Newbie to the fold with a few questions!

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Hi all,

Im looking at jumping from the Unifi ship as i find their products extremely frustrating, coverage poor and things are showing disabled when they aren't etc so...

I live in a standard two story house and at present, i have aUnifi AP pro on the landing upstairs, and one in the main living room downstairs. This provides reasonable coverage on the 5ghz band, but regardless of settings etc, most of our devices are roaming like mad, even when they havent moved for a hour or so, and when our iphones sleep, they disconnect and latch on to the mobile network which in turn uses my data allowance.

What Ruckus product would you recommend to replace my existing Ap Pros?

Do i need two of a higher spec?

My current set up is a Ubiquiti Edgerouter poe, am 802.11af 16 port switch (which provides the 48V to the AP's)

many thanks for any help

:)
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JasonS

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Posted 2 years ago

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John D, AlphaDog

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You should definitely find that Ruckus AP's provide better coverage area and reliability than Ubiquiti AP's. Everyone that moved to a Broadcom-based 802.11ac solution seemed to have gone downhill, and that includes Ubiquiti and even Aruba.

With that said, the laws of physics still apply to 5GHz penetration, especially for mobile devices that don't have the best antennas on their end. You might find yourself needing two, but you should find that combo working better.

If you primarily have mobile and other 1 or 2 stream devices, you might find that the R500 hits a good price to performance ratio. It's a 2 stream AC Wave 1 AP, so for iPhones/iPads it will perform just as good as the top end of the Ruckus lineup at a fraction of the cost.


At my home, I have 1 R700 and 1 R600, and that overkill combo covers my 1200 sq ft apartment with flawless 300-400mbit 802.11ac everywhere. I could probably get away with a single AP, but when I tried this setup there were a few areas with lots of walls that resulted in 5GHz dead spots for mobile clients.

So maybe starting with one R500 or R600 is a good way to go, and then upgrade as you see fit.
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JasonS

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Hi John, and many thanks for your input.

My current AP's are not AC standard but N operating on the 2.4 & 5 bands.

Most of our devices are Apple iPhones, pads, Macbook Pro which are all AC compatible, however, my wife has a work laptop that isnt.

Im assuming the Ruckus AP's are backwards compatible also?

Also, will they work via my 48V poe switch? Its one of these...

http://www.linksys.com/us/p/P-LGS116P/
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John D, AlphaDog

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Of course, all Ruckus 802.11ac AP's are backwards compatible with B/G/N, so you will be fine. Of the devices you listed, only the Macbook Pro has a 3-stream wifi card, which means that the rest of them will perform the same whether you buy an R500 or R600/R700/R710. All these AP models mentioned are simultaneous dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

And yes, all Ruckus AP's operate on standard PoE like what your switch provides. In fact, the R500/600/700 will do so with no compromised functionality whatsoever. The only exception is the newest AP, the Wave 2 R710, will be slightly compromised when it runs on standard POE rather than POE+. Specifically, you can't use 2xgigabit link aggregation and 2.4GHz transmit power is capped. Still, though, that is a very minor compromise, and I would still be more than happy to run that setup.
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JasonS

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Thanks again.

Lastly (i think!) would i be better to get 2 x 500's to replace my existing or 1 x 600 upstairs for the whole house?

Just trying not to empty my wallet too much!
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John D, AlphaDog

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Without trying out what coverage you get from a single AP, it is hard to tell. Since with your Ubiquiti setup it sounds like you needed one AP per level for adequate 5GHz coverage, I would be inclined to suggest the 2xR500 approach to get excellent 5GHz coverage.

With 802.11ac, strong 5GHz coverage really matters. The super fast 802.11AC rates (256QAM) only work when the 5GHz signal is relatively strong. Otherwise, you'll get more N-like performance, which is fine, but you're not getting a ton of 802.11ac advantage.

In my experience, using a iMac as my test machine (which as 3 spatial streams), I get about 300-350mbit on a R500, and 400-425mbit on a R600, so there is some diminishing return for the 3rd stream such that you don't get 1/3 better performance by adding one more antenna. On an iPhone or iPad, there's only 1 or 2 antennas (spatial streams) on the device respectively, so the R500 and R600 would perform identically.

Overall, I'd suggest the 2xR500 approach, especially if the alternative is to get a single AP. Or, you can always start off with a single R500 and use that to gauge how much coverage you get... Or buy from a reseller with a good return policy so you can change your mind if needed.
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JasonS

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Ok ill go for the 2 x 500 approach, on your recommendation, as the im sure these will perform better than the Ubiquiti's.

Do i need anything else to set these up other than the Web UI?

And do they handle roaming well enough to be seemless (ish)?
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John D, AlphaDog

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Nope -- the WebUI is all you need. I'm sure with your EdgeRouter you won't have much trouble figuring out the IP address of your AP's -- they will use DHCP by default and fall back to 192.168.0.1 if there's no DHCP server.

Keep your eyes peeled for a Standalone AP firmware release 100.2 or later when it comes out for R500/600 -- currently these AP's do not support DFS channels (56 to 140) with standalone. This was added in ZoneDirector 9.12 so there should be a matching standalone build soon.

As far as roaming, they should roam seamlessly. Roaming is a client side behavior and there's little that the infrastructure can do in that regard. There is an 802.11r fast transition that's available on controller based networks but with PSK there's not too much benefit to it --- the benefit is primarily for those using WPA2 enterprise authentication.
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JasonS

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Ok ill keep an eye out for the fw update.

i am still trying to navigate around this site at the moment! :D

My current channels for 5ghz are 44 for downstairs and 136 for upstairs, however i do not have any rogue 5ghz networks interfering at the moment, or is it the fact that the 56 to 140 is better anyway?

Please excuse all my questions as i am still very new to all this, even though ive been fighting with the unifis for the last few months!
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John D, AlphaDog

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Not a problem at all — always nice to see another home network admin who is not willing to settle for flaky wifi!

So that's actually a really good question. Here's my take on it. Historically, channels 36-48 (at least in the USA) are lower transmit power than the rest of the 5GHz channels. As a result, they're the least appropriate for penetrating walls, but on the bright side, it's really really unlikely that your neighbors' networks would interfere with you on these channels. However, recently (like almost a year ago) the FCC has made a recommendation that you can actually transmit higher power on channels 36-48. However, I've yet to see any AP's actually take advantage of this — in the syslog when a Ruckus AP boots, it prints out a channel list and the transmit power per channel, and it still shows 36-48 as the lowest transmit power 5GHZ channels. Note that, not surprisingly, some consumer AP's and custom firmware have no regard for FCC transmit power limits, but that's another can of worms.


On the other end of the spectrum, channels 149 to 161 have come into great popularity because the FCC lets you transmit at a pretty high power (the highest power of any of the 5GHz channels). You can get *almost* 2.4GHZ-like coverage on these channels. On the flipside, I've found there's a lot more non-802.11 5GHz interference up at these channels. I believe the first generation of DECT cordless phones (the ones that called themselves 5GHz or 6GHz) transmitted around this range. Note that newer DECT "5.0" cordless phones transmit at 1.9GHz and don't interfere with wifi at all. But of course, you can't exactly knock on your neighbor's door and ask them to upgrade their cordless phones!

The DFS channels are in between this range, and the regulatory power is also in between, making them excellent channels to use. What makes them even better is that DFS channels require AP's to detect military radar usage that is on this band (and switch to another channel if interference is detected). In practice, this is complicated and you have to pay more to be FCC certified to operate on DFS, so most consumer AP's don't bother. This is a blessing if you live in a crowded apartment complex like me, where all the other 5GHz channels are flooded with my neighbors' AP's but the DFS channels are nearly empty. It's also nice because 802.11ac lets you run super wide 80MHz channels, and there's only a few of those if you don't use DFS. Even if you don't have neighbors, if you plan on expanding past 2 or 3 access points, you might find yourself with co-channel interference if you can't use DFS channels.

In your network with 2 R500's, all of these channels should work fine for you. If you only had 1 AP, I would suggest using one of the channels 52 or higher, especially the 149-161 channels if they are clean in your area.



Hope this info helps!
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JasonS

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Brilliant, that is an explanation that cannot be found on the internet anywhere!

So, at the moment there is still a possibility that Ruckus will issue a fw update for the AP's to have a higher 5ghz channel range? I must say that is one thing the Unifis have and that is very decent 5ghz channel selection, although as i dont really have much interference with neighbours, i guess any of the 36-48 channels will be ok?

Or, would i be better going for a different model to the 500/600 to get the higher range?

:)
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John D, AlphaDog

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That, you'll have to hope Michael Brado and the other Ruckus reps will answer. I would expect that the R500/R600 standalone firmware will get DFS support soon -- it's hard to imagine why they wouldn't. This feature is a 9.12 ZD feature, which is the 100.2.x.x firmware series or higher. The current 100.1 firmware is based off ZD 9.11, which also did not have DFS support.

I'm not sure I'd suggest upgrading from the R500/R600 solely for DFS support for home use -- that's several hundred dollars extra per AP, and chances are in a few months at most the difference will be moot. I purchased a R700 for my home network at full price -- it has had DFS from day one, but in retrospect I feel kind of silly, because with 80% of my devices I can see no performance difference between the R700 and the R500/R600. It's a magnificent AP and I look forward to having a ton of guests over to show it off. But fact of the matter is, the majority of time when I'm at home, I don't have the device density to show a difference between R500/R600/R700.
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JasonS

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Ok understood!

I have bitten the bullet and have ordered 2 r600's (ouch!!) so I'm hoping they are a lot better than the Unifi!

And no doubt I'll be back asking a million questions about set up!

Thanks again for your valued input, it is very much appreciated.
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Sean

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Hey Jason,

Be careful with 5GHz as some clients don't connect to the UNII 2 ext channels - my Nexus 9 for one doesn't even see UNII 2 either :(

I would recommend that you test each of your devices to see if they are compatible with the UNII 2e channels, and if they are then I would blacklist the lower channels, as you get more power on the UNII 2-ext channels in the UK (1W as opposed to 200mW when using the lower UNII-1/2 bands).

To blacklist channels use the following command in the cli:

set blacklist wlan8 <channel> -1

so

set blacklist wlan32 34 -1
set blacklist wlan32 36 -1
set blacklist wlan32 38 -1
set blacklist wlan32 40 -1
set blacklist wlan32 42 -1
set blacklist wlan32 44 -1
set blacklist wlan32 46 -1
set blacklist wlan32 48 -1

Note the 5GHZ radio was wlan8 on certain versions of firmware; I cant rememeber when it changed :)
(Edited)
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JasonS

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Hi Sean,

We are mainly an Apple household in the UK(i know, i know!) and everything seems to be connecting just fine as far as i'm aware!

Most of our devices are working on the 5G AC band, but we do have an older Windows laptop thats 2.4 only and so far, all ok.

One thing i did notice was how much quicker and smoother throughput is on these AP's and also, none of our devices (mainly iphones) are falling back to mobile internet when they sleep.

So, all in all, they are fantastic and a huge step up on my previous 'enterprise' APs, and so much simpler to install.

Once i plugged them in and found their IP, i had them BOTH set up in about 15 minutes, rather than the 2/3 hours before of setting up, rebooting AP's reinstalling controllers etc etc etc!
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Sean

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I'm glad your happy with Ruckus, it truly is a great product!
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Neil Mac, Employee

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Jason,

Just stick with defaults. Channels and channel power are set by the country code. The access point will dynamically adjust the power used depending on the data rate. Just let the AP's do what they do and stick with defaults, don't worry about trying to adjust settings -unless you really understand what you are doing and why, it won't serve any purpose.

As in the other thread, I'd be happy to answer any specific technical questions as this sort of info is useful and people are curious, so answers may help others as well.

Neil Mac
CWNE #113, CWNT
Senior Technical Trainer, Ruckus Wireless
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Sean

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I tend to disagree with your comment "it won't serve any purpose".

By using the 5.4GHz UNII-2-ext you can achieve the same effective cell range as 2.4GHz, as opposed to having weaker coverage on the 5GHz UNII-1/2 bands due to the logarithmic delta between these 2 frequencies.

If all devices are capable of operating on the 5.4GHz band there is no reason of optimising your network so coverage across the bands has same the same effective cell edge.
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Neil Mac, Employee

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In a house..
with 2 standalone AP's...
with minimal client devices....

Just stick with defaults.
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Sean

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Each to their own I suppose.

There is no reason to rule to out having an optimal netowork.
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JasonS

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Hi guys,

I think i am running in the UNII 2-ext as one of my 5ghz AP's is currently on channel 116.

I think John was saying that these channels were not available on the AP's at the moment but i guess this is the U.S. that don't have them yet?

Reason i am questioning is that once i changed my country in the set up, the extra channels became available?
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Sean

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As you are UK based, you fall under ETSI/Ofcom for channel regulations, and we can use UNII-1, UNII-2 & UNII-2-EXT indoors.

More importantly we can use 1W of  power on the UNII-2-ext channels, which gives you comparable reach, if not better, than 2.4GHz.

Dont worry the Ruckus AP's will not allow you to use anything that you shoudn't be as long as you select the correct region code.
(Edited)