A Look at Ruckus Wireless ZoneDirector Remote Control

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By now, it’s a given that a mobile workforce is a more connected, more productive workforce, and the same holds true for the IT workforce. To support this, vendors and application developers now offer a variety of mobile applications to support IT and network administrators on the go. Ruckus Wireless’s new Zone Director (ZD) Remote Control, announced last week, aims to simplify remote administration of Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks. While ZD Remote Control may prove a powerful tool, however, it doesn’t do everything. I spoke with Ruckus Wireless product manager Amit Rele to learn more.

Ruckus already offers a selection of mobile tools for WLAN management, including apps for Wi-Fi assessment, validation, and performance testing. Within the vendor’s mobile app suite, ZD Remote Control replaces Ruckus’s previous ZD Remote app.

According to a Ruckus Wireless statement, ZD Remote Control liberates WLAN administrators to perform many everyday tasks from their mobile devices, such as configure and edit Bonjour rules; configure and deploy new access points (APs) and WLANs; view client devices on the wireless network; and block client device access. The configurable dashboard provides a unified view of network, access point (AP), and controller status and activity and provides custom widgets and real-time Ruckus Smart WLAN monitoring capabilities.

Ruckus ZoneDirector Remote Control dashboard

Ruckus ZoneDirector Remote Control dashboard

ZD Remote Control is not meant to work as a standalone administrator solution, however. “Some tasks are just better off being done on a big screen,” Rele told me. Among the tasks Ruckus is not planning to include in ZD Remote Control are Radius Accounting setup, HotSpot Services, and syslog server configuration. Additionally, Rele explained that other tasks, such as the creation and editing of access control lists, are unsuitable for mobile due to their demand for “a lot of involved interaction with the UI, including entering in data” like IP or MAC addresses. These are “things I’d much rather do on a big screen and more importantly with a real keyboard to reduce the chances of error during data entry,” he said.

“For the average user, the mobile app would be a perfect fit for everyday tasks, but there are reasons why you would prefer to use other means, especially if you are a power networking guru,” Rele said.

Ruckus does plan to beef up ZD Remote Control’s capabilities in the future, though. Rele listed items like guest pass generation, targeted config changes, and broader device support as on the roadmap for the future.

For full functionality, Ruckus ZD Remote Control requires the new Ruckus ZoneFlex 9.7 software release on ZoneDirector controllers. It functions in monitoring-only mode for ZoneDirector controllers running older versions of the ZoneFlex OS. ZD Remote Control is available for free on the Apple App Store, with Android versions planned for 2014.

ENP editor Jude ChaoJude Chao is managing editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.

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