adam_logan_aqqmphl9g11q8's profile

3 Messages

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92 Points

Thu, Aug 27, 2020 4:54 AM

Answered

Is it economiccally feasible or even possible to convert a Ruckus R750 ZoneFlex Access Point (901-R750-US00) to the Unleashed firmware?

I looked at the catalog when comparing all the different ax/wifi6 access points, and the R750 was the cheapest I could find, but it's ZoneFlex. I found the ZoneFlex FAQ but it read more like marketing material and I don't feel like I got a clear pragmatic picture about firmware conversion options, additional software and or licenses that are involved (what's mandatory? what's not?). That kind of a thing.

The R750 ZoneFlex AP was the cheapest Ruckus AP I could find that supported AX/Wifi6, but I'm uncertain if it could be converted to Unleashed without tacking on another couple hundred dollars for hidden license fees?

Sounds like there are hidden license fees even if you buy straight up Unleashed models though? I saw on the latest livestream that there was supposed to be a stream on Aug 19th (it's August 26th now) which was supposed to let us know what the cost of unlocking license for URL filtering, -a pretty standard feature- has me feeling pretty unsettled. Plus support is behind a paywall too? No clue how much that is either, even though I tried to find out.

So, what are the features behind the license paywall(s), what is the difference between standalone and unleashed? I gather ZoneFlex is out of my budget since it is 1K+ for the (mandatory?) controllers or software or virtual appliances?

Trying to figure out what makes sense for me as someone who is cognizant that I have limited funds. I would love a wifi 6 AP that can serve as a gateway, but I need to know what the actual costs involved will be. The feature parity/difference documentation for the R750 Unleashed vs... Leashed? is significantly outdated (I would link to it but I can't even find it again).

Would much appreciate some clarity surrounding my questions above as a home networking enthusiast looking to explore more enterprise-grade networking technology in a home environment.

Thanks.

45 Messages

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832 Points

1 y ago

I'm sure you'll get an official reply from Ruckus, but as a home user of Ruckus stuff...
  • Unleashed is a free download for the R750, and can be upgraded over top of a standalone model.
  • 200.9 seems very close and hopefully includes Unleashed support for the R550 and R650, so you probably want to wait before spending huge amounts on the R750.
  • You can see the Unleashed limitations here: https://docs.ruckuswireless.com/unleashed/200.9/GUID-586B59E7-7349-4B65-BE81-FA220DC0F772.html. None of them are a problem for home use.
  • There is no way I would run Unleashed in Gateway mode - you'll want a proper router (with the WiFi turned off, if it has any) as your gateway, and use Ruckus APs purely as access points. Any included router functionality is basic at best.
    I have previously had a cheap-and-cheerful Asus router, and currently run a pfSense box. Both of these platforms do a great job of web filtering. I would thoroughly recommend either of them.
Ruckus support for grey-market APs and out-of-support APs is apallingly terrible, so if you're buying a spendy R750 then you're going to want to buy from an official reseller. I buy Ruckus APs off eBay for < $100, so I don't mind doing my own support and paying for replacement hardware if something dies.

3 Messages

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92 Points

Thanks for your feedback, it's helpful to know that I should look at this as an AP only and not a gateway, although I have to wonder, why do you recoil from the thought of using this as a gateway? It is gateway capable isn't it?

Once you flash a stand-alone model with unleashed, can you flash back to standalone? I have read that you cannot elsewhere on here, but the post was really old, so I don't know if it still applies.

45 Messages

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832 Points

You can flash any firmware version you like, back and forth, as often as you like.
Having said that, there's no reason to ever run your AP with standalone/solo firmware in the home. Standalone firmware is extremely basic - ok if you know exactly what you're doing and want to plug a single AP into your existing router and never look at it again, but otherwise meh.

As for why not use as a gateway...
Ruckus have implemented the absolute bare minimum of functionality required: it'll do PPPOE, NAT, and hand out IP addresses. Probably an R750 will be powerful enough to do this well, but when I tested an R510 in gateway mode it topped out at 680Mbps wired throughput if I didn't use PPPOE.
Meanwhile, my cheap Asus AC68U was happily doing 870Mbps over PPPOE (the same as plugging my PC straight into the fibre box), while also doing web filtering & ad-blocking, and automatically sending my work traffic over a VPN link.

Official Rep

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1.3K Messages

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17.7K Points

1 y ago

Hi Adam,

You can buy R750 and can use as standalone or as Unleashed and there will be no additional charges/hidden license cost. However, when it comes to support, we strongly recommend you to buy support, if you are going to use this AP as Unleashed.

Refer the document here which explains the benefits of buying Unleashed support (if you want to use this AP as Unleashed and also planning to add more APs later).

Now talk about URL filtering license, that is additional and you have to purchase license for that.

To know more about R750, refer the product page from here.

Unleashed 200.8 user guide can be found from here.

Let me know if you have any follow up questions.

Regards,
Syamantak Omer

3 Messages

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92 Points

See my comment to Anthony above for a more detailed line of questioning that elaborate on my original questions. I need prices, and more clarity about the ecosystem.

Is speaking with a VAR the only way to get my questions answered?

477 Messages

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5.9K Points

7 m ago

I want to add:

  1. You most probably don't want to use R750, but 1-2x R550/R650  (which will cost you less, probably)
  2. You most probably don't want to use Gateway mode, but the separate router
  3. You most probably don't need URL-filtering license
  4. You may buy support contract, but you don't really need it for home use, and there are no hidden costs to run Unleashed

1) If you have just 30-50 devices, all of them probably 1-2x MIMO, and 100-200Mbps/s Internet connection, you will be not using R750 capabilities enough. R550 will be adequate, and in most cases, in a building you are better served by 2-3 middle-class APs, than 1 premium. 

2) I agree that gateway mode is not a preferred way to use Ruckus AP. It was added because a lot of home users asked for it, as when tried to install Ruckus they were surprised to find that AP is really AP, not a router, even so it was written in specification.  So it can be used if really needed, but if you can avoid it -- use a separate router. In my practice, the best functionality for money you can get from Mikrotik, its configuration interface is not intuitive at all, but it has high performance and is cheap, as well as has the functionality of enterprise router (Cisco-level, up to BGP, MPLS and other high-end feature support). 

In my opinion, the main limitation is disabled NAT-traversal support in gateway mode -- IPSEC VPNs fail over it. Probably, can be fixed by some CLI configuration, but I haven't looked into it as I never use it. Should be turned on by default, as now VPNs are a common part of home network.

I see in the CLI manual such commands as

conn-cap ipsec-vpn open

conn-cap ikev2 open

Probably they can do a trick (what else they could do?), but I don't have Unleashed network to test (we use almost exclusively vSZ managed APs). I am curious, and probably I'll convert some AP to Unleashed and test this later, but for sure somebody have done this already?

If somebody has a positive experience configuring NAT-traversal over UNLEASHED AP in Gateway mode, please share it.

3} About free URL filtering -- I can't imagine why you would need it ever?

If you mean static URL filters in routers, they are some remnants  from the past, easy to realize, no real use. Yes, you can list some 20 URLs, so what use it is? Disable access to google, Microsoft, etc ? May be, but not much than that. And there is always way around using some public proxy or VPN.

Ruckus URL option isn't this static table, but a constantly updated URL classification list in the cloud, so you can disable such categories as adult content, violence, games, etc. It isn't bulletproof too, but as good as they get, so it may make sense in schools or for children access.  Anyway, I think it is much better when you can rely on users to make proper choices...

There are always ways how users can get around URL filtering to access disabled content, as well as false positives - when business web-site for some reason is disabled.

If you really want to filter what users can access, you can use DNS filtering servers, such as Open DNS, to disable mentioned categories of sites,  or 9.9.9.9 ( to avoid infected and fraudulent sites). To use these sponsored services you even don't need to have any service in the router, you just need to set it as DNS server for clients.

They are not ideal too, as they blindly aggregate lists from different sources, and some sites may be blacklisted without real reason, or some really bad sites -- not listed.

4} About support and any other costs to run Unleashed -- RMAs for AP are very rare, and I never have seen issues with that, and you don't need any other licenses to run Unleashed.

Ruckus is an enterprise system, and corporate support is great, and yes,  you need paid support contract for enterprise support. It is mainly applicable to systems with controllers. You can buy support for unleashed, it is cheap, one license per network up to 25 APs, but why you'll need it for 1 home AP?

You don't get enterprise support for free when you take home AP without a support contract - but it's the same situation with HP/Aruba, Cisco, and any other enterprise vendor.

 Ruckus Unleashed uses enterprise-grade hardware without any additional management licenses or hardware. It allows you to do a lot of things, but you have to know what you do. So if you are new to wireless systems,  better ask some colleague with experience to help you, it will make things much easier.

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