Japan’s Kansai International Airport Selects Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi

Ruckus Wireless, Inc.(NYSE: RKUS) announced today that Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products and technology have been chosen by Kansai International Airport (KIX) to provide free public Wi-Fi service for international travelers. KIX has deployed over 100 Ruckus ZoneFlex™ dual-band indoor access points(APs), centrally managed using two Ruckus ZoneDirector™ 3000 Series Smart Wireless LAN (WLAN) controllers, to effectively cover high-density public areas throughout the airport where travelers gather. The new Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network at KIX serves more than 50,000 travelers every day.

Situated on an artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay, KIX connects Japan’s Kansai area to the world. It handled more than 140,000 planes and over 19 million travelers in 2013. Among three airports located in the Kansai area, only KIX has regular international flights, and thus is contributing to an overall increasing use of Japan’s airports by international travelers.

Tablet and smartphone adoption in Japan have been undergoing explosive growth. Tablet ownership is expected to grow by 164 percent, from 7.13 million in 2013 to 11.7 million in 2016 (per ICT Research & Consulting data, 2014), and smartphone subscribership is expected to exceed 100 million in 2019 (per MM Research Institute data, 2014). Also, usage of Wi-Fi is growing as consumers are accessing more multi-media content, and as more applications are transitioning to the cloud.

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Kansai International Airport first offered free public Wi-Fi service to travelers with autonomously managed Wi-Fi access points. Due to the explosive growth of mobile devices and travelers’ increasing desire to be able to stay online everywhere, it soon became unable to keep up with demand. Also, the Airport found it difficult to monitor these legacy access points and usage. Therefore, they reached a conclusion that a new WLAN network infrastructure solution was an essential amenity for international aviation hubs like KIX in order to best serve its travelers. KIX began their new Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network project in 2012, aimed at providing reliable, high-density connectivity in order to achieve a much better user experience terminal-wide.

When the selection process started in 2012, KIX and its partner were considering other vendors. As the selection process of several products moved forward, Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi showed its strength in performance tests.  Patented technologies such as Ruckus BeamFlex™ adaptive antenna technology, embedded in Ruckus ZoneFlex access points, impressed KIX officials with its ability to provide superior connections, avoid radio frequency (RF) interference, and offer excellent coverage.

Additional Ruckus technologies such as ChannelFly™ dynamic channel management technology further enhance the user experience, leveraging patented principles from BeamFlex to learn and select the best radio frequency (RF) channel to provide the most throughput RF, based on capacity averages across all channels. The KIX Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network helps to optimize WLAN performance by covering a wider area and providing more access.

The new, free public Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi service at Kansai International Airport covers all major public areas of the Airport, including arrival and departure halls, shopping areas, and boarding gates. Since its introduction, KIX’s new Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network connects up to 700-800 users at any given time of the day. Accessing the new network is simple, too. Upon connecting to the free Wi-Fi service in KIX, travelers are automatically directed to a service access portal. Travelers then just need to agree to the usage terms and conditions with a single click—no additional registration or entering a login name or password is required.

Mr. Hideyuki Moriike, Sub-Leader, System Support 2nd Group, System Service Department of KIA Information and Communications Network Co., Ltd. says, “Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi exceeded our expectations. It covers a much broader range and provides more connectivity to much more devices than the old Wi-Fi network. When comparing it with other vendors’ offerings, Ruckus provided the same coverage and was able to connect more clients using up to 30 percent fewer access points. Ruckus client balancing capabilities can intelligently steer client devices to connect with other access points nearby, when access points reach a pre-defined capacity usage. This helps us to inject more capacity by adding more APs and spread the connecting clients across access points within range.”

Currently, the new network is being used by airport users and visitors for free public Wi-Fi access. However, KIX is discussing plans to utilize it for airport staff use for various airport operations functions. For example, tablets are currently used at airport information centers and counters, and KIX is considering connecting these tablets to existing operational systems through the new network for more seamless internal operations, in addition to providing things like flight information to travelers.

Moriike concludes, “We are very satisfied with our wireless network, built using Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi.”

Amol Wagh

Author of Game Marketing Book: Market Your Indie Game Like A Pro! 7 years of Tech Blogging & Digital Marketing. Co-founder at Dotline Inc & a Gamer. Follow me on Twitter @amolwagh, @amol.wagh