Some questions on my network plan before I buy the Ruckus ZD and APs...

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Hi there. Please see my attached network plan (sorry this is messy). I have highlighted in pink the components that are already in place (or I already own/have ordered). 

I have no experience with Zone Directors and want to know my plan raises any compatibility issues due to:
  • I am intending to use this with a CISCO small business firewall router (which also provides wifi to my basement)
  • I already have a bunch of Ethernet wired devices running off a CISCO small business 24 port Ethernet switch.
I want to keep these CISCO components if possible as they are the only network components that have proved reliable.

My existing internal APs are currently "Amped" and each have have three 50cm antennae which is the only way they can reach the outdoor wifi IP security cams.  I am replacing them as they are really unreliable and sometimes disconnect WIFI clients.  I intend to go with 4 internal Ruckus Zoneflex APs at first and, if I can't reach my outdoor wifi IP security cams, then I will go to my "Phase 2" plan and add external APs.

Sorry, some other basic questions:

  • Would I be better to use some outdoor Ruckus APs inside my house, because the outdoor APs can take external antennae and may be able to reach my external IP cams more effectively.
  • My ZD 1200 comes with 5 free licences which last a year. I understand that if my system is stable I don't need to pay to renew the licence and will just forego updates.  Would this be the case if I buy a 6th licence, or would I be compelled to renew licence 6 each year?.
  • Someone advised me against the X10 range and suggested I go with the 700 instead - what would you advise?  Both are within budget.  Is the 700 better at roaming between zones?  Would there be a difference in range (important to me as my house is built of reinforced concrete which results in a huge amount of WIFI signal attenuation.
  • Finally, I assume I need the regular Zoneflex R710s, not the unleashed ones.
Many thanks in advance for any helpful suggestions. Feel free to laugh at me if I'm asking stupid questions!!
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Peter W

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Posted 3 months ago

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Diego Garcia del Rio

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To be honest, I would rather go with "unleashed" APs. You dont really need a zone-director for this and unleashed is quite stable. Also, for 99% of the use cases, R310 or R320 for residential use would be more than enough. I don't know how far away are your remote cameras, but in the absolute worse case, you could add a T310 or similar outdoor device to the mix, especially with the money saved from going for the 300 series instead of the 700

If you have some location that is missing coverage, look for an H320 or H510 (like for a bedroom) which can be installed over an ethernet faceplate and be "almost invisible" 

Also, as much as possible, just disable the wifi on the cisco for the basement and add a ruckus AP (an H320 for example) or an R310  in there. It will keep channelfly a lot happier and roaming will be much smoother than jumping between the cisco and ruckus "worlds" 

You might want to look at used R500 / R310 on ebay as an option. Those are amazing APs and I've sometimes found them for 50USD each used... so a great bargain.

Given the construction of your house, I would go for the option of more, cheaper APs than fewer "Top of the line" APs. After all, the max power emitted by the AP is capped by FCC. Beamflex and beamforming help, but it will be much much better with R310s / H510 /H 320s in multiple rooms that anything else.

If you have an AP (even non-ruckus), put it in the ceiling of a room, transmitting at max power, and see how much signal you receive on your mobile phone on adjacent rooms. Look for 5GHz singal to be over -65dBm... if its much lower than that, then  even a top of line ruckus wont help.... better to go for a few more APs.

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Peter W

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Hi there Diego and thanks for the advice.  OK sounds sensible to add Ruckus downstairs in basement and disable wireless on Cisco.  This should help roaming and stop us all needing to constantly turn wifi on/off on our iPhones.  I'll do that.  Conveniently brings my total APs to 5 which is allowed under the Ruskus basic licence.

It's a big ridiculously over-engineered home, and both myself and my wife run our businesses from home with a shared home network.  Wi-fi doesn't go well from room to room due to reinforced concrete walls,. 

I also have limited bandwidth resource (due to IP cams , internet tv etc) and don't want to further strain this.  I believe a ZD will help me better manage this (and have ordered a ZD1200 already so want to use this).  I don't want too many more APs as all of my 24 Ethernet ports are spoken for and I don't want more switching layers to strain bandwidth. 

I don't really understand how the ZD licence works (can someone please answer my licence question below).  I don't mind one off investment but hate committing to subscription plans. 

I also can't run new network cable around the place as we extensively renovated 10 years ago and added Ethernet ports around the house and I'm not doing this again.  Certainly cant do wire runs to the ceiling.  The cost of running neat cabling in house or into  garden far outweighs buying a good long range APs as electricians charge a fortune where I live.

My remaining questions:
  • Would I be better to use some outdoor Ruckus APs inside my house, because the outdoor APs can take external antennae and may be able to reach my external IP cams more effectively.  If so which ones and what antennae are recommended for best range?
  • My ZD 1200 comes with 5 free licences which last a year. I understand that if my system is stable I don't need to pay to renew the licence and will just forego updates.  Would this be the case if I buy a 6th licence - would I be compelled to renew licence 6 each year?.
  • Someone advised me against the X10 range and suggested I go with the 700 instead - what would you advise?  Both are within budget.  Is the 700 better at roaming between zones?  Would there be a difference in range (important to me as my house is built of reinforced concrete which results in a huge amount of WIFI signal attenuation.
  • Finally, I assume "unleashed" means Ruckus APs that work without ZD and regular ZoneFlex APs work with the ZD, right?
Money isn't really so much of an issue.  Our network has been driving me and my family potty for years and I will gladly pay to have a really good solution.

Many thanks in advance for help!  Peter



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Diego Garcia del Rio

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Hi. A few clarifications

The zone director licenses are perpetual. Those built in and any additional ap licenses you buy. So there are no recurring charges. The recurring charges are the support licenses needed for upgrades, etc but are not needed for the wifi to keep working.

Secondly, I don't think any fo the supported APs have the option for external antennae. Except for the E510 but it's still a beamflex antenna.. you can get a T310s or T310N which have directional antennas but I wouldn't use them indoor.

As for the ap options look at the H510. Of you already have Ethernet to a room (a wall jack for example) this can be installed over the wall jack and gives you a 4 port managed switch as well. So instead of losing one port you actually win 4 plus top notch wifi. Plus.ome of the ports is poe passthrough so you could connect an IP phone or Poe ip camera downstream from the AP. Definitely a great AP for a bedroom (behind the TV for example) or an office or living room.

As for APs themselves you could go for the R710 (the R700 is quite old). Or even the R720. But to be honest I would go for the R610 or R510. R610 and 700 series have quite high Poe budget. (is your switch Poe?). Using the APs with power transformers is a pain otherwise (and the 700 series use 48v transformers instead of 12v or at least some of the 700 do).

All of ruckus APs are great at roaming
I haven't noticed any performance difference with regards to roaming on any ap family. Just go for the latest software and enable k/v/r

You mentioned that you don't have ceiling drops? Then be careful on mounting the ceiling APs (all the R series are meant to be ceiling mount) as the radiate a hemisphere "down" or "front" if wall mounted. With much lower signal to the back of the AP.

If you have more questions don't hesitate to ask or even drop.me an email. (dgarcia mediatel_dot_com.ar).

Cheers
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Diego Garcia del Rio

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One more detail. You could mount an outdoor AP on the side of the house for the cameras. Or even an indoor AP like the R510 inside a plastic weatherproof case and just provide 12V to ir and let it connect in mesh mode to the internal APs. I would keep this as a last resort if the cameras done get good coverage.
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Peter W

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Really helpful Diego thank you.  I used to know something about networking but have never used a ZD or PoE so I'm playing a little bit of catch up here.

I'm almost ready to buy but have three really basic questions remaining:

1.  I can get R710s on eBay for around $400 or less which is fine for me.  The R710 looks like it can just sit on a surface without being ceiling mounted.  Is this the case?   There's absolutely no way my wife would allow me to start ceiling mounting APs or running wires around the place.
2.  I assume "unleashed" means Ruckus APs that work without ZD and regular ZoneFlex APs work with the ZD, right?  Just want to make sure I 100% buy the right unit.
3. My 24 way switch is a Cisco SG92-94 and its in my server cupboard in a spare bedroom in my basement.  https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/switches/sg92-24-compact-24-port-gigabit-switch/model.html There are some fairly long cable runs around the house but I think all within the PoE 100m limit.  Sorry I have never used PoE before, are there quite (fanless) 24 way switches available that have PoE sufficient to run all of my multiple devices?  I wasn't going to change the switch as it was expensive and it's been 100% reliable, but maybe that's easier than having numerous power supplies or PoE injectors around the place. Has to be quiet as it's right next to the bed in our spare bedroom and my wife wouldn't allow anything noisy.  The technical data says this was released in 2012, but I'm sure I put it in a year or two earlier than this.  Perhaps after 10 years I should be upgrading anyway.

Many thanks in advance you have been so helpful!



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Diego Garcia del Rio

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For fanless Poe ruckus makes the 7150c12 which should have plenty of power for your needs. Tplink has an 8-port Poe fanless option as well as well as a few others but ideally you want 802.11at (Poe+, up to 30W per port) . I saw one on eBay for around 225 usd (used)


Unleashed is just an AP that runs the controller (a "zone director light" of sorts). It's quite handy but if you already have the ZD then you don't need it.


The AP below is the H510 that can be mounted flush over an wall box and gives you 4 local ports)


(If you go for the H series don't buy the H500 as it's end of life. But there are a few H510 on eBay for around 100 usd. )

The r series can be laid flat but will send signal "up" which is not the ideal direction. It's not meant to be a tabletop model although for a single room it will be more than enough.

Right now, on eBay, you can find r500 aps for around 60 usd which is a steal to be honest. Those APs also have 1 passthrough port so you don't lose the jack you already have.

You can keep two switches so you get a smaller Poe and keep your 24port non Poe.

Poe is pretty much plug and play unless your cabling is a complete disaster.

Good luck!
(Edited)
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Peter W

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Diego thanks so much.  This is all really helpful.  I may go more ports on the PoE+ switch as the world seems to be moving in this direction and future devices are all likely to be PoE.  I like the idea of going all Ruckus as everyone speaks highly of this and I have found that if you stick to one manufacturer on a network you get less issues.  The big switches seem to be managed - I'm hoping this won't interfere with the ZD - I probably need to understand what the managed switch actually does.  If I need help on the switch I will probably start a new thread.  Think this is the last thing I need to resolve.  Thanks again!
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Peter W

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Think I just found the answer.  One 12 port Ruckus fanless switch for now and I can always add another later.  These look to be plug n play.  I now have to go around the house and work out which Ethernet port is connected to which switch number!!  Have been putting this off for years haha.  Thanks again Diego for the patient advice.