Ruckus Wireless as an Unifi alternative?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by pcmoore, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. pcmoore

    pcmoore Member

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    The recent Unifi product decisions have me starting to debate changing my wireless network here at home, and in searching around Ruckus seems to keep bubbling to the top of alternatives. Does anyone have any recent, first hand experience they can share? A few questions/comments below:
    • From what I've read, Ruckus seems to lead most of the industry when it comes to RF performance/stability; especially with respect to the Unifi APs. Does this fit with people's experience?
    • It appears that the Unleashed firmware variant allows the APs to act as their own controller, including support for failover if you have multiple APs and the master goes offline. How does the Unleashed controller compare to others, specifically the Unifi controller?
    • This morning I created an account on the Ruckus support site, and it would appear that I can now download firmware images/updates for their APs without any sort of support contract, is there some hidden gotcha here (e.g. activation key, license file, etc.)? In other words, if I were to grab a used Ruckus AP, would I be able to get no-cost firmware updates directly from Ruckus?
    For reference, my setup is rather simple: two general purpose access points and a third acting as bridge to connected a wired network "island" to the wireless network. It is possible I might add another access point (or two?) in the future to better reach the backyard/garage, and if I do that would be operating in a mesh/wireless-uplink mode. From what I've read, all of the above should be possible with the Ruckus Unleashed stack but please correct me if I'm wrong.
     
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  2. klui

    klui Member

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    @ViciousXUSMC 's videos on YouTube introduced me to the Ruckus line of Unleashed APs. Following his lead I purchased an R600 and subsequently acquired 2 R510s. I have never deployed any UniFis. Anyone can download Unleashed FW and documentation from a registered account. The R600s reached EoL and will not get further upgrades.

    The Unleashed software is controllerless and the master acts as the controller. Whenever the master is not responsive other APs will take over transparently. You can manage them using its webUI or ssh. There are a lot of enterprise features and many features are only available through its CLI. It's not perfect. There are many features not officially supported even though they work. Trunk VLANs for example.

    For issues, the master does not play nice with my Juniper SRX DHCP server and disappears from the lease binding command, even though the reserved lease works fine. You will get some "false" alarm entries about heartbeat loss but they don't seem to be a big issue. You can't change some headers for email notifications.

    There are a lot of nice features: auto discovery of additional APs joining the WiFi network (I don't use mesh); trunk settings for all my VLANs; SNMP monitoring; on-demand guest network requests; role-based access; single-point FW upgrade; hotspots; Bonjour gateway; application policy and monitoring (I don't use the last 3). PoE works and is standard, no need to look at the datasheet to discover only passive PoE/PoE-mode A are supported.

    I never cared about a single-pane of glass and prefer to integrate everything into something like LibreNMS, which does the job.

    Check out his videos.
     
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  3. fohdeesha

    fohdeesha Kaini Industries

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    Modern Ruckus stuff will destroy UNIFI products in terms of raw RF performance, especially in busy environments with a lot of interference to deal with. No gotchas, you can directly download firmware and everything. There's a price to everything though, and in this case the tradeoff is...price. Even used if you can manage to find it, expect to pay 2 or 3x unifi crap
     
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  4. psc

    psc New Member

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    I've had Ruckus previous-gen in the house for years, with no complaints; it was current-gen when I got it, but the eBay prices are just too good to ignore whenever I've needed another AP. I've just been running independent APs so far, and to my suprise roaming etc seemed to work with just the same network definitions on each. I've no idea if it should, but when we move to the new house I'll be dropping in a Director that I recently picked up cheaply. If you can get the Unleashed for sensible money I'd do it; if you can't I'd drop £20 each on the earlier models!
     
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  5. j_h_o

    j_h_o Active Member

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    So what Ruckus models are current/would you all recommend? Why is the R730 faster than the R750?

    Is there some place to play with the UI and CLI or do I have to purchase hardware to play with it?

    What's the equivalent of UAP-AC-Pro, UAP-HD, and say UAP-XG?
     
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    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  6. badskater

    badskater Active Member

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    For those that knows, what kind of Director is needed for the H510s/R610s. I'm currently building my new home Wireless network, and with the Ubiquiti news, I'd go Ruckus but since I like central management, I'm wondering if a Director 1100 would be enough. (I got some of those on the cheap, just need the director now.)
     
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  7. sth

    sth Active Member

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    I moved over from Unifi to Ruckus a year or so ago and its been a significant upgrade in both range, reliability and throughput. I'm very happy with the move and with hindsight wished I had made the leap earlier. Its definitely more speendy but with good second hand equipment :) you can get the price down to something approaching sensible. You can run unleashed without a central controller, or spend on a license for the central controller, you will need a license per AP as well. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to help answer any questions you have.
     
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  8. hardcore

    hardcore New Member

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    I moved the company into into Rukus kit right near the start..
    We had significant issues related to mac osx WIFI & rukus, with both shouting they were following the spec & it wast the other companies fault...
    Spent a lot of time in tracking it down with both companies, most of it got resolved, but there were major issues with "handoff" and sleep related problems.(the stuff the spec did not cover)
    Specifically that one or the other end assumed the link was still open whilst the other end thought it had died & saw it as spoofing

    So what I will say...... is Check any kit with
    1. handoff between points
    2. check the sleep functionality of the pc's
    3. Don't install in China environment.

    if it is corporate, then I would say go with the central controller, it gives you WAY more manageability & site management/logging.
    the controller has an associated number of licenses.... DO NOT let the reseller CON you into buying a license for EACH AP , if you have a central controller...
    Also if i remember correctly... if you "dual up" you controllers , your license coverage DOUBLES, even for the unit in standby..
    We were in a situation that, individual AP licenses would have cost more than the controllers... so we just purchased controllers instead of licenses....
    Also be aware... NO licenses =NO support or firmware...

    They have CUTTING edge directional Antenna tech.... with can really cut thru most crap. (unless it's china)
     
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  9. Rand__

    Rand__ Well-Known Member

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    I had been reading up on Ruckus since @sth posted his FS thread;
    At this point I think the main issue is that in order to get current WiFi5 Max speed you need a 730 AP which is indeed not cheap. The cheaper 310/510 have lower max speed which is kind of annoying (while still being quite expensive).
    On the other hand with WiFi6 looming I wouldnt want to spend major cash on something that is outdated in 6 months...

    That leads to 'how is deprecated stuff supported'? Are firmware updates (at least security) available for older APs or are those completely out? Does it make sense to buy old gen (x00 or even older) at this point in time?

    To me it looks like waiting till WiFi 6 hits the shelves and then buy last gen stuff being replaced might be the way to go at this point, but happy to be proven wrong:)
     
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  10. fohdeesha

    fohdeesha Kaini Industries

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    they're still actively pushing out bugfix and security fix firmware for 10+ year old wifi and ethernet switching products, it's all totally free, you just gotta make an account. In terms of openly supporting EOL gear ruckus is the best I've come across. They're still pushing out firmware for the FCX, a switch made by Foundry, which was bought by brocade, then bought by ruckus! they just won't quit
     
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  11. Rand__

    Rand__ Well-Known Member

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    That sounds great!
     
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  12. pcmoore

    pcmoore Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback everyone, I ordered a couple of access points to replace my Unifis and I'll report back in case anyone is interested.
     
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  13. PGlover

    PGlover Active Member

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    Which model number did you order?

    I have both the Unifi and the Ruckus R720 APs. For me the Unifi has the better performance. I did think I need to do some more tweaking of the configuration on the Ruckus.
     
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  14. pcmoore

    pcmoore Member

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    I ordered two R710 access points as well as a R310. The R710s are for normal access point roles, the R310 is to act as a wireless uplink for a small wired network.

    I debated long and hard between the R710 and the R720, but ultimately decided on the R710 because I didn't feel the need for the 2.5Gb uplink (not enough simultaneous clients to make the jump worthwhile) and the wireless/RF performance looked roughly the same on the datasheets.

    Care to share what Unifi equipment you're comparing the R720s to? FWIW, I've got a couple of AP-AC-Pros and a AP-AC-Mesh.
     
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  15. PGlover

    PGlover Active Member

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    AP-AC-Pro
    AP-AC-Pro

    Once again, I think I need to do some more tweaking of the R720s. I'm using the Unleashed version of the R720. I have 2 units. Would love to hear from others on any specific settings /configuration required on the R720s.
     
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  16. sth

    sth Active Member

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    My R710, R720s both handily outperformed my Unifi SHDs. I dont think theres any Ruckus magic involved, more just sensible AP configuration.
    So channel selection, disable unused 802.11b / OFDM, power levels and most importantly optimal AP position. If investing in good APs you owe it to yourself to optimally position them, look for Chanalyzer and associated hardware to be able to optimise. Also make sure you domt have any electronic Mosquitto repellants which my wife handily installed, they flooded the spectrum with noise throughout the 2-5Ghz range! :-D

    Link: Deliver Reliable WiFi with Chanalyzer + Wi-Spy
     
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  17. PGlover

    PGlover Active Member

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    I'm not seeing the OFDM option in the GUI.. Where is it located?
     
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  18. zer0sum

    zer0sum Active Member

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    Disclaimer: I work for Juniper Networks, although not in the wifi arena

    You guys should check out the Mist AP's from Juniper.
    If you take the time to schedule a full demo, they'll even send you a free AP :)
    Wireless Demos - Explore Mist Systems

    The AP themselves are awesome, but the most valuable thing they offer is cloud mgmt with a microservices architecture, and AI/ML.
    The AI is called Marvis and you can use natural language queries to discover anything you need.
    Within hours of getting them installed you can see all the areas where your network is failing, and then fix it

    As soon as I got 2 Mist AP's installed I could see I had coverage issues, and one particular client just wasn't getting consistent dhcp.
    Basically, all of my wifi issues disappeared in my house, and it's just not something I need to fight with anymore.
    Previously I have had some old Ruckus AP's, Aerohive, TPLink, and all sorts of consumer gear with ddwrt/tomato.

    Sadly, I haven't seen any of them show up on Ebay yet, but I guess it's only a matter of time.
    You would need to buy a cloud license, but the analytics are really amazing, and I'd gladly pay up to not have to worry about my wifi anymore :D

    upload_2019-11-14_9-47-2.png

    upload_2019-11-14_9-50-23.png
     
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  19. fohdeesha

    fohdeesha Kaini Industries

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    Do they require a "cloud license" (and working cloud service) to function? If so I know that will rule them out for 90% of the users here :p (I prefer my gear to just work, on its own - an increasingly novel sentiment)
     
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  20. pcmoore

    pcmoore Member

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    Agreed, management via a cloud service is fine only so long as I can disable/block it and the system still functions and can be managed locally.
     
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