back to article Ruckus kicks off over directional Wi-Fi

Wi-fi co Ruckus reckons Netgear has been fitting its directional Wi-Fi technology to more routers than it ought, and has slapped the company with a patent-infringement suit. Netgear did have a licence for Ruckus's BeamFlex technology, but only for use in some of its RangeMax routers. Ruckus considers that the RangeMax WPN …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't Pringles have prior art on this?

  2. Marvin the Martian
    Black Helicopters

    12 antennae??

    How does that work? Point one in both orientations along the three principal axes --- good, that's 6. Now you have divided the world in 8 octants (+ or - along each of the 3 axes = 2^3=8), so optimal spreading is to put one in each (same as "NE" on a compass fits best between "N" and "E"). However, contrary to the compass now they are closer in some directions than in others...

    OK, forget this post -- just start with an imaginary, regular dodecahedron and put an antenna in the middle of each of its 12 surfaces, and you have them ideally spread out. This means that the final-bestest-model will have 20 antennae (on a regular icosahedron), while the earlier (unsold?) models must have had 4 (tetrahedron), 6 (my initial above, on a cube) and 8 (on the octahedron) --- there's no more platonic solids. Let's ignore the fact that we will always be in an anisotropic space (with the router at ground level, we'll rarely be far below it) so regular spacing of antennae is weird. Or can we move them around? Then all above is even more pointless...

    Or they should forge ahead, and make a 60-antenna model (on an imaginary Fullerene, i.e. football surface)! Hm hm yes, that ought to do it (in a nearly-regular way) .... [walks off muttering about fabrication of doomsday devices]...

    Where's the prof. Farnsworth icon when you need it?

  3. Ross Ryles

    Obvious and Poor

    Surely this method is obvious to someone skilled in the art? Surely they can design something better too - phased arrays where invented in WW2!

    More proof that patents impede innovation.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There's more to this than just being directional. The firmware in the router and compatible devices monitors the signals received and detects reflections from nearby surfaces, eg a wall. It then adjusts the timings of the signals from all antennas in real time to compensate and this take advantage of the reflections.

    The upside is that dead spots caused by surface reflections can be utilised to increase signal strength instead. The downside is that that all the hardware has to support the technology. If any device on the network doesn't, then it has to fall back to standard operation. Thus the claim that "rangemax eliminates dead spots" is not true per se, but unfortunately it's marketed that way.

  5. A J Stiles

    last time I checked

    Last time I checked the rules for patents, obviety was grounds for refusal. And what this thing does ought to be obvious to anyone who understands RF.

    Netgear should challenge the validity of the patent.

  6. Derek Brabrook

    you're right of course

    They do, but the early adopters of the technology are now too fat to swing the antenna around ;¬)

  7. James Henstridge

    Re: 12 antennae??

    Note that for wi-fi some directions are more important than others. As an example, an antenna pointed straight up is less likely to be optimal than one pointing out horizontally.

    If you're going to use 12 antennas it would make sense to have more of them pointing out horizontally than those pointing up or down.

  8. brian

    Next on the list

    They'll undoubtably be suing this next

    because it doesn't get much more directional than that....

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Jammers and Tin-Foil 4TW !

    stuff the antenna's, just get a bigger Jammer :)

    mines the crinkly foil one......


  10. A J Stiles

    Antennas vs antennae

    Nobody seems to have pointed this out yet, but:

    Loan words follow the pluralisation rules from the donor language. However, when a loan word acquires a new meaning, it is then treated as though it were an English word and therefore follows English pluralisation rules in its new meaning.

    Hence beetles have antennae, but wireless sets have antennas.

    The only small exception is small, covert radio transmitters -- because, of course, they are bugs.

  11. Herby

    Cell phone antenna[e|s] are like this

    Just go and look at the local tower. Directionality abounds at a lower frequency (not by much!) than the WiFi stuff.

    Pretty obvious if you ask me!

  12. Nigel



    I have just applied for a patent for 'walking from point A to point B by the most direct route possible'. Given the above, I'm pretty sure that it will be awarded without question and you will all be obliged to take a pointless detour while walking to ensure you dont infringe my patient!

    I do so wish that the people in these patent offices actually lived in the real world!


  13. Merlin

    Patent people

    "The people in these patent offices" do live in the real world, where what looks stupid to us is OK as long as someone can make a profit out of it. Plus those same people may be looking for new jobs in the future and may well end up working for companies that they granted stupid patents to. I wonder how often that happens?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ A J Styles Animal vs Mineral

    "Hence beetles have antennae, but wireless sets have antennas."

    With that in mind, is it several computer mouses or mice?

  15. Robin A. Flood
    IT Angle

    This is getting silly. Interesting, but silly.

    Neither, it's meece or meeces. Don't you ever watch Tom and Jerry ? Back to subject. You can make a pretty good directional wifi antenna with an old windscreen wiper motor to steer it. An acoustic mike will log onto your persistant cough and follow you round the room with your PDA or laptop...hey ! Let me out of here ! Who turned the lights off ? Why did that Boeing 777 land short......?

  16. Roger Stenning

    ye gods. what rot.

    as mentioned above, directional antennas, and stacking them using phased array feeding, is nothing new or even technologically advanced - it's pretty medium-complex on the by-hand maths, but computer modelling of phased array masts etc have been around for ages anyhow - some are even freeware. Radio Amateurs know how to stack multiple antennas too, and have done since shortly after Marconi made the hobby popular. The only difference here is probably the use of multiple parabolic aerials, and thats not new either - what have telcos and the television businesses been using for microwave linkages for all these years, after all?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What the hell are you supposed to be going on about? You are assuming they align along the 3 major axes, noone said they were doing so.

    360deg / 12 antennas = 30 degrees each. Sorted.

    So shut up trying to sound clever.


    I think they are horizonal as such, the first units like this they released had no antennas protruding out of the top.


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