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

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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 is significantly outdated (I would link to it but I can't even find it again).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.
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Adam

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Posted 2 months ago

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Anthony Rielly

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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.
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Adam

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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.
(Edited)
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Anthony Rielly

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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.
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Syamantak Omer, Official Rep

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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