Poll: Which wireless vendor would you choose?

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Wireless Networks Thread, Poll - which wireless? in Technical; Scenario: Large(1400) secondary on the cusp of operating BYOD with some 500 wireless owned school laptops (All Windows 7). So, ...
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    Paid_Peanuts's Avatar
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    Post Poll - which wireless?

    Scenario: Large(1400) secondary on the cusp of operating BYOD with some 500 wireless owned school laptops (All Windows 7).

    So, if you were faced with replacing your wireless this summer what would your choice be?
    What vendors would you choose and why and would you still plump for N or go with the less tried and tested AC varients from the likes of Aruba/Ruckus/Meru?

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    Surely you'd evaluate them all and see which one fitted your requirements best?

    Sorry, slightly facetious answer there.

    In all seriousness I'd look at all options - draw up a specification and see what fits best, then look at customer reference sites, talk to them and make sure it does what they claim. Then lastly get them to do a small scale PoC on site to make sure it's going to work.
    You're likely to be spending a fair few pennies on this so worth their while.
    Last edited by pantscat; 23rd May 2014 at 02:24 PM.

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    1400 students and BYOD would mean you would probably want to look at the true enterprise class wireless products and stay away from the likes of Ubiquiti etc.

    I would be talking to people like Aruba, Meru and Extreme.

    Also for most schools pervasive AC is going to be overkill. I would say that a predominantly N environment with maybe AC in the particularly dense areas would suffice.

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    Ant
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    I voted Ruckus as it's what we have here and I have been very impressed it.

    Once configured, I've hardly had to do any management and ticks along nicely. The APs we have are N and not yet AC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pantscat View Post
    Surely you'd evaluate them all and see which one fitted your requirements best?
    That I am doing, the school has the same floor plan over 3 floors, 80 classrooms, not many communal areas.
    I have had "speeches" from all the big players in the market and been told why they are so much better than every other offering. I have had kit in to test, but without really turning off our old kit, putting in some 50 access points, connecting everyone up to the new test kit and stress testing it then demo'ing the kit is pretty useless other than to have a play with any interfaces.

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    Unifi Pros here about 33 APs, went with them because budget, happy with them - a lot better than the netgear we had.

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    Two schools with Ruckus here, since they have been in I havent had to do anything and thats in nearly four years

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    Joanne's Avatar
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    I'm all for the Ruckus. Fitted it in numerous schools in my old job (primary and secondary) and I'm getting it here in my new job. Also have a look at Meraki. They are good with the cloud based controller and whatnot... or does that come under Cisco?

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    browolf's Avatar
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    we have 1600 students and a guest wireless on ruckus and it works fine.

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    Personally, I'd find 3-4 independent retailers willing to come in and do full wireless surveys and have them recommend kit based on their findings and your projected usage model. Ideally I'd ask the reatilers to quote for atleast 2 if not 3 different solutions and then get them to recommend their favourite stating why.

    Or atleast that's the strategy I'm gonna follow here if the budget ever gets approved.

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    Voted for Xirrus as its what we have in place here - I have 19 arrays here covering the whole site, never have any issues and performance / coverage is great. Currently using a mixture of Windows and iOS devices.

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    Id Vote for Ubiquiti for cost and Ruckus if I had any budget

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    IME, any Enterprise wireless will deliver what you need if the site survey's done right and the supplier talks to you and knows what they're doing. 99% of wireless installs I've had described to me as being bad are bad because someone has done something wrong. Including buying the wrong kit for the job, whether that's cheapo consumer routers or incredibly high spec stuff in the wrong environment. Bad site surveys, too - we've just had a vendor "specialist" nominally do one for a potential customer, and he might as well not have bothered.
    So, I'd agree totally with pantscat - talk to people locally who can do the job. Note what flavour of stuff they want to sell (should be on their website), and take that into account. Ask about reference sites, and talk to them direct.
    Take a look here: Wireless Access Point Comparison - Best Enterprise and Home WAPs It's an American site, but the only place I've found that gives independent ratings of a wide range of APs.
    And also, the fact that vendor X made bad products once doesn't mean they still do...
    And finally, 802.11ac isn't in many devices that you're going to have yet, it's new tech and therefore will cost more than 802.11n, and so put it in your plan for a refresh in three or four years...

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    Quote Originally Posted by petertec View Post
    1400 students and BYOD would mean you would probably want to look at the true enterprise class wireless products and stay away from the likes of Ubiquiti etc.

    I would be talking to people like Aruba, Meru and Extreme.

    Also for most schools pervasive AC is going to be overkill. I would say that a predominantly N environment with maybe AC in the particularly dense areas would suffice.

    Interested to hear why you (or anyone else) would avoid Ubiquiti Unifi for this scenario? I'm in a similar scenario to Paid_Peanuts and Unifi is a solution under serious consideration.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paid_Peanuts View Post
    Scenario: Large(1400) secondary on the cusp of operating BYOD with some 500 wireless owned school laptops (All Windows 7).

    So, if you were faced with replacing your wireless this summer what would your choice be?
    What vendors would you choose and why and would you still plump for N or go with the less tried and tested AC varients from the likes of Aruba/Ruckus/Meru?
    If any school is on the cusp of operating a BYOD solution they should look at a solution like onBoarder as well as the wireless provisioning.

    It is one tool for delivering network services, secure radius authentication and transparent proxy services making any network managers life a little easier.
    Whether its a simple secure Guest deployment or full BYOD with active directory integration, onBoarder has all the tools to successfully deploy and monitor the new network. With its onboard proxy service users can connect to the network without the need for proxy settings or downloading profiles or wpad files. onBoarder works with your inhouse or upstream filtering to ensure that filtering policies are being applied to the devices.

    It was developed working with Ruckus but will it will work with wireless solutions from other providers too. We have it deployed in large secondaries with similar usage patterns to yours.

    We have installed several of the wireless poll choices in schools and i have no hesitation in recommending Ruckus for your wireless.

    A word of caution for AC. Their will soon be two types of AC ratified so you will have to decide what route you go down as they will not be compatible. Phase two is looking a better option at the moment. You will also need to be very careful when buying new equipment to work on AC. You will need multi-spacial stream wireless cards installed which can really push the price of laptops etc to the point of unaffordable for schools.
    Site wide deployment of AC can be self defeating with interference problems. It can be great in a dense high usage area such as a hall or lecture theatre and can integrate with a standard wireless deployment.

    AC is a really big can of worms and there are too many people trying to sell it for the sake of selling it. Get some good advice from a wireless specialist first. Contact us direct if you want to know more.

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