Extend signal range / increase signal strength of root ap

  • 2
  • Question
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Answered
Hi, i'm using s zd1200 two R500 and one H500 which cover two households with around 250 sq meters in total. The mesh ap placed furthest from the root ap has a variable signal strength of 25-40% to the root ap. Now I'm actually looking to increase that signal strength because I believe that this variable signal strength (especially when down to 25%) is the root cause for occasional heartbeat loss.
My question now is if a R600, R700 or even a R610 or R710 would get me that increase in signal strength? I unfortunately don't have the possibility to add another AP between that root ap and mesh ap in question.

Any suggestions or real world experience would be highly appreciated!

Thx Max
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
  • undecided

Posted 3 years ago

  • 2
Photo of Alan

Alan

  • 7 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
I currently operate a zd1200 and 28 ap's. your distance between ap's is an issue at 250 meters you are extending the range to far. The maximum distance between ap's to obtain a strong signal is 400ft. Then you still have variables to contend with. Adding another ap will result in multiple hops causing duration loss, slow connection and drops. If you have to go that far add a Poe switch in the middle and run cat6 or run fiber from the zd to the second ap.
Photo of Max O'Driscoll

Max O'Driscoll, AlphaDog

  • 349 Posts
  • 95 Reply Likes
"250 sq meters in total" - area not distance between APs, that would be impressive.

Of course distance between them is an issue, line of sight, what's in the way, wall construction, trees, elevation of one site to other for instance.
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Distance between root ap and mesh ap is around 12 meters but has two concrete walls and 2 plasterboard walls in between. However they are on the same floor.
Photo of Alan

Alan

  • 7 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Ok, I do apologize you are inside, all of mine are outside. I do not know what to do in that case.
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
No worries, but thanks for your help anyway!
Photo of Max O'Driscoll

Max O'Driscoll, AlphaDog

  • 349 Posts
  • 95 Reply Likes
Clutching at straws here! Are you able to change orientation or position on wall/ceiling and look for best outcome...ie are you able to fiddle with set-up.

Closest physical proximity  is not always the strongest signal due to unexpected reflections and attentuation.

Sorry not actually answering question as to whether different APs would improve things. Better (much more expensive) kit will help. R710 is definitely next up the food chain and if you can afford it then why not. But it still might be worth seeing if you can get more out of present setup and work out heartbeat issues.

Be bloody annoying to find same thing happening after throwing money at problem!
Photo of Max O'Driscoll

Max O'Driscoll, AlphaDog

  • 349 Posts
  • 95 Reply Likes
Old document and probably tells you what you already know.

https://support.ruckuswireless.com/answers/000001673

Main reminder is that meshing occurs on 5GHz which attenuates more than 2.4GHz. So those  2 concrete walls could be the main problem!
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Max, thanks for all your help!
I have played around with positioning but due to some obtrusive places according to my wife in our living room she wanted it to be rather placed out of sight. I have to admit that she was right because myself also thought that in the middle of the room (where signal strength was best) under a glass table was not very "sexy" either. Now it is placed on the top of a cupboard which works fine but as mentioned I have occasional heartbeat loss (like once or twice a month.

Yes I'm aware of the 5Ghz meshing specs. I have high density of foreign ssids (most of them still in the 2.4Ghz realm but starts already to shift to 5Ghz) in my neighborhood and Ruckus so far was the only setup that worked more or less flawlessly. I worked with Zyxel and Lancom (both business solutions) before and both were unstable on a daily basis, and I will not mention any poor consumer gear I tried and borrowed from friends.

In any case it looks like as if the 5Ghz is not being stable enough for whatever reason and it might as well be the walls in between...
Photo of John D

John D, AlphaDog

  • 546 Posts
  • 158 Reply Likes
I set up a 6400 sq ft property a while ago using Unleashed (R500, 600, 710), and I definitely noticed a big improvement when I replaced an R500 node with a R600 and the R600 root nodes with R710's. Throughput increased by about 50%.


If adding another mesh AP is not an option (which, BTW, is my preferred recommendation), then I think your next best option is to use a pair of R710's: One as a root and one as the distant mesh. The extra sensitivity and the 4 spatial stream capability will give you the best shot of a reliable mesh link.

EDIT: But again, if there's any chance that it's possible to reconsider adding an AP between the concrete walls, it is worth considering.


Also, in case you haven't tried yet, try switching your 5GHz channel. In one of my environments, switching from channels in the 36-48 range to channel 100 delivered a noticeable performance improvement and stronger mesh signal. Not sure if that's due to the regulatory transmit power differences, radio sensitivity differences, or propagation differences caused by the frequency change. But it's worth a shot.
(Edited)
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
John, highly appreciate your insights!
You mention that with your node changes you gained significant throughput, but did the signal strength also increase between your nodes (R710 to R600)?
Ideally I'd like to change only the root ap (R710 or 610) and keep my R500 as mesh node. Do you think just changing the root to e.g. R710 will help due to its much better sensitivity while staying with the R500 or is a second R710 a must?
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
I still have to give the 5Ghz channel switch a try. Good hint there!
Photo of John D

John D, AlphaDog

  • 546 Posts
  • 158 Reply Likes
Yeah, the signal strength also increased, but I don't remember the exact numbers. In general, I prefer using SpeedFlex throughput to measure real-world throughput as a metric for the mesh link strength. Signal strength (RSSI) is a static heuristic that's meant to estimate strength, and I found that less meaningful in terms of real world customer impact compared to a Speedflex.


I would actually first recommend replacing the R500 mesh node. I have noticed that even compared to the R600, the R500 is less capable of establishing strong mesh links with good throughput across challenging distances. This is likely explained by a combination of 2x2:2 vs 3x3:3 *and* the fewer BeamFlex antenna patterns.

Perhaps an arrangement to try is the R710 as root and move one of your root R600's to replace the R500?
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
That sounds very reasonable. I might as well go for a 600 or 610 since the 710 already stretches the budget quite a bit for a private household :-) I'll just start buying one and try hooking it up as mesh node and then as root and see how each works. In case a 6xx won't really do the trick alone I might need to take the shoot and go for a r710 as well but I really hope that I don't have to...

Thanks a lot for your help and advice. I really appreciate this. I will post my findings back here once I have made my tests with either the r600 or 610.

My best
Max
Photo of Sean

Sean

  • 349 Posts
  • 94 Reply Likes
The antenna gain on the R500 is 5dBi and the the R710 is 8dBi. By using the r710 as opposed to the R500 you decrease your link budget by 3dB.

Example:

R500 RSL = -65dBm
R710 RSL = -62dBm

Additonally the R710 has more spatial streams and atennae that the R500 so this is the reason you will see increased capacity.

What I would do is look at AP positioning/orientation and ensure that they are optimally placed (on the ceiling and mounted horizontally).

A point to note is that the heartbeat monitor on ZD's is a bit of a red herring as when the AP is passing a lot of traffic the heartbeat frame is not prioritised and is dropped, and the ZD just does a reboot on the AP.

My advice would be turn this funtion off until such a point as Ruckus get the frame prioritised.
(Edited)
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Thanks for this! Can you point me to where i can find the 5dBi and 8dBi is listed? As per data sheets i can only find a 3dBi physical antenna gain for both the r500 and r710 and the beamflex sinr tx gain would be 4 and 6dB. Maybe I'm missing something here?

As for the heartbeat loss this actually happens also during the night where there is zero traffic happening. Anyway I will check on what is happening once this has been turned off. Positioning has already been optimized having them horizontally but actually facing upwards instead of downwards cuz mounting them on the ceiling is a no-go. However I think the orientation whether facing up or downwards wouldn't matter for the signal strength I guess.
Photo of Max O'Driscoll

Max O'Driscoll, AlphaDog

  • 349 Posts
  • 95 Reply Likes
R500 datasheet physical antenna gain up to 3dBi

http://c541678.r78.cf2.rackcdn.com/datasheets/ds-zoneflex-r710.pdf


R710 datasheet physical antenna gain 3 dBi

http://c541678.r78.cf2.rackcdn.com/datasheets/ds-zoneflex-r710.pdf

Don't see a 5 or 8. 
Photo of Sean

Sean

  • 349 Posts
  • 94 Reply Likes
I am using the data from the antenna mask patterns that I get direct from Ruckus.

Dont believe the spec sheets as they are always way out :)
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
Thx for clarification! That helps a lot. Any chance to share the antenna gain for a r600 or r610 if you have it at hand without any hassle?

Br Max
Photo of Sean

Sean

  • 349 Posts
  • 94 Reply Likes
Yeah sure the r600 is:

2.4GHz: 9.1dBi
5GHz: 8.6dBi

I dont have the r610 as we dont use it, we only use the r510 and r710.

Note: The r500 and the r510 are both 5dBi, so it's safe to say they are using the same antenna in the r610 as they are in the r600.

Hope this helps, and good luck with sorting out your MESH issue.

:)
(Edited)
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
That's awesome - Thanks a lot for your help on this!
Photo of Sean

Sean

  • 349 Posts
  • 94 Reply Likes
You're welcome :)
(Edited)
Photo of Monnat Systems

Monnat Systems, AlphaDog

  • 923 Posts
  • 205 Reply Likes
Sean has taken into consideration beamflex gain in to mix
Photo of Sean

Sean

  • 349 Posts
  • 93 Reply Likes
I am not taking beamflex in to account, as you dont actually benefit from beamflex gain anyways due to EIRP regulations.

The AP has to drop its power based on ETSI regulations as EIRP has to take in to account the folllowing:

Max Antenna Gain
Beamforming Gain
TX Power

If you were to dismiss the factor of beamforming from within the link budget you would always be in excess of your EIRP, but approx 4dB.

I believe it's the same in the US with the FCC where you also have to take in to account the use of multiple antennae.

:)
Photo of Max G?bel

Max G?bel

  • 11 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
So to finish up this thread i basically reached out to ruckus support and their tech support redirected my inquiry to some tech department supporting the DACH region. This guy seemed to be a senior engineer the way he was talking about the capabilities of each AP.
So long story short he said that a newer ap would not help me increase signal strength or coverage. He actually said that it is much better to configure channel selection manually for each channel (2,4 and 5 Ghz). Also the additional spatial streams in "bigger" APs would only add benefit if i'd serve 50+ clients. In the end i configured everything manually as good as it gets which for some reason increased the stability and reliability of my wlan.
I hope these findings help others as well, and thanks again to all your great inputs and ideas.
Photo of Michael Brado

Michael Brado, Official Rep

  • 2826 Posts
  • 397 Reply Likes
Thanks for your update Max!