Ruckus vs the World.
Will Wave 2 of 802.11ac minimize Ruckus Wireless' advantage? | Network World
We found that Ruckus gear was far more forgiving with certain wnics in the 2.4ghz band when we ran head to heads. Unless you're planning on replacing a load of clients at the same time always test the gear with the clients you expect to be running with the system (and a range of randoms too if at all possible). E.g. if you have 500 of laptop model X that aren't going to be replaced for another 4 years get the ones that work best with those.
Last edited by jtotheb; 16th June 2014 at 01:04 PM. Reason: Typo
Would you mind sharing your contact information with me via PM? I have dropped you a message, and would be keen to work with you to get to the bottom of your issues.
On the subject of 11ac, it is interesting that some wireless vendors are playing down 802.11ac and its benefits in 'Wave 1'. Generally, this is because the benefit of 11ac at this point comes from 80MHz wide channels, and multi-channel architectures have issues deploying with the wider channel widths.
Consider a vendor recommending 40MHz channel width vs an 802.11n solution:
1x1:1 11n @ 40Mhz = ~ 150Mbps
1x1:1 11ac @ 40Mhz = ~ 200Mbps
Multiply this up as the spatial streams increase, but you are only seeing a 30% uplift in moving to 11ac. Not a massive improvement when using 40MHz channels.
Now think about an 80MHz 802.11ac solution vs the same 11n solution:
1x1:1 11n @ 40MHz = ~ 150Mbps
1x1:1 11ac @ 80MHz = ~ 433Mbps
This is almost 300% of the performance of the 11n solution - a real benefit to 802.11ac today. Again, multiply up as you increase the number of spatial streams.
With regards to Meru and needing to pass the traffic through the controller, this isn't the case and hasn't been for many many years. There are many implementations of Meru utilising centralised (datacentre deployed) controllers with AP's in schools, these wouldn't be possible without the ability for the AP to bridge data locally. Each ESS Profile/SSID can be uniquely configured for distributed/bridged or tunnelled dataplane mode depending on requirement.
I guess my question is, if you are deploying WiFi today, why would you choose a 7 year old technology/standard? It's your call, but there are a few things I think are important to consider.
Firstly, although the standard was only ratified this year, on average I am seeing 7-12% of devices being 802.11ac in public events. Apple and Samsung are committed to 11ac as is evident in their latest hardware. The next generation of iPad and iPhone are expected to be sporting 11ac chipsets, and Samsung is now shipping MIMO 11ac chipsets in it's latest hardware. Dell, HP and Lenovo among others are now shipping 11ac chipsets in their newer laptops. Predictions I've seen from chip vendors such as Broadcom, are that they'll be shipping almost only 11ac chipsets by the end of the year.
Secondly, multiple vendors are reporting improved performance for legacy/802.11n client devices - of upto 40 percent depending on the client chipset. This offers a large increase in performance without the use of 802.11ac client chipsets.
Thirdly, 802.11ac is coming in with little or no price uplift over 11n (for enterprise vendors as a whole). With this in mind, I again find it hard to understand the choice of an older 11n technology.
It is entirely your choice as to which technology you choose, but I hope you take a good look at what is out there and listen to all sides of the story - my advice would be 11ac regardless of which vendor you choose, and don't forget that you are looking to support your clients for the coming 3-5 years (depending on your purchasing cycle) and that you need to consider what your aims are for teaching and learning in that time (including BYOD, which will certainly bring a plethora of 11ac devices to your network).
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I think that spread highlights my biggest problem with MERU, the technology lifespan. We are now struggling to source the AP's we need to complete because they are no longer in production. We had to upgrade the original controller last year because we wouldn't be able to buy a partner controller for failover because they went out of production and the new controllers don't work together. So there is no commitment by MERU to longevity of the equipment or backward compatibility and in a School environment where we want 5+ years from the system (and that's 5+ years from now, not 3 years ago), that is perhaps undesirable (and if you do a phased deployment makes it difficult to manage the risk).
We haven't seen any usability issues with the system specifically, it seems to work well and where required supports the density of clients we need. However if I was choosing again, I doubt I would choose MERU - not on technical grounds but on value and quality of supply. That said, are the other suppliers any better in this respect?
Last edited by pcstru; 17th June 2014 at 07:48 AM.
However I am sure that is the same for any supplier, I'm not sure any wireless technology will have the life spam of the trusty old Netgear DG834.
Still for me this pricing is going to be very interesting, Have not ruled out Meru at this stage but the Ruckus seems more attractive proposition.
It's not that they are trying to push leasing per-say but wireless tech works better if it is all of the same generation. (*)
N went through at least three generations of silicon and is onto its fourth. If you look about here you will see plenty of people being caught out by vendors end of life-ing kit. Meru and Ruckus included.
I can't speak for Ruckus, but Meru have certainly been very helpful to us around our controller end of life.
I have noticed that most people who have problems be they technical or kit life cycle related have been playing with the lower cost systems, controllers, and AP's, trying to find a bargain. There is a point in a product's life cycle where the kit gets very cheap as the vendor tries to reduce the stock they are holding ahead of introducing the replacement... It is this kit that may have a shorter life-time from the perspective of the individual customer, who finds out that twelve months later they can't buy any more, and that they can't get the latest and greatest features. My advice: do not skimp on the AP's, with the move to virtualisation, controllers are easy and cheap to solve... However if you make a bad choice with 50+ AP's your stuck with that decision for a long time.
(*) and it helps their revenue figures.
We are only looking at 15 - 20 AP's which isn't as large an investment, only being a small site. As you rightly say the Ruckus Solution is using their mid range zoneflex 7372. I have tried researching online but cannot find any pointers as to when it first hit the market or any information on its life span. Being as the quote we have had is very low I tend to belive it could be end of life sooner rather than later. However, I have balance a very tight budget, A network that needs improvement everywhere due to years of under investment and a complete change in policy and direction within ICT at the school.
This is going to be a much harder decision than the Core and Edge switching project. I don't want to invest poorly, on the same hand I don't want to dive into an AC rich environment meaning I have to take money away from either the Core network or Virtualisation next year, A great wireless network with Bottle necks, or a great core with old wireless. I suppose these are the decisions we are paid to take, and we have to live by the sword as they say.
Last edited by TheRobins; 17th June 2014 at 01:54 PM.
Last edited by jtotheb; 17th June 2014 at 03:39 PM.
There really isn't much of a problem with Ruckus EOLing your APs. The Zone Director controller can use a mix of APs just fine and the current generation controllers can support both 802.11n and 802.11ac without any issues. The only "problem" you might run into is if you go with the bottom end ZD as they do tend to EOL these much more quickly than the bigger controllers. We purchased a ZD1000 a few years ago and had to do a trade-in for a ZD1100 after 3 years because the ZD1000 couldn't handle firmware versions 9.5+ The cost of upgrading was minimal though and if we had gone with the ZD3000 or ZD5000 we would still be fine after nearly 5 years.
Ruckus usually offers some buyback programs that are pretty good when products do go EOL:
Pricing, Availability and New 802.11ac Buy Up Program
Now shipping worldwide, the new Ruckus ZoneFlex R700 is priced at $1,295 (USD).
Ruckus is also offering a special 802.11ac Buy Up Program. Under the Program, customers that have previously purchased a qualifying Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi indoor access point (products include the ZoneFlex 7363, 7372, 7982, and 7962) between May 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014 can purchase the equivalent number of new Ruckus ZoneFlex R700 access points for $499 (USD) each, if purchased by June 30, 2014, while keeping their existing Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11n access points. For more information on the Ruckus 802.11ac Buy Up Program, please visit: http://bit.ly/1fGnXW2.
We currently have a Meru 11n system in both our Academies - new build each with approx 60 APs to provide total coverage. This was specked at the time to handle a majority of thin clients running a citrix virtual desktop. Of course the stream is very low for each client so high density is not a problem. But the Meru does do a good job of roaming in this scenario where even a few seconds of AP hopping would be enough to cause problems on a traditional system. I would be interested to hear if anyone else is using virtual desktops on mobile thin clients with a traditional system.
Our experience of meru has been generally good. The thin clients have no issues but when we introduce a high density of fat client laptops, there can be log on issues. The original install by a reseller was terrible when our first Academy building opened but better for the second building. On the first one, they did call in Paul Lambert from Meru who did an excellent job of finding the issue: We had new laptops 11n working alongside old ones 11b and it turned out that the new ones where hogging all of the airwaves. Basically, resellers who install Meru do have to go through training, but you can't beat the Meru engineers themselves.
When we renew, will we go Meru? (hey that almost rhymes!) I think we would have to test other products with out citrix thin client setup, but by then the focus will probably be more on personal mobile devices which becomes a whole new ball game.
This thread on Ruckus v Meru has been really helpful - these are clearly two major contenders. I have seen a lot posted on Unifi but hardly any coverage of Areohive. Is Areohive a serious alternative to consider?
I did research into areohive. At the end of my looking into them as a product, there seemed to be some issues with broadcom chipsets (cannot remeber which ones). The products are very well priced for the hardware themselfs, and performance wise would compare to the big market players. What ruled them out for me was their software, seemed very much like meraki and designed for business and conference centres as in configuration.
I still haven't chosen between Ruckus and Meru, all the boxes for Ruckus are ticked but also hearing locally of great Meru stories, it makes it very tough. Im not going to go AC with Ruckus which saves quite a bit, but have left scope in the future to purchase AC points if new devices make the need nessacary, and the ruckus by back scheme looks as if it could help out here.
I did miss 1 answer from ruckus, and thats where you can do bandwidth throttling via their AP's, I want to throttle our BYOD for Staff and Guests, so as to make sure they dont take our bandwidth. If it didnt I could always do this via smoothwall after our install over the summer of course.
One thing about 802.11ac beam forming is that it still won't have the advantage of Ruckus' antennae - and that's what is most important for the technology to work properly.
Not to mention, a delay of a year with WiFi is not a problem for the vast majority of companies that are buying WiFi anyway! There are more "wait and see" buyers in the world than early adopters. Just look at the school market - it takes a school half a year simply to decide which system to buy. Large companies are even worse.
TheRobins (26th June 2014)
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