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Wireless Networks Thread, Any experience with Meru in Technical; Hi Ive been tasked with implementing a wireless soloution into my school and up untill a few weeks ago i ...
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    Any experience with Meru

    Hi
    Ive been tasked with implementing a wireless soloution into my school and up untill a few weeks ago i was all set for a procurve but one of my asstant heads found that the city's BSF partner(ramesys) was using meru and as we due to goto BSF in 2 years he would like to consider using them.

    Ramesys have been out and discussed with us their reasons for choosing meru and showed us a little presentation about how its 4th gerneration and the access points manage the clients and you dont get interference between channels etc etc. I know its a few years since doing my network engineering degree and cisco courses but it didnt add up, as far as i could see it would either need to split the channel or time share the bandwidth so either reducing speed or all devices shouting on the same frequency.

    So deciding that im just not upto date with technologies could anyone provide feedback of there experiences of meru, is it as good as im being told or does it have its hick-ups

    Dan

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Ask for a live action demo, with 5 access points for good measures. That way you can see for yourself if it adds up.

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    I thought it was hard to believe when I first heard of the concept, of all APS operating on the same channel. However this single chanel approach is well established as its the same principles as the celluar network (e.d Vodafone, Tmobile etc) where all mast operate on a Fix channel and the intelligence is held at the Mast rather than at the mobile end. Meru have taken that principle and developed it for the WiFi world. It uses Air-Traffic control to manage the Air waves more efficently where each AP nows when each of the stations and neighbouring APs are transmitting data.

    As a result of a more efficent RF environment the Meru solution is able to handle high densities of mobile devices.

    I work with Cisco, Netgear, Aruba and 3Com wireless networks and the Meru kit seems to work best in the education space.


    If you need more help and advise let me know

    Kris

  4. Thanks to krishanm from:

    Dan-Speed (10th June 2010)

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    jamesreedersmith's Avatar
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    Dont forget Ruckus too

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    I've recently had a trial of both meru and ruckus. Personally I felt the 2 meru ap's coped alot better with the building (pic Vale of Catmose Colleges Fotos - The Current Site | Facebook ) they were providing access to. Where the ruckus wins is in the ease of use. The admin interface is simple but powerful.

    The meru interface feels a little complicated and was my issues, other than a kid stealing an antenae!!! Appeared after a few days thank god.

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    Don't forget to consider Extricom they are also of the 4th generation. I know there are complications like having to directly cable the AP's but in my experience performs better than Meru and can provide more blankets for different uses such as seperating slower clients or providing QOS for VOIP. You need to get your head around their thinking though.

    Chilbs

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    Im glad you put it like that, with the comparrison with mobile networks because thats the only way i could get head round it.

    Unfortunatly Extricom is ruled out by how far spead the coverage areas are.

    Not convinced that i was getting best value from ramesys ive managed to arrange a free site survey and consultation on both meru and procurve so ill see what comes out of those.

    Thanks for all the advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by krishanm View Post
    I thought it was hard to believe when I first heard of the concept, of all APS operating on the same channel. However this single chanel approach is well established as its the same principles as the celluar network (e.d Vodafone, Tmobile etc) where all mast operate on a Fix channel and the intelligence is held at the Mast rather than at the mobile end. Meru have taken that principle and developed it for the WiFi world. It uses Air-Traffic control to manage the Air waves more efficently where each AP nows when each of the stations and neighbouring APs are transmitting data.

    As a result of a more efficent RF environment the Meru solution is able to handle high densities of mobile devices.

    I work with Cisco, Netgear, Aruba and 3Com wireless networks and the Meru kit seems to work best in the education space.


    If you need more help and advise let me know

    Kris

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    Quote Originally Posted by gaz350 View Post
    Is that an extreamly well endowed giraffe?

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    I'm also interested in feedback on Meru, particularly from sites with 500 mobile devices being used.

    Any out there?

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    We're looking in to Meru for our school as well and I've read quite a bit about it and Ruckus. My reseller favours Meru and we've seen it work wonders in test bed situations - although these aren't your normal school coverage situation. Having read about Ruckus's rather innovative means of adapting the wireless signal pattern, I thought this very clever - but I am told that it needs a lot of careful planning in where one puts the APs as interference between APs can still be quite an issue and (because the controller throttles back) create dead spots. The single channel architecture of Meru also makes sense - but I wonder just how clever it's heuristic algorithm is when attempting to predict needed traffic through it's Fair Airtime Policy. My reseller tells me that Extricom uses similar tricks to Meru but isn't as good - given they could be selling us any product, I tend not to accuse him of bias! What I would be interested in hearing however is how it goes in a normal school - brick walls, funny angles, glass panels in doors and a range of devices - sometimes 30 to a room. If anyone can write of their experiences I would be most grateful. It would also be helpful to know what kit you actually used to get this performance - I see there are many different types of AP etc.

    thanks in advance.

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    Wes
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    Thoughts on Meru and others

    In my opionion the Meru single channel architecture does not scale well. Make sure that if you start with a coverage model that you are aware of the costs if you want to move to a higher capacity situation.

    Scaling is done “vertically” (by stacking channels) in Meru’s solution, which means that more channels must be deployed across the entire site in order to scale. Since a Meru AP only has two radios, moving from 2 channels to 4 channels means doubling the number of APs, hence doubling the cost of their solution. While vertical scaling will work with the right physical deployment, it’s extremely expensive to achieve in comparison to a multiple channel architecture.

    The multiple channel approach is what 97% of the industry is using including market leaders Cisco, Aruba etc etc. Meru claim to be a generation ahead of these guys but the term 4th generation comes from an old Gartner report that stated “Two basic controller architectural choices remain, which Gartner calls third and fourth generation. Both are viable,” but Gartner then goes on to say “The fourth generation is not necessarily advantageous". Note that Meru don't use this last comment in their marketing.

    Single channels are positioned as the great saviour of wireless co-channel interference - in reality this is to say that all the other wireless networks out there using multi channel are not working properly - I mean come one!

    Someone here mentioned that Ruckus's ability to power down APs to reduce co-channel interference could leave dead spots in the wireless coverage. This is classic Meru marketing talk. If a system is globally aware of all APs it's able to power down intelligently to avoid interference and the advantage is in the ability to power up APs too to fill in any coverage gaps created by AP outages and automatically select channels that do not conflict.

    The real future of wireless networks lies in the distributed control plane. Removing the controller from the core network removes a single point of failure (only solved by doubling up controllers), it removes the huge demand on your network infrastrcuture that is created by making the traffic u-turn from the edge through the core and back and allows for faster connections, more resilient networks and a cheaper and more linear models for scalability. Look at the controllerless vendors out there is my tip (and I don't mean Xirrus as they have controllers in every array!).

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    I beg to differ with Wes, I work with all the major wireless vendors and have found that not only is the meru solution scaleable but it certainly is revolutary.

    The reason the other manufacturers are not copying Meru with the single channel approach is Meru have Patented the clever Air Traffic Control protocol that cordinates the airspace.

    What I would say is demo the various solutions yourself and try to replicate high density usage to see which solution performs the best and ticks all your requirements, and another fact to consider is other school experiences.

    if you need any reference sites please get in contact with the vendors or even myself if you need.

    Krish

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    Hi Krish,

    if you were able to post the reference sites, then I'm sure we'd all appreciate being able to read them. In the mean time, than you to you both for your input - I know it's a difficult issue that needs careful investigation. For the record we went to a demonstration yesterday and watched 30 laptops connect to one AP and watch full HD video being streamed, simultaneously, to all laptops; in addition there were voip handsets in use and video phones.

    of course, that's not quite a whole school approach and 30 laptops is not 400... which is why I'm interested in people's comments. Of course there is that slight feeling that something that seems too good to be true ... just might be...

    cheers,
    Vaughan

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    Hi Vaughan. Was the demo you attended setup by the manufacturer\reseller? In an environment they dictated i.e. setup? Almost all managed wi-fi manufacturers can do these demos (I've been to several), and on laptops they have setup themselves. I'd keep an open mind if I were you, and if you are to commit to a particular vendor ensure all testing is done in YOUR environment with YOUR laptops and devices.

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    Wes
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    A fair trial with a few different vendors on your site with your equipment is very worthwhile. Every manufacturer can offer good references in schools, these cases are useful but I would bear in mind they are only going to offer you the good news stories. I fully beleive that all wireless manufacturers can provide you with fantastic wireless network that outperforms your wildest expectations but the reality is that this type of solution is rarely within the reach of a school IT budget. What then tends to happen is the nickle and diming approach where a solution is shoehorned into your budget to get you hooked and then they'll hit you with the real bill later. Make sure you check future costs of feature licenses, support, the costs of the next step up on the controller license etc.

    Krish - there are other manufacturers who use the single channel approach - see Extricom for example who start with a single channel and scale up to 4 channels as I described with Meru in my previous post. I beleive most of the industry is using the multi channel approach beacause a multi channel architecture gives MUCH more capacity, each channel is additional capacity like a motorway over a 'b' road.

    Things to consider when looking at single channel WLANs:

    1. Will the deployment you’re considering be adjacent to any other WLAN deployment? Note that this includes other departmental WLANs, or those belonging to other tenants, either adjacent to or above/below the planned deployment.
    i. If Meru is deployed in a single channel or VirtualCell/Virtual Port architecture, are they sure that one of the three channels available in the 2.4GHz band is free from interference and noise across their deployment?
    ii. Also, if there is interference on the single channel selected in the 2.4GHz band, even in one particular area of the deployment, they would have to change the channel for all the APs in their deployment to one of the two remaining 2.4GHz channels. However, are they sure that doing that will not cause interference in other areas of the deployment?

  17. Thanks to Wes from:

    psydii (9th September 2010)

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