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Buyer's Guide
Wireless LAN
September 2022
Get our free report covering Aruba Networks, Cisco, Netgear, and other competitors of Aruba Instant On Access Points. Updated: September 2022.
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Network Engineer at County of victoria
Real User
Top 20
Robust with a good level of performance and very helpful technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "It always runs, and it's very reliable in terms of performance."
  • "Their software's really clunky."

What is our primary use case?

We work at a courthouse, however, we manage the data for the entire county. We have them at the Sheriff's office. They use them in commissary purchases, which is a separate SSI and separate VLAN. That's to segregate wireless traffic for different groups of people per their needs. 

We have lawyers that maybe need to reach back into the network and access their documents when they take a laptop to the courtroom with them. And so through that, we've done some radius authentication. Therefore, it's not just an SSI ID. They actually have to log in with credentials as well. 

Then, we have a guest SSID just for general public access, and that's basically running wide open. We do have a simple password audit, however, everybody knows it, and that's separated by VLAN as well and run through Palo Alto. We also have a whole different SSID for patrol units for the Sheriff's office, where they upload car videos and update their car computers wirelessly. We use it broadly. 

How has it helped my organization?

The solution has let us get network access to more people in different locations where wires aren't feasible - like in a garage or for the Sheriff's office uploads in courtrooms. In some of these courtrooms, you can't run additional wire due to the fact that they're historical buildings. You have to have wireless. Also, you have lawyers walking around and you don't want them tripping over stuff. It's useful in every aspect of getting public access - even for when there are events in the square, across from the courthouse. It's basically helped us better serve everybody and provided them with network access.

What is most valuable?

It always runs, and it's very reliable in terms of performance. They are very, very robust, very rugged, and can handle indoor or outdoor coverage. We typically don't have too many problems with the hardware.

What needs improvement?

The wireless LAN controllers at the time when we started rolling out, we went with it simply due to the fact that everything else worked that was Cisco. We figured, if everything else works and we're satisfied with it, let's go that route. However, now people want more access points and more spots. And if you give everybody coverage, the cost is crazy high. You can either say, "No, we can't," or you can go with the cheaper product, even slightly cheaper, plus you get more APs out there for more coverage.

At least with the WLC 2500 that we've been using, you can't take just the stock AP from them. You have to use lightweight firmware. You turn it into a lightweight AP and then you can join it to, or provision it to, the wireless controller, which should be automatic. In most cases, it works pretty well, however, it's still not there yet, as far as plugging it into this network that's going to tunnel back to the controller. I would say it works 7 out of 10 times. For the price, it should be a 10 out of 10. Especially with Cisco running an entire Cisco network with CDP all over the place, there should be no reason it doesn't tunnel back every single time. And yet, there are a few times where it doesn't.

It got to the point where, when I prevent in APs, I just take them directly to the switch that the controller is plugged into and provision them there instead of just plugging them in like you should be able to. 

The software on offer is not great. Cisco lacks in software updates, surprisingly. They don't update their firmware too much for the controller. This is not something you want to be done constantly as it does make downtime, however, I would like to see them more than once a year. Unless there's a critical flaw, or you're running an early release. They're their main releases, I want to say year after year, it's been maybe once a year, and then you have to push it out to all your APs. 

Their software's really clunky. It's not very user-friendly, which you can see that as a good thing and a bad thing. We should learn this stuff, but at the same time, it shouldn't be overly difficult. You shouldn't have your options hidden in menus. You shouldn't have to go 25 minutes deep to get to some security options for a specific SSID. 

Also the way the group their security settings is a little bit backward to me. It's not done by SSID. There's just a security tab. Then, you have to link back and forth through that. However, that's something that you're going to fight with through every controller, every different type of device. We all wish they were organized differently. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We originally started using the solution in 2014.

We had one before then as well. Since we've gone wireless, or implemented wireless throughout the buildings here, we've always used Cisco. This is just a Cisco shop. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is extremely stable. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable. 

The one issue we did have was with their mesh radios. I'm not sure that it was with the radio itself, the software in the radio. They run two different firmware. One is autonomous firmware, which they use with their AP line and then lightweight APs. With the autonomous one, there's no consistency there. For the indoor APs, you'll have lightweight firmware that you need on them. And then for the outdoor mesh radios, they're not fully autonomous, yet you have to have the autonomous software on them for the mesh feature to function. That's a little bit convoluted and I kind of wished that would just have it one way or the other.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution scales easily.

The number of users varies. Some days we have court cases and then you have jurors, lawyers, the media people. It varies widely. I would say on average, we have possibly 200 people a day on a slow day using it. And then on an extremely busy day, it could double that.

We use the solution quite extensively.

We do plan to increase usage, however, it won't necessarily be with this product. We'll probably like to go with a different product based on price and licensing.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is 10 out of 10. Cisco tech support is one of the best supports I've ever dealt with.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. As we have added SSIDs, when we have had a hardware failure, the re-setup, for instance, is a bit more involved. When the controller itself was acting kind of finicky, we did an overnight request and got one in. Re-uploading that configuration was not as easy if that makes sense. If you're setting up a brand new device, it's very easy, very straightforward. If you're trying to restore from a backup configuration, it's not as easy. We ended up actually just resetting it up from scratch.

The deployment itself likely took three hours.

We had some bugs to work out after that, however, the majority of it was up and running within three hours.

For maintenance, you only need one person (a network admin) and then a backup person, just in case that person is on vacation or something.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the setup all in-house. We do have their tech support. At one point, we did get tech on the phone and were working with them. It basically came down to firmware. The one they shipped us could not downgrade its firmware to the firmware we were running on. There was no good way to make it upload the config from an older firmware. They wanted the same firmware restorations. That was kind of a pain, however, we just ended up manually going through and resetting everything, which was not too terrible.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Cisco's APs are licensed and you need to buy them. Basically, for every AP, you have to have a license. Some of the other devices do it so that they support X amount and you can buy the licenses for zero to 20, 20 to 40, et cetera, and it's a little bit more affordable. That's kind of why I was trending towards Ruckus. They handle their licensing a little bit differently. 

Every time somebody asks "How much is a wireless access point? We need wireless in this room." Well, then you tell them the cost and mention "Oh yeah, and there's a license." It's expensive.

Users purchase each AP, and that's until the end of that product's life. If you break it down over a year, it's fairly affordable. However, nobody replaces one AP, we replace them all typically at the same time. Unless one dies or they need one expanded, as far as specific costs go, it's different for indoor and outdoor ones. It might be around $100 for a license. The internal ones are far cheaper than that. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had looked at Meraki before, however, the cost is just astronomical. We're a local government, so there's no money. The cost of Cisco wireless controllers has always been kind of clunky. I had heard a lot of good things about Aruba, and then I heard they were bought out by HP, however, it seems like it's still good. I was leaning more towards Ruckus based on just how it handles traffic and handles the guest VLANs and that it can do SSI de-scheduling. I still need to go back and do an in-depth read on the Ruckus option. I am leaning towards that one, even though it seems like it's a close tie.

I also looked at Ubiquity, however, from what I've read, their hardware is not really up to par when you hit saturation, and on certain days of the week here, we definitely have saturated APs due to the fact that we have court cases. You can go from the usual 10 people on an AP to possibly 40 plus people, all trying to check their internet over the wireless. It gets kind of crazy on those days.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer and an end-user.

We use the 2500 wireless controller and all the APs that go with it. 

We have Cisco switches and routers as well. We were using Cisco firewalls up until about three years ago. And then we switched to Palo Alto. As far as switching goes, still happy with their switches. They're extremely pricey, however, they last forever, and they meet a lot of government requirements that we have.

I'd recommend the solution I wouldn't hesitate to do install it if the company can afford it.

I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten for its ease of setup, ease of scalability, and robustness.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Senior Manager Infrastructure at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Competitive pricing with an easy initial setup but needs better technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "The pricing is very competitive and the feature sets are very good. It compares well against more expensive options."
  • "The support needs improvement. The official support is kind of complex. It's not that straightforward compared to Cisco and Aruba."

What is most valuable?

The configuration is straightforward.

The initial set up is easy. All solutions at this point, at a basic level, are very similar in terms of features and items of that nature.

The pricing is very competitive and the feature sets are very good. It compares well against more expensive options.

What needs improvement?

The support needs improvement. The official support is kind of complex. It's not that straightforward compared to Cisco and Aruba. Their support is probably so much better. That's one of the reasons I'm looking for an alternative solution.

You may find a lack of features compared to Cisco, or other options. For example, on Cisco or Aruba you've been able to find the Wi-Fi 6 access point for a long time now. If you have set up a new solution, you probably will look for something with Wi-Fi 6 coverage. Ubiquiti at that point didn't have it. Now they have it. I checked their website and they do have Wi-Fi 6 support. However, it's clear that they are behind on some pretty standard aspects.

If you're talking about enterprise-level coverage, you likely have many locations. Ubiquiti can handle this, however, it's a bit complicated. To compare another solution, Meraki cloud has a cloud controller. Ubiquiti has a cloud controller, however, it requires some other stuff and probably an appliance that you need to have in order to have this centralized solution control. Cisco is more straightforward and easier to manage at this point. 

If you were to compare solutions in general, Cisco is a step forward. Again, there are no big differences. It's just these minor details. However, overall, it makes a difference, depending on your requirements.

When I started to compare other solutions it was due to the fact that I do have technical issues with this product. There seems to be interference between the channels of the solutions. What I was told is that Ubiquiti can set up the channels automatically in order to avoid interference between channels, especially on 2.4 large coverage. That's fine, however, I heard that Cisco, for example, does have the option to do it automatically for APs. If there's a conflict between channels, and interferences become a big issue on your network, they will automatically adjust. That feature is not available on Ubiquiti. That is probably one of the reasons why I do have some technical issues regarding the overall experience.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution has okay stability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've had issues with technical support.

When it came to dealing with interference, they weren't upfront about the issues caused by too many APs being set up. I didn't really get a timely response from Ubiquiti. It took too long to get into contact with them. Their worldwide support just isn't as good as, for example, Cisco.  

I'm in South America. That means, if I have an issue, I can call Cisco and have expert help in 24 hours or less. Ubiquiti doesn't have that kind of turnaround. They can't help you solve things very quickly. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex. It's pretty straightforward and very similar to any solution of this nature. A company shouldn't have issues implementing it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The relationship between the cost versus performance is probably the reason this is the best solution from a pricing perspective. It's pretty cheap and has the best features if you were to compare it to others. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We haven't switched yet, however, we are looking for new options.

I have issues with interference and I'm looking for products that offer solutions to help me avoid this. I've looked at Cisco, and they seem to be able to adjust automatically if interference is detected. 

I've also looked at Aruba, and I've found that comparing the three, Cisco and Aruba are much more mature solutions.

What other advice do I have?

We are a customer and an end-user. We don't have a business relationship with the company.

I've run an internal audit about the company's Wi-Fi solution properties, all the main metrics about the solution. I was told that there was interference between the channels due to the fact that we have many floors and the floors are where the conflict comes in. Even though the channels were set up automatically by the solution, there were too many APs on the same floor, and that caused the interference to become an issue. It was not caused by the specific solution, however, the fact that their solution was not capable of fixing that automatically or doing something to let me know that that problem was being caused by too many APs density was not the best response.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten. We've had problems with interference, however, that issue aside, the value you get in terms of features and pricing is quite good. It's not the most mature solution, however, it does offer a pretty good set of features overall.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Ing Preventa (Sales Engineer IBW) at a comms service provider with 201-500 employees
Reseller
Top 20
High capacity, good stability, good scalability, and good support
Pros and Cons
  • "Its high capacity is the most valuable. It is also very stable. It is way more stable than other platforms."
  • "Its security can be improved. It doesn't use Wireless IPS. Therefore, we have to combine WatchGuard that uses a Wireless IPS but is a separate solution. These two solutions work in conjunction. We are using the WatchGuard as a sensor and Wireless IPS, and Ruckus is like a platform that is used for the connectivity of the network."

What is our primary use case?

We are a reseller and integrator. We use this solution when our clients have a lot of users or devices that need to be connected to one IP. We use it for a high capacity of connections.

What is most valuable?

Its high capacity is the most valuable. It is also very stable. It is way more stable than other platforms.

What needs improvement?

Its security can be improved. It doesn't use Wireless IPS. Therefore, we have to combine WatchGuard that uses a Wireless IPS but is a separate solution. These two solutions work in conjunction. We are using the WatchGuard as a sensor and Wireless IPS, and Ruckus is like a platform that is used for the connectivity of the network.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for the last ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is very good. We use the switches, and the switches have more stability than the wireless.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has good scalability. We can use ten appliances with an AP. We can migrate to the SmartZone or Cloud. You can use the same appliance initially when you are a small business, and you can keep on using it as your business grows. Its scalability is very dynamic as compared to Aruba Instant On, where you have to use different appliances when your company starts to grow. 

Most of our clients who are using this solution are small and medium companies. We have a few clients who are large companies.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is very good. I was recently trying the Zone demonstration of cloud, and they responded to and answered my questions. Their support was agile. They have documentation, manuals, and videos on YouTube.

How was the initial setup?

Its initial setup was easy. If we are using a common line, it is not difficult to deploy Ruckus Wireless.

The deployment duration depends on the size of the company. For a small company, we can deploy this in minutes. For a large company, it can take a lot more time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Ubiquiti and Aruba Instant On are good for small businesses in terms of cost than Ruckus Wireless.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our clients evaluate Ubiquiti and Aruba Instant On. Both these solutions are designed for small businesses. They are good for small businesses in terms of cost and capabilities. They have very few capabilities as compared to Ruckus Wireless, but they are very good for small businesses. Ruckus Wireless also has a better connection capacity than other brands. Ruckus Wireless is suitable for medium or large companies, and Ubiquiti and Aruba Instant On are suitable for small companies.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution depending on the needs and the size of the company. For a higher connection capacity, I would recommend Ruckus Wireless. If you don't require a higher capacity, I would recommend Aruba Instant On or Ubiquiti. Ruckus Wireless is suitable for medium or large companies, and Ubiquiti and Aruba Instant On are suitable for small companies.

I would rate Ruckus Wireless a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
Business Development Manager at a tech vendor with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Stable with good AI capabilities and helpful technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "The Artificial Intelligence on offer is very useful."
  • "The support on offer to other vendors switching - like Aruba or Ruckus - could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for education customers.

What is most valuable?

The solution offers a very good open API.

It has excellent programmability.

The Artificial Intelligence on offer is very useful.

The initial setup is very straightforward. It's a pretty user-friendly process.

The stability is very good.

We can scale the solution if we need to.

The technical support is extremely helpful and we've found that the documentation is very extensive.

What needs improvement?

The support on offer to other vendors switching - like Aruba or Ruckus - could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three years or so. It's been a while. I've used it over the last 12 months as well.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is excellent. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution offers very good scalability. If a company needs to expand it, they can.

We typically work with medium to large-sized organizations.

We have about ten users on the solution currently.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. They are extremely helpful and responsive. We are quite satisfied with their level of attention.

On top of that, they offer very comprehensive documentation. It's helpful for learning about the product and troubleshooting.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. It's simple. They make it very user-friendly. It's not overly complex.

The deployment can take one to two weeks on average. It's not too long.

It requires a team of ten or fewer people to handle deployment and maintenance. Typically, we have three engineers per project.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the implementation ourselves. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated other solutions, such as Cisco Meraki and Aruba.

We found that Juniper's offering of their API's open interface and Artificial Intelligence were much better. That's why we ended up choosing them instead of other options.

What other advice do I have?

We are a Juniper distributor. I'm a reseller, not a direct end-user or customer.

We use multiple deployment models, including on-premises and the cloud.

I'd recommend the solution. It's a very, very scalable solution and also has very, very good and very powerful programmability and open API interfaces. If a company wants to get the most benefits from the solution, they need to spend some time with the programming engineers to explore the APIs and the interface. It would be a good solution for large enterprises. It could also work for smaller organizations.

I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
Head of Information technologies systems department at a manufacturing company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Stable, but licensing model could improve
Pros and Cons
  • "The stability of the solution has been fine."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use ExtremeWireless for our networks in our stores, logistic center, and head office.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using ExtremeWireless for approximately  15 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability of the solution has been fine.

    How are customer service and support?

    We have not needed support.

    How was the initial setup?

    The full deployment of the solution took approximately two weeks.

    What about the implementation team?

    We have two engineers that do the implementation and maintenance of the solution. We used an integrator for the implementation.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Our access points device is at its end of life. I can buy one more and then I must buy a new device, but if it is a new device it will not support the old virtual appliance. I would need to upgrade our virtual appliance to the next version or build a new virtual appliance with new devices, and it's not good for us. The overall licensing subscription could be better.

    We are on an annual license for the use of this solution. Typically when we build a new store, we buy approximately 30 access points with licenses.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We have recently evaluated Huawei, Cisco, and Aruba solutions.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are n the process of deciding if we are going to switch to another solution such as Huawei, Cisco, or Aruba.

    I rate ExtremeWireless a seven out of ten.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Buyer's Guide
    Wireless LAN
    September 2022
    Get our free report covering Aruba Networks, Cisco, Netgear, and other competitors of Aruba Instant On Access Points. Updated: September 2022.
    635,987 professionals have used our research since 2012.