Can I enable ZD Mesh without disrupting the rest of my wireless network?

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  • Updated 8 months ago
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A bit of information before I start: I am a student worker at a college, and I am the Acting Network Administrator. Recently there was a plumbing pipe that broke, and it managed to damage some of the equipment on the switch rack nearby it. There are now a few Ruckus APs that are unable to use a wired connection until the equipment is repaired/replaced. However these APs are within acceptable range of APs that have wired connections on a different rack. Due to costs and time, repairs may take a week or longer (colleges tend to be picky where money is spent). However, these now disconnected APs need to be brought back up as soon as possible.

I have looked into enabling Mesh on our ZoneDirector. But both myself and the IT Director on campus are concerned about that once Mesh is enabled, it sounds like we cannot disable Mesh once our equipment has been repaired, without factory resetting our ZD (We have over 100 wired APs in multiple groups and SSIDs, re-configuring all of those does not sound pleasant). A few of our major questions are:

1.) What is the risk to our wired APs if mesh is enabled? Our network is fairly large and we use wired connections for all our APs (except for the few that are no longer connected). Once repairs are finished, we won't have a need for Mesh.

2.) What are the security risks of having Mesh enabled if we are not using Mesh? (Once again, once repairs are finished).

3.) Since all of are APs are typically wired, what impact will enabling Mesh have on end clients ? if at all?

4.) Will enabling Mesh require additional maintenance during updates?

As a side note, I will say that I am pleased with the functionality that Ruckus products provide for our wireless network. Especially personally being someone fairly new to the network administrative scene, Ruckus is easy enough to use and understand. If there are no major risks to our network by enabling Mesh (even when we will no longer require it) it could prove to be useful in the future if another accident like this happens again.

Thank you for your time and support!
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Cordell Stocker

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Posted 8 months ago

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LONNIE

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I've been using mesh for years. Mesh was a major reason we bought Ruckus.
1. We've never had issues with wired ap's.
2. Don't believe this is an issue, or if it is, Ruckus has built safeguards in.
3. Speeds for clients on mesh is definitely slower and is closely related to mesh signal strength
4. I don't know if I have a lot of extra work during updates because of mesh, but updates are easy. Update the ZD and watch the ap's get updated too.

I think you can make a backup now, with mesh off-several backups, and test them- and then turn mesh on. Then when repairs are done, factory reset the ZD and then restore the non-mesh backup. Maybe someone else can confirm this. I'm not positive it would work.
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Jay Files

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That's what I was going to suggest too... just make a backup of the current configuration, then enable Mesh for the short term until you get everything fixed with the wired connections, and all you have to do once you're ready to go back to the way it was is factory default the ZD, go through the setup wizard (without enabling Mesh), and then restore the backup file to revert to all of your original settings. 

You may find that Mesh is really pretty useful, and decide not to disable it once you've used it. :-) 
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Cordell Stocker

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Thanks for all the help! The replies were very helpful. And there is a good chance that once Mesh is enabled, I will keep it implemented.
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Dave Watkins

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You can also just disable Mesh on all your AP's you never want to be part of the mesh network so you know those ones will only ever work wired
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Mitchell Axtell

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One other note- if you are running 9.13, you can disable mesh on the AP groups when you're done (if you have concerns with it).  On the sites we use mesh on, it works well.

It will extend firmware updates by a few minutes, as you have to wait for the root APs to update/reboot, then the mesh APs to connect and do the same.  This is only valid if you currently have mesh APs- simply having it enabled won't cause additional time if all APs are wired.