T300 Connectivity Issues in Sea Port Environment

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Hey Guys,
Our current ( outdated ) wifi system is based on Cisco 4400 Controller with B/G AP's with 8dbi dual omni antennas which mounted and installed at around 25m height poles around the port. ( around 70 AP's total ) 
Last year we upgraded our WiFi system to Zone Director ZD3025 and T300 AP's. ( same number of AP's on the same poles ) 
Our main clients are :
1) industrial PC with Intel 7260 N wifi adapter with 8-9dbi omni external antenna 
2) MOXA 3121 ( B/G ) & MOXA 3131 ( B/G/N ) with 8-9dbi omni external antenna

With the CISCO wifi system - we get solid connection and good coverage and signal all over the sea port area 
Once we moves to Ruckus system - with all the clients we have huge packet drops and ping lost.
Tried :
1) firmware and driver upgrading on all clients
2) Tried different channels and different transmit power experiments 
3) tried different client antennas height and type ( some of them are installed on cranes - some of them installed on moving forklifts and etc..
4) tried to open few support tickets on Ruckus
5) tried same Cisco configuration on Ruckus ( 20MHz , 1,6,11 CH, N type disabled )

Why the newer Ruckus equipment does not work properly ?
Any advise ?
Thanks :)
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Posted 5 days ago

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Darrel Rhodes, Employee

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Hi Turbine,

Thanks for posting so much detail about your issue. It seems very strange that you're having such issues.

I see the MOXA 3121 and 3131 are dual-band devices, supporting 802.11a 5GHz.  It could be that these devices are connecting on 5GHz if you have it enabled on the Ruckus network/SSID. 5GHz on low-power devices and/or in cluttered environments can often have lower range due to higher absorbtion.

Are you seeing the same level of signal strength (RSSI) at remote locations with the Ruckus network as you did with your legacy Cisco? It's worth checking with a Wi-Fi signal tester software, something free like WiFi Explorer or Netspot will be fine.

What version of ZoneDirector firmware are you running?  What is the exact model number of your Ruckus APs? (you can find this in th ZoneDirector GUI).

Are the Ruckus APs intalled horizontally (ports pointing out) or vertically (ports pointing down) - (you can find this in th ZoneDirector GUI)?

Have you tried connecting another device (e.g. smartphone) to the Ruckus network and testing performance and connectivity at short range and then equivalent distances?

Whereabouts in the world are you (generally, not a specific address)?

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Hey Darrel
Thank you for your quick reply,

5GHz is not allowed here ( Israel ) for outdoor use. So we ONLY use 2.4GHz
We usually see a better RSSI from the Ruckus AP's around 58-70bm ( around 65-75dbm with the Cisco. Once the Ruckus reaching around 68-70dbm the MOXA connectivity is starting to do the most troubles. the industrial pc's are even experience worse issues.

Our Zone Director using Version build 42

Our AP's is t300 like i said. and installed horizontally as you can see on the attached photo. ( Blue cirle = Cisco Antennas. Red cirle = Ruckus T300 Unit ) . 

Laptops connection is pretty good overall . much better than our main clients.
Another thing worth mentioning is we have around 90DB Noise Floor all around here.. Maybe its something that can affect ?
But like i said - we don't have any issues with our clients on the CISCO network.


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Darrel Rhodes, Employee

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Many thanks for the updated information, very much appreciated. I wanted confirmation on the AP type as we have T300, T301s, T301n and a whole range of T310 APs also.

It sounds like the Ruckus equipment is doing everything it's supposed to; with increased RSSI and improved performance on your laptops.

What height is the AP at in the photo that you posted? I see in your OP that clients are at varying heights.

What protocols are your MOXA and industrial device application(s) using? Are they standard HTTP/HTTPS/UDP/TCP/SSH/Telnet or something special?

As your non-industrial devices appear to work well on the network, it sounds like a problem that is specifically affecting your MOXA and Industrial PC devices - is this correct?

You mentioned you've already contacted Ruckus support, what recommendations did they have? Have you sent them a config dump from your ZoneDirector?

It feels to me like this is potentially a feature config issue that is causing issues with your older clients and likely something the older Cisco infrastructure didn't have.

Many thanks,
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Yeah.. our cranes have antennas at around 20m height ( the AP on the pole is at 30m height )
and we have forklifts and other vehicles with antennas around 2-3m height ( the AP on the poles in that ares is on 25m height ) 

Our MOXA connected to other pc's via LAN, them and the industrial PC's runing RDP or VMware remote connections.

We didn't contacted Ruckus directly, our re-seller did, that is why i turn to this forum.
Ruckus first said we have too many AP's and that the transmit power art too strong, than they said the noise floor is too high , they took large number of logs, and the seller did various tests but nothing came up. they have no answer basically. 

I think the question is :
1) are the T300 really capable of running in such a large complex environment ? with all the container and cranes around here.
2) maybe the 3db internal antenna is not enough for here ? are the T610 will make a better connection ?
3) why is the CISCO working flawless with our current devices, and the Ruckus not ?

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Darrel Rhodes, Employee

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I'm in discussions with a colleague in Israel but just wanted to address the questions you've asked:

1) Absolutely! I've personally deployed the T300 in highly complex environments (prior to joining Ruckus) and it performed better than any AP I'd previously used (and I've used a lot from different vendors).  The T300 has a high-performance version of the Ruckus Beam-Flex technology, which will be hugely beneficial in the large, complex environment you describe.

2) I understand the maximum EIRP you are allowed to transmit in Israel @ 2.4GHz is 100mW/20dBm.  The T300 can easily exceed this with a maximum TX power (aggregate) of 26dBm.

The T610 is indeed a very powerful AP, in terms of RF and hardware performance, as it's aimed at high-density user/device environments.  From what you've told me, I'm guessing you only have 10-20 clients (at most) on an AP at any one time.

3) As I said previously I suspect that there's a feature mis-configuration issue here, rather than a Radio Frequency (layer 1) issue. If it was purely RF then ALL your devices would have problems, not just the industrial ones. The noise floor of -90dB is high but that's not unusual for 2.4GHz.  Most environments are very noisy in 2.4GHz these days.  This is actually another reason why BeamFlex will bring higher performance than standard Wi-Fi from Cisco or other vendors.

Would it be possible to post a screenshot of the radio and WLAN config please? (Ensure you blank out any identifyable details such as WLAN name, SSID, etc.)

Many thanks,
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Who is the colleague in Israel ? maybe he works with us someway during the process.
1) well.. thats not the case here
2) I dont really know how it works and what you mean - but does the Cisco with 100mW transmission power with 8dbi Antenna exceeds this law limit ? 
And no, we have around 100-120 clients connected on every moment .
3) our settings changed so many times and got through with Ruckus engineers as well.

Another point - The Cisco antennas is "outside" and a little bit away from the pole.
the Ruckus AP is very close to the pole - maybe it has something to do with it being this close to the pole ? can it make any difference signal wise?

Something worth mention - on Lab environment test we see drops with our industrial PC with 1-2 meter away from Ruckus AP, but other vendors work good with same test.
Another thing - when attaching dual pol antenna that support MIMO - the results on the field is much better than with 1 antenna. 
Looks like we have problems on lower rates. and once the clients get around to 70db RSSI signal ( Ruckus claims this is big part of the problem )

Just wanted to ask the mass knowledge of people in those kind of places :)
Maybe you spread more light on this

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Brian Powers

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Do you know how your data rates are set on your old Cisco WLAN?  Are all 802.11b/g data rates enabled/support?  Your symptoms make it sound like the Ruckus solution has lower data rates disabled and as your clients get to the edge of the cell, they cant maintain the needed data rate to communicate. 

As Darrel mentioned, if you can provide some screenshots of the config (Cisco and Ruckus), we might can be of additional help.