CPLTD (5th November 2013)
My how time flies when you're having fun. Here we are in November already, a full 2 months after the start of the academic year, and it's only now I've really got the time to say a few words about our wireless install over the Summer. Ahhh, those long gone Summer days....
So, through initial investigations I opted to trial Netgear (an update to our existing Netgear solution and recommended to us at the time by our then managed service support team), Aerohive, and lastly Ruckus.
All three carried out some kind of site survey, and yet only C-P-Ltd, the Ruckus reseller, came back with any alteration to our existing deployment of APs. They suggested we could cover it in less than 50 APs (and hence only have to pay for a 50 client licenced ZoneDirector). Given that two other resellers were telling me it would take more than 50 APs, I did have a slight amount of reserve on whether the few Ruckus would be up to the job... but how pleased I was to be proved wrong!
We ended up doing the whole school with just over 40 APs, leaving us some in reserve to kit out one of our partner schools. I think they call that a result.
It's hard to really gauge how kit will behave in the final judgement when you go fully site-wide, when you've been trialling with a couple of demo APs in one small area. Suffice to say they all worked without any problems, so I suppose you more look at whether the management of the wireless network is set at the right level. Too basic software management, you'll feel like you're lacking control; too fiddly and you will just be lost in a sea of mostly overkill options and settings. Oh yeah, lest I forget, cost and keeping within budget loomed large over all of this!
With the option to self-install then, the Ruckus kit came in the cheapest. Not only that, but even if it had been a grand or two more than option B (Aerohive), we would probably still have gone with it. I come back again here to the management (ZoneDirector) catering to your needs. No more, no less.
Anyway, I lost count of the amount of pestering emails I sent the way of Joe at C-P-Ltd, asking for clarification when... well, I wasn't clear on something! Or when I needed the umpteenth alteration to the quote based on late information coming to me from on high in the school. All in all, a thoroughly pleasant and personable experience to deal with those highly knowledgeable guys, so they come with a big Fonz style thumbs up from me!
Gone are the bad old days of clients dropping off for no apparent reason; roaming problems; APs needing a reboot every few days; sluggish speeds on profile loads or say, a SIMS update. I'd heard it said a few times when I was researching which solution to go with, but the Ruckus kit is rock solid, just running quietly in the background without any interference from us in support. Wireless isn't something I want to have to spend my
time constantly monitoring and fussing over.
Now, we only have one outstanding issue: that of Guest access, as we can't use transparent proxy with our provider. They use Smoothwall and have told us transparent proxies are *not* allowed.
It's not urgent at present, and there is a high chance that we will be moving internet provider soon anyway and potentially gaining the ability to use transparent proxy, but if anyone does have any
helpful advice on this?... (yes I've seen the other posts relating to this but haven't been able to make anything work for us yet using wpad and pac files)
CPLTD (5th November 2013)
I think smoothwall had a feature where it could take user details off the wireless system if using ldap username and password logon for guests. I could be hallucinating that though.
Anyhow congrats on your upgrade, netgear to ruckus must be like time traveling into the future (having had dealings with both).
Yeah I'm pretty sure I heard something along the lines of the Smoothwall box pulling information (IP / Username / MAC address) from a RADIUS accounting server(does not need to be an 802.1x authenticated WLAN) and using them to authenticate the user. Either that or the Smoothwall actually does the RADIUS accounting too.
There is a way.
Glad you love your Ruckus. You'd be barking mad not to!
My Ruckus is solid, but the one thing I haven't got my head around fully is the guest access. I appreciate the overall stability though.
Just to add, if you have any advice for me Stuart, I'd appreciate a chat with you sometime.
Last edited by catch21; 6th November 2013 at 12:34 PM.
@LeonDan Gald to hear Ruckus is proving a good solution for you. We've had guest access working here in the past when behind a proxy. Wpad and pac files are what you need but to be 100% honest, it's not at all perfect.
I wrote a couple of blog posts about our experiences... WPAD | IrritableTech
If you move ISPs be aware that proxies whether transparent or not, do cause additional issues for devices you can't control. If you can avoid the proxy issue - which we've now done - it's so much easier for your guests.
Ruckus here is solid too!
Been here 3 years and only had to reboot the zone director once. Not had to do anything else.
All very encouraging I must say!
IrritableTech, I'll take a look at the blog to see if it can offer me up some assistance.
And noted about the transparent proxies.
The Smoothwall is totally outside of our control and off-site, so I don't have the opportunity to set up any particular settings to suite us.
There was talk of getting one in here to demo, long-term (a year had been mentioned), so maybe I can pick up the scent on that old trail again.
Another very satisfied Ruckus and @CPLTD Customer for many years here too! With plans to expand the Wi-Fi coverage too!
Joe is a legend...he's there for you long-term and not just for the immediate sales pitch or promotion.
CPLTD (7th November 2013)
MYK-IT (7th November 2013)
We use smoothwall transparently on our guest network (although using aruba wireless).
Still looking for a nice way to integrate it with active directory logons instead of manually adding users to our captive portal.
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