer RF issues that cause these connectivity problems to begin with. They only really add value once the users are connected. But we needed reliable client connectivity first and foremost.”
Pacific Seafood uses the new Ruckus WLAN to support a number of applications and devices. Staff in production plants, for instance, use Wi-Fi-enabled Motorola MC9090-G and MC9060-G handheld barcode scanners to track on what boat different seafood is caught, where the fish is caught, the time of the catch, where and when the fish is processed as well as other vital product information.
Ruckus ZoneFlex 7762s provide full coverage throughout its warehouses and docks where workers track the lifecycle of its products as they enter and exit production. In its corporate offices, dual-band ZoneFlex 7962s provide interference mitigation and band steering to ensure consistent and reliable client connections.
“Wireless has always been a sore point for us because of the diversity of our business, applications, users and devices – but we see it as an essential element to making our company more productive,” said Wiegand. “Our goal was to cost-effectively migrate from 802.11g to 802.11n but with a more reliable Wi-Fi technology that could deal with and adapt to constantly changing environments. Since we don’t have IT people at every site, the new wireless system had to be robust, easy to deploy and simple to remotely manage. This was a combination that was hard to find.”
Now installed, the new ZoneFlex 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi infrastructure is now providing a four-fold increase in performance with 40 percent fewer APs – replacing legacy 802.11g technology that was previously installed. Ruckus ZoneDirector controllers sit out of the data path and provide a single point for control and management for each local site where deployed.
According to Pacific Seafood, alternative wireless solutions from Cisco, Aruba and others required nearly twice as many APs at twice the cost and provided no way to automatically avoid interference, obstacles and other wireless problems that negatively affect signal range and wireless performance. “We were looking for a best of breed system that could address indoor and outdoor requirements with purpose-built APs that simply went beyond the vanilla enterprise Wi-Fi you get from the leading vendors,” said Wiegand.
Needed: Wireless That Just Works
According to Pacific Seafood, simplified central management, cost, consistency, coverage and complexity were the top five wireless concerns driving them to look for more advanced Wi-Fi solutions.
“Our single biggest issue was trying to remotely manage and troubleshoot wireless in sites where we don’t have IT staff,” said Wiegand. “With such a mix of different types of wireless equipment out there, there was no way of knowing what’s going on with wireless at our different sites.” Erratic wireless performance was another bothersome problem.
Unlike other enterprise APs, each Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi AP integrates an intelligent antenna array that focuses RF energy only where it is required, constantly steering Wi-Fi signals around interference and obstacles as the environment changes. In addition, the ZoneFlex dual-band 802.11n system automatically steers clients to available and “clean” bands, thereby mitigating interference and high-user capacity issues.
Because Ruckus ZoneFlex APs can be deployed with or without controllers, Pacific Seafood can deploy standalone APs in remote locations where a wireless controller or a complete WLAN system can’t be justified. Wiegand noted that the dual-band Wi-Fi APs allow support for future video applications such as IP cameras used for security surveillance or trouble shooting operational issues in warehouses and processing plants.
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About Ruckus Wireless, Inc.
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Ruckus Wireless is a manufacturer of advanced “Smart Wi-Fi” technology and wireless LAN (WLAN) systems used by enterprises and carriers around the world. Ranked as the top telecom company in the 2009 Inc. 500 list and named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, Ruckus has developed patented technology that uniquely extends signal range and allows for consistently reliable distribution of delay-sensitive multimedia content and services over standard 802.11 Wi-Fi. Its flagship product line, ZoneFlex, is the first centralized wireless LAN system to combine state-of-the-art Wi-Fi smart antenna arrays and wireless meshing to deliver maximum range and reliable performance at the lowest cost. Leading broadband operators use its MediaFlex multimedia routers to extend wireless digital services such as IPTV throughout subscribers’ homes worldwide. Ruckus has raised approximately $39 million from premier investors such as Motorola, T-Ventures, Telus, Sutter Hill Ventures, Mitsui, Sequoia Capital and others. Ruckus Wireless is led by Ms Selina Lo, president and chief executive officer. For more information, visit Ruckus Wireless at http://www.ruckuswireless.com
About Pacific Seafood
Pacific Seafood Group is a West Coast seafood processing company that launched in 1941 as a small, fresh seafood retail operation in Portland, Ore. Over the years, the family-owned business expanded to become a vertically integrated seafood processing and distributing company to meet customers` needs and a growing market. Pacific Seafood processes seafood products from Alaska to Mexico, has facilities in seven Western states and participates in the global seafood trade market. It is a member of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association and is active in promoting a healthy and sustainable seafood industry by supporting fisheries awarded Marine Stewardship Council eco-labels. Pacific Seafood is under the leadership of Frank Dulcich, the founder`s namesake and grandson, who will be president of the National Fisheries Institute in 2011. For more information visit: www.pacseafood.com.
SOURCE Ruckus Wireless