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Wireless Networks Thread, Ubiquity Unify in Technical; Excuse my ignorance to start with. My school is considering installing Ubiquity Unify to cover the schools wireless system. They ...
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    Ubiquity Unify

    Excuse my ignorance to start with.
    My school is considering installing Ubiquity Unify to cover the schools wireless system. They have also considered Ruckus. I know that with Ruckus you can pretty much just leave it to run itself with out any issues (usually) How much managing does Ubiquity need? My main concern is that if I was unable to attend the school for any reason, and the wireless went down, how hard would it be for a non-technical person to get it back up and running?
    thanks

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    ShorehamGeek's Avatar
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    I can only comment on my own experience with Unifi, which has been really positive.

    We have 26 Access points covering the whole site (although we are about to add more to allow for a higher density and prepare for BYOD) and they've been in for about 2 years. In that time, I have had to reboot 1 access point once. As they are POE, it just meant going to the patch panel, remove the patch cable, count to 10, connect patch cable.

    In terms of value for money, I think they are well worth considering as long as your wireless requirements aren't too complicated (and by that I mean 4 or more separate SSIDs).

    Hope that helps.

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    Smee (10th July 2014)

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    themightymrp's Avatar
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    We have just moved over to the Unify stuff. It is really easy to manage!

    On the central software, which just runs off one of our Windows servers, you configure your SSID and encryption requirements etc. Then you plug in your receivers. The software auto-identifies them once they pick up a DHCP address. All you do then is click "Adopt" in the software which then uploads all of the settings to the wifi unit. It will automatically select a wifi channel and then its done! Once you have adopted all of the school wifi units and they have downloaded their settings, you can actually close the management software (found out by chance when the server rebooted!). The units keep running. As long as they have power they seem to pretty much just plod along

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    Smee (10th July 2014)

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    ShorehamGeek's Avatar
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    I should also mention that the controller can be run locally, or as a virtual instance on Amazon's cloud, which you could then connect to and remotely configure.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    We run 60 points of unifi on 3 sites. the controller runs on my PC and is only required for config changes (I start it once a week to change the guest code) and for adopting new points or for initial config. the only instance in which you need to run the controller 24/7 is if you have a captive portal set up. The units are cheap and stable, and can be SSH'd for reset if they do fall out of management. They accept multiple ssid on multiple vlan. For a school environment, unless you have a specific need for ruckus or meru, I can see no reason why you wouldn't use it. If you would like any more info, just PM me.

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    fairm010's Avatar
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    We have 21 units here and its great. Great coverage over a large ish site. I run the software on a spare workstation with a wall mounted screen showing the current wireless users.

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    +1 for unifi no management needed at all to be honest once setup and that's a piece of cake.

    meldrew.

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    Smee (10th July 2014)

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    I have used both solutions quite extensively and for bang for buck Unifi is amazing. However it is difficult to compare the two - they are not direct competitors in my view.

    Ruckus is a whole solution in a box and a fantastic one at that. If you want to complete some of the more advanced stuff that Ruckus can do on a unifi system, you'll need to also use Radius along side and probably some decent switches. If you already run radius, or just want a simple straight forward wireless network - unifi will do the job really well.

    What are your plans for your wireless network and do you expect them to be the same in three to five years time? School owned devices, BYOD, 1:1, Canteen tills?

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    May I ask if you are all on site support or do you cover several different schools? This is my issue, I cover several different schools and can't always drop everything when an issue crops up at a particular school. This is one of the concerns I have with selecting/advising the school on which system to adopt. Initially the school will be running 64 laptops through the wireless, the head is concerned about having too many access points and those pesky wireless waves hitting the children :$ Unify installers recommending over 20 access points where as ruckus installers say 9!

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    There are various different reasons why your installers have quoted different amounts of APs. The biggest two being the wave pattern/radio technology and profit margins of each solution.

    We run unifi in three of our primary schools and ruckus in two - where we only visit once a week. All three have worked perfectly whilst we're not in the building. It's when we're in and changing things that they restart and kick everyone off!

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    Unifi here. At my school (large secondary) we have sitewide coverage with the Unifi units and they don't drop a beat. The only time we go into the management interface is if there's abuse issues and we need to trace someone devices to a particular area. I have also installed it to fully cover a primary which uses surfaces for all staff, 32 ipads and everything works without a hitch. I'm the only technical support for them, I visit for half a day a week and I don't need to touch it at all. The kit just works.

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    achedgy's Avatar
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    I run unifi systems at approx. 10 primary schools, it's a fab, reliable, easy to use, set and forget system that does everything a primary would need. And is just soo much cheaper than other systems (potentially why the company quoting wants to install more) I set the controller software running on a server and I've rarely had a problem. I run Ruckus at two schools, one has been fine, the other a couple of the access points have caused hassle. Just grates when we need to expand the coverage, costs so much, where with a unifi system it's such a nominal figure it's never an issue. Likely at some point the Ruckus systems will be pulled out due to this.

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    Another + for UniFi here, we've installed it into a number of schools. We have the controller running on our own server and can have multiple schools setup to use that same controller software. In theory, we could troubleshoot a school's system remotely though we haven't needed to do so yet.

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    achedgy's Avatar
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    If you're concerned, buy a 3x pack of access points for £160ish have a play and set it going, you'll see how good it is, won't be the last set you buy!

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    +1 from me using there ac points and nether had any problems. Dont know about the other points but the AC model also has a pass through network port which is very handy for old school builds, just slice a network cable put 2 rj45s on then plug it in.

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