For example, Rock Bottom wants to install devices that let customers pay the bill at their table with a credit card. That same device might play video and allow customers to leave comments and join a loyalty program, Jakoby said. The company wants to have the option to hook up some of those devices via Wi-Fi instead of running a cable to the table. Before business data such as payment information can flow over a restaurant's wireless LAN, it will have to be an enterprise-class network, he said. Customers could use their own smartphones and other Wi-Fi devices over the same network, because the system allows for eight different SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers), the names that appear for each visible network in an area.
Rock Bottom and its system integrator, OCx, picked the 7300 series because it offered that enterprise quality at a relatively low price, comparable to what bigger vendors such as Aruba and Cisco were charging for slower 802.11a/b/g gear, said OCx consultant Trinh Pham. Rock Bottom has deployed the gear as a test in two restaurants and found speeds as high as 200M bps, she said. One access point should be enough to cover each restaurant, but the company will deploy two so it can triangulate if necessary to find rogue access points, she said. The restaurants range from 5,000 to 15,000 square feet.
Ruckus' 7300 series units can be used as standalone access points or with a controller that manages multiple devices. Each is equipped with a USB port that can hold a dongle for a 3G or 4G wireless WAN (wide-area network) as the access point's primary link to the Internet or as a backup for wired Ethernet, Hanigal said. An access point with just a 3G uplink could be used for a purpose such as linking a temporary ticket kiosk at a music festival to the Internet, he said.