Pick your Access Point

We are finally getting the go ahead to upgrade our wireless network. Which access point would you choose? Please comment any pros/cons you have as well. Thanks in advance.

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Obviously we are fans of Aruba and Ruckus. If I had to choose just one it would be Aruba as my first preference but that’s only because your survey only allows that. The Ruckus option will serve you extremely well and I believe both will meet your need better than Meraki.

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Which access points did your integrator/designer recommend for your environment and needs?

My vote doesn’t come with experience. We actually are upgrading our system from Unifi’s (which have served us very well) to the Cisco Meraki’s. We are moving to providing wireless to the congregation on Sunday and so needed something a little more robust. I’ll have a more informed opinion in several months.

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The specific access points are the ones that have been recommended. We are looking at two local companies, ulterius and ISG, as well as Ian Beyer. Ian is recommending the Ruckus, ISG started with the Aruba quotes and then went to Meraki. Ulterius just came into the picture last week and while they sound nice, I am hesitant of them primarily because they are a young and unproven commodity which is fine but we have a significant size conference coming in June of next year so I need to get this right the first time more than try the new shiny toy out. Or at least that is the way I am feeling on it. Does that answer your question?

Paul, you sound like you are making a move like we are. We primarily have Unifi (green rings) here at the moment.

We are slowly transitioning from Unifi to Cisco as well. We opted for the on-site controller vs Meraki mainly because we have a ton of IT guys from MS State University at our church and that’s what they know and because I didn’t want to pay the licensing costs for Meraki. That said, our 2700/3700 APs are pretty rock solid.

Cisco licensing is not any cheaper than Meraki. We have Cisco here and you get much more bang for your buck with Meraki vs Cisco. That said most fo the “bang” you get from Meraki are fluff features.

From a brand standpoint I’d say Aruba or Ruckus is fine, but Ian Beyer gets my vote as he’s someone I know personally (he’s stayed at my house and roomed with me at conferences) who is generally both an awesome guy and one who cares enough about wireless to do things the right way from a design and implementation standpoint. Can’t speak for the others, they may be fine :slight_smile: The implementation is at least as important as the hardware.

Meraki is OK gear but the ongoing costs forever to keep managing them might be annoying. I likely wouldn’t choose an entirely unknown hardware vendor for wireless. There are some subtle RF issues that could come to light that might not be fixable without deep engineer knowledge, and you don’t have any guarantees the local company will even be around for the life of your installation, and you don’t really know what level of support they can offer. Of course the big boys can close (or more likely merge/get bought) as well but usually their warranties and support are valid at least until they end in almost all cases.

Yeah; as much trouble as Ruckus and UniFi had getting their heads around .ac, I’d be hesitant to let a newcomer run a piece of important infrastructure for me. Aruba, Ruckus or Meraki are all fine as long as the system is well engineered / designed. They cost a bit too much per AP to just throw them in and hope for the best like you can with Unifi.

I just installed month or so ago Ruckus 600s and couple of 710s with a Zone Director 1200 in at our main campus. So far working great.

For our remote campuses, I am installing 710s and using Ruckus Cloud. Support per AP for 5 years is only $150, so only $30 a year support for each AP and cloud portal isn’t bad.

I helped a school move to meraki. They had a lot of success with them but my pick would be Ruckus or Aruba. We use Aruba at our main campus and Ruckus at our regionals, From what I am observing, Aruba is so good when you want to just be able to throw an AP at a problem without worrying about overlap and cross talk. We’ve found Ruckus to be great when you want to add as few AP’s as possible into an area.

In our downtown Chicago location we had Aruba installed with 3 AP’s spread out across the building. Do the insane blanket of wifi we had in that area we received wifi complaints almost every day. We moved to ruckus and have not heard anything since. Really though, both are great products. I would just look at which one you think will be easier to manage on a day to day basis

Additionally, each vendor has their own fancy features you might find indispensable, like Aruba’s ClearPass or Ruckus’ ZeroIT.

Went from Sonicwall APs to Ruckus 500 and 700’s with a ZoneDirector. Moving from Sonicwall APs to two cans and a string would be an improvement so I’m of course delighted with my Ruckus. The coverage and density are great.

I’ve had all of them and they all excelled at different things. Ruckus for all around fit, function, and cost. Our Aruba had more features than Ruckus but was much harder to setup. Meraki works great and gives great visibility but has the higher ongoing cost and reviews show their radios aren’t as good as others. Ubiquiti has been our latest and we run the newer AC Pro’s at 6 of our 8 campuses and love them for the value and speed they provide. Not as many bells and whistles as the others but we don’t see a lot of wireless clients/traffic actually so it works out well. The other two are larger campuses and we have Ruckus.

My sentiments mirror @CGreenTX exactly.

Ruckus has been our choice and it’s been great. ZD3025, 34 AP’s, and we usually have around 500 concurrent users per day. We’re a mixed church and school with 1:1 Chromebooks for a couple of hundred high schoolers and rolling iPad carts everywhere else. The church staff is Windows and Mac. Thanks to a professional design and install Ruckus has been extremely stable.

We’ve had Ruckus, ZD3025 and 20 R700 AP’s for about 2 years now. It’s worked very well. I don’t have experience with any other brands.

We moved from older UniFi gear to Ruckus ZD3000 + R700 APs (about 6 months before they released R710’s… boo)

I loved UniFi for the price point and manageability once you got past the fact that they were so Java dependent and each Java update threatened our controller (and took it down at times). We just had too many issues of WiFi “coming and going” so we decided to engage an integrator.

We couldn’t afford an in-person site-survey, but we sent structural floor plans to an integrator who ran it through some software and made some tweaks based on photos and descriptions.

In the end, we wound up with Ruckus R700’s and I’ve placed them as close to where the integrator recommended as I could. We’ll probably get an in-person site survey one of these days to make sure we’re making the most of our hardware, but I’m pretty happy with the outcome overall.