contink (5th April 2009)
contink (5th April 2009)
I have found the Aruba wireless system excellent and canít fault it as a whole site solution.
We first implemented it in a new 6th form building that was being built with 4 classrooms upstairs and 4 downstairs and a large study centre room. In the building there are 2 trolleys of 16 laptops one on the first floor and one on the second floor and a study centre with 50 laptops. When all of the laptops are in use in the 6th form block the Aruba dose an excellent job of dealing with such a large amount of laptops in a small building.
This all runs off 11 Aruba 65 access points and a 3400 controller.
When roaming around the building with a permanent ping to one of our servers it didnít even drop a packet itís that good.
We are using Aruba 65 access points to tack advantage of both the 2.5mhz and 5mhz 802.11g and a radio frequencies. We now have 3 roaming trolleys of 20 laptops with 1 ap on each trolley and the 65 dose just a good job when roaming as it does in fixed rooms. We are slowly rolling AP65ís across the whole site (the roving ones are just a cheap temporary messier until we put fixed points up).
We are now in the process of rolling it out across the whole site and I am going to trial some pre 802.11n Aruba access points in two rooms where we are going to have classes of 30 laptops.
I also have an Aruba 800 controller running In local mode but you still configure the apís through the one 3400 master controller. It just uses the 16 ap licences from the 800 and they get all the config piped through the 800 from the 3400 master controller.
We used REACT technologies to do the wireless survey, support and quote on the equipment as they are the only official UK distributor but you canít buy the hardware direct (all other distributors in the UK have to purchase through REACT). We purchased the hardware through Misco who sell it on REACT technologies behalf as a reseller.
The only downfall with the Aruba is the price. But there is a cheaper alternative with the Netgear managed system which is an Aruba 800 controller running a software restricted version of ArubaOS 2.5. Unfortunately these 2 systems are not inter-compatible as Aruba systems have moved on the ArubaOS 3.1+ which was a complete overall of the protocols.
There is an access point limit to ArubaOS 2.5 witch I think is up to 48 access points by using the max of 3 x 800 style controllers that the Netgear is based on. Also there is no AP grouping functionality in ArubaOS 2.5 its either Whole Site or signal AP configuration. I use this functionality in ArubaOS 3.1 to group apís into faculties and pumping out different SSIDS so that a MFL laptop doesnít try to connect to my maths block APís.
So overall I strongly recommend the Aruba system but if funds are tight and you need less than 48 access points I would also strongly recommend the Netgear WFS709TP system.
I would be more than happy to discuss your needs relating to Ruckus, I have schools in the Devon and Dorset area that have already purchased and installed the Ruckus kit that are very happy with the performance and reliability of the solutution....and I think I am right in saying happy with what Net-Ctrl have done to help them achieve there goal.
I would be more than happy to travel and see you, I have other clients in the Devon and Dorset area that I am due to meet shorly so drop me an email, PM or call me to start making some plans.
Cheers for now
07525 785 278
We use Cisco here. 1100 and 1200 series with A and G. A root bridge connecting to two non-roots. All controlled by a Wireless Lan Solution Engine Express. One of the access points is set as a WDS and we use Certificates for authentication. Very quick, scalable and cheaper than you might think.
We tested Netgear, 3Com and Cisco and found that even though we were paying more for Cisco the throughput and range on the Cisco kit outweighed the cost.
Another Vote for Ruckus. Very expandable.
Running it mainly for 2 Laptop Trolleys, put the AP in the room before setting out the laptops and users log in with no problems. Solved a lot of our issue we were having.
Am hoping to expand it across the School in the future, so the Tech doesn't have to put out an AP for each trolley, but budget has been slashed so that's something else on the back burner.
Silver - I'm glad to see that someone has already introduced Meru to you. Meru is the only vendor that we've found that works in high density environments such as education. If you need white papers or anything else, drop me a message and I'll respond as quickly as possible.
Good to hear you have a local supplier supporting you with your wireless needs for Meru.
Ask your supplier to put you in touch with local schools and colleges already using Meru and ask those schools about their performance with Meru and go and see the schools using Meru.
Meru has many installations in the south with a number of very professional suppliers with considerable experience of the intracacies/problems of wireless, which Meru solves with their unique architecture.
Have a good look around the websites for case studies and make your own mind up based on real world examples / case studies rather than tests you might see with a few APs and a few clients.
The key is to replicate your own environment, or see schools / colleges with your environment and make your choice from there. Ensure you've looked to the future too by catering for 11n and voice capability too.
Use Cisco Aironet 1200 here, have no Wireless controller. I have 10 and 2 are repeaters and it works fine. It has to be reliable as staff doing lesson registeration. The are all on G since the last upgrade.
School isnt that big, 750 pupils (capacity 900) with around 100 wireless laptops
I just wanted to stick another shout in for Xirrus. We have tested all the main ones before we bought, including most mentioned here, and Xirrus was the only one who could reliably get a whole trolley logged in and working within 10 mins (from a cold boot), which was our aim. Installation across the whole site is scheduled to start in a couple of weeks.
Give this guy a shout, he's usually very obliging(! ) and will come out to have a chat at least.
Simon Hollister - 07912342431. email is firstname.lastname@example.org
witch (6th May 2009)
Just stumbled across Xirrus over the weekend. They provide a free tool for inspecting Wi-Fi signals. Been looking for such a tool for ages. Looking forward to testing it this afternoon.
I can also recommend Ruckus and Net-Ctrl. They worked fantastically to get us the right stuff
MarkPower (6th May 2009)
This is my first post on here and its really interesting to see all the different opinions on Wireless and the various solutions. I have been in IT for 12 years and a specialist in Wireless for around 10 of those. I am currently consulting for various organisations but here are some things you might find useful questions to ask when looking at wireless:
What is the total cost? Remember to look at installation time, cable runs, switch ports and disruption to the school!
Architecture - Is the system reliant on a centralised controller (which you may need buy another one for true redundancy) or is it like a true switching environment with the intelligence at the edge (i.e. controller built in to each device for fast processing and high bandwidth with central control software)?
Will the vendor go in a real head to head test against competitors? Try it out!
What is the upgrade path to 802.11n?
Has the vendor done a real life site survey? Its unbelievable to think that anyone would purchase any wireless system without having a real life survey of their environment done. Predictive means nothing. No predictive tool in the world will know exactly what the propagation of your RF environment will be. A real life site survey will give you accurate results. It may be time consuming but if the vendor is serious about their claims they will do this. And then give a 100% coverage guarantee. This will allow a much lower risk deployment.
What do the reseller/vendor charge for services?
For my opinion centralised architectures are old hat, last generation. Just like switches you need your intelligence at the edge. You need directional antennas - this increases throughput, bandwidth and coverage. Seriously, who in their right mind deploys a solution which requires a controller, and for redundancy another one and all the cost. You need 100% coverage guarantee and a real life survey. Anything is selling yourself short.
I am a big fan of the Xirrus architecture and the surveying methodology they have and its always done exactly what it said it would. For multiple laotops logging on, I have never found anything to come near it and I have been testing various wireless solutions from most major vendors for years. Recently heard of a direct head to head against 3 other vendors where Xirrus was head and shoulders above the rest. Any thoughts/feedback?
I do vouche for Xirrus as well. My workplace looked into the other Wi-Fi companies mentioned above. Xirrus was the only Wi-Fi vendor capable of meeting our needs and being within our budget.
When we contacted them initially, we had them come out and give us a FREE site survey within a few days. They guaranteed the amount of Arrays that we needed to power up the whole building with Wi-Fi and the site survey proved to be on point. They allowed us to have some demo units to test their infrastructure for a few days as well, so we knew what we were buying.
We actually saved a great amount with Xirrus. We stayed within our budget because the site survey was free, they required less cabling and devices, which save installation time...which then saved us on cost!
If you are looking for a company that is pleasant to deal with, definitely check them out.
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