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Buyer's Guide
Wireless LAN
July 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.
Tim Brumbaugh - PeerSpot reviewer
Solutions Architect at Golden West Technologies
Real User
Top 5
Great performance, easy to set up and simple to configure
Pros and Cons
  • "The product has some very awesome patents on their radios and their antennas and antenna patterns and how their signaling works. That's why nobody can touch them. If they go head to head with anybody."
  • "The cost could be slightly improved. It's not on the low end, and it's not in the high end. It's in that middle area, which can be a deciding factor between someone going with this solution versus another one."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for its performance, compatibility, and general capabilities. We do a lot of schools, colleges, large civic centers, large arenas, etc. That kind of stuff. We know how to deploy this so that the clients get great client connectivity.

How has it helped my organization?

In terms of COVID, we've deployed external access points to the outside of a lot of the buildings. These are very weather-resistant, all-metal enclosures. The students have been able to do assignments and schoolwork and that kind of stuff from the parking lots of the schools. They can drive up in their car, get their assignments, or do work that they need to while they're connected to the school. It made social distancing in this way pretty seamless as everything was already set up on their laptops. Most of the schools are what they call the one-to-one initiative, where every student gets a laptop and they've been able to work through COVID from their cars in parking lots when they needed to be at the school for something. It's really benefited a lot of the schools to be able to do that.

What is most valuable?

The performance of the product is amazing.

The ease of configuration that's on offer is very good.

The product is very compatible with other solutions.

The guest onboarding is so simple. We can onboard guests really easily. Each guest that connects has a pre-shared key that they get which are all unique. We have some great control over the guest and corporate traffic. We can control how much bandwidth a guest user gets versus a corporate user, and who gets priority on there. 

Ruckus is way ahead of the game on a lot of stuff like Wi-Fi 6. They're already rolling out the second version of Wi-Fi 6, which is a huge improvement over even Wi-Fi 5. The way wireless started is you had 802.11b, 802.11a, then 802.11g and 802.11n, then 802.11ac, then AC wave to 802.11ax which is the first version of Wi-Fi 6. The next version of Wi-Fi 6 is rolling out already.

The product has some very awesome patents on their radios and their antennas and antenna patterns and how their signaling works. That's why nobody can touch them. If they go head to head with anybody. They blow Cisco and Aruba out of the water and even Mist for radio plant connectivity. On top of that, they have very good engineering. If I ever need help with engineering stuff, I can call on them. The company does a really good job, which is why we've stayed with them.

What needs improvement?

They're leaders in what they're doing. I don't know what they can do to improve what they're doing currently. 

The cost could be slightly improved. It's not on the low end, and it's not in the high end. It's in that middle area, which can be a deciding factor between someone going with this solution versus another one.

They've got a rotation or a life expectancy of about four years for the radio. Not that radio is going to die right hten. I've got some that are way older than that, that the customers are still using. However, they take them and they end the life of them at four years. Any of their wireless products are end of life by year four. Most of it's because technology has changed so much that those old videos can't do stuff that is now available for PCs to connect or phones to connect to that kind of stuff. 

What they do is they force you into a Cloud controller. We've got a couple of them. If I've got a Cloud controller there and it's on version 5.1, and I want to go to version 5.2, bdue to the fact that I need to support the new radios coming out, I can't if I have some older radios on that controller. I can't upgrade that controller to the latest software to support the new radios as I've got some end of life radios on there that go into life when I upgrade the software. They need to be able to allow us to keep some of the older products on the Cloud controllers or any of their controllers longer, and just start supporting the new controllers. They force you into an upgrade unnecessarily.

We have some customers that have just a few APs. There are some small businesses that don't want to, or don't need to upgrade their controllers and they're crushing their access points. For us to be able to work with the latest access points, we've got to upgrade our controller, however, we can't. That bites us every year. We'll have customers that have APs that are going end of life that still work fine, but we can't manage them anymore.

I know the reasoning behind it is it could be security features or it's something that the access points don't support that newer devices do. They'll support this new Wi-Fi 6 coming out, however, I can't run the same types of radios on this particular controller software anymore. That kind of puts me off a little bit, however, that's the only thing that the company has done that's made me mad.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for the past six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the product is rock solid. We haven't had any issues at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is extremely scalable. I can have up to three controllers with each one housing 10,000 APS. I can have a cluster of controllers controlling 30,000 different APS. I don't have anything that big. One is close to a thousand and that's the biggest I have. Still, it's nice to be able to build in more redundancy. 

How are customer service and technical support?

As a Ruckus partner, I've got access to Ruckus. I've got access to tech support, and it makes things a lot easier for the end-users and businesses I work with. If they have an issue, they can come directly to me or they can go directly to Ruckus, it doesn't matter. I'll be happy to help them. If I can't answer the question or get them fixed, then we'll get with tech support. I don't call tech support very often. Maybe once a year, if that. They make a good product and offer good training. Once you learn it, it's pretty easy to manage. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to have Cisco's products for one or two years. I don't know the last time I had to turn in an RMA for a Ruckus radio. They're a solid product.

How was the initial setup?

I've been doing implementations for a long time. If it's brand new to the system, like any system, it can be fairly complex. However, they have great documentation on their website on how to set it up. If a client needs complexity, however, they need help. That's where I come in.

I can go in and configure things securely for guest access and BYOB devices and corporate laptops with 802.1X. I have a stand-alone AP, I just got one office with one AP. I don't need it to be controlled by anything. If I've got one or two SSID, it can still be configured. It's just that you're doing it on the AP or, alternatively, they have what's called Unleashed, which is controller-less. The AP is the controller that can do up to 50 APs all controlled by one AP. If that AP was to die, it doesn't matter, that configuration is saved on all of them. 

There are several different interfaces you may run into, to be able to configure everything. However, they're all very similar in how they work and react. The full controller has much more capability than Unleashed and at least has more capability on the stand-alone. In any case, it's all well documented, and all straightforward.

In terms of deployment times, we figure for AP it's an hour and a half, so you can just figure in that as the base amount of time you need for each AP and that includes configuration and installation. Therefore, if you have 20 APs, it's about 30 hours for 25 APs and that's setting up the controller virtual, or Cloud-based, setting up the AP, the SSIDs, passwords, 802.1X., and then physically mounting them.

What was our ROI?

The solution definitely offers my clients a good ROI after they implement it.

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

They don't really need to be cheaper. They're not the most expensive, and they're not the least expensive. They're right there in the middle.

What other advice do I have?

We're a reseller as well as a customer.

We're running the latest software. We deploy through a controller and we use 802.1X. There're multiple ways to deploy to customers. There's a cloud controller, for example. We typically do a virtual controller on their systems.

If a company is new to Ruckus, it's best to work with a partner. You need somebody that knows what they're doing, and knows what questions to ask so that you're getting the right information. When I go to do an implementation, I've got a list of 50 different questions. I'll ask somebody, what about this? What about this? What about this? It will help with the implementation process if someone has a complete view of what to ask for and what to do.

You get what you pay for. People will throw in Linksys, and this other stuff. If you're a business, say you're a coffee shop and you have 50 customers sitting there. You want all of them to get the same performance all the time. I want to make sure everybody gets an equal amount of time without anybody getting any interruptions.

With Linksys and Ubiquiti and all these other brands, you don't get that. When it comes to the head-to-head competition, the Ruckus far out-shines them. Ten to one, you just can't compete. When they say it's going to do something, it does it. They don't put documentation out that is misleading. If it says it'll do 1,024 clients it'll do 1,024 clients. If it says it'll do 4.3 gigabytes, it'll do 4.3 gigabytes. It's great.

Overall, I would rate the solution at a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Lee Tilley - PeerSpot reviewer
Director of Information Systems at a non-profit with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Knowledgeable and helpful support, and it scales and load-balances to fit our needs
Pros and Cons
  • "What I like best about Meraki is that I can change it from anywhere."
  • "Initially, I liked some of the filtering features, but that's one of the components that we ran into problems with."

What is our primary use case?

Our basic feature here is that we're in the education field.

I used to be a Cisco controller-based program, and 

How has it helped my organization?

This product has absolutely improved the way our organization functions.

It's much faster and it's more balanced. It gives me the ability to balance the network a little bit better from a 2.4 interface, as far as channelization is concerned. Then, with AC coming out with the five gigahertz, getting much more stable, it's allowed a lot of us to switch over to that. However, it is important that you still have the support for 2.4 because it's out there.

What is most valuable?

What I like best about Meraki is that I can change it from anywhere. I'm really the only person here that understands the concepts, which means that if I'm not on campus, resolving the problem is something that I can do online.

We also have a resident program here as well. So, if something's not right with the resident or they have an issue with their internet over there, I can flip to make it go over to a different internet circuit pretty quickly without ever coming onto campus.

What needs improvement?

Initially, I liked some of the filtering features, but that's one of the components that we ran into problems with. We don't use it as much anymore. This is one of the things that I'm trying to find out if Aruba does better.

For example, I like all of my iOS devices to go on one network so that if they try to do iOS updates, we have an Apple server online so that they can just pull the iOS updates from it instead of having them on other parts of the network. Also, we're a one-to-one school where we give laptops out, and I'd like to be able to block the old laptops from being able to access the network. That means that the students are forced to use their new laptop, as opposed to an older one.

It would be really helpful if there were a way that the access point could determine whether the client has an AC radio and if so, force it to try and connect to there first. As it is now, it lets the client determine how it wants to connect. This is the case with wireless in general, but it would be nice to have this option.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Cisco Meraki Wireless LAN for approximately six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The only time we've had any issue at all is when the firmware upgrades don't automatically apply. You can set them to automatically apply, but you have to be really careful in a school setting, because you can't just say, "Oh yeah, I want to reboot this building." It would mean that the entire building will go down. This means that you have to schedule those a little bit differently. I always do it manually instead of automatically.

I wish it would let us do one access point at a time because then I could literally do a building. It doesn't let you do one at a time. It does let you schedule them as a network but doesn't let you pick a specific access point for a specific time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a product that scales pretty easily. We have about 1,200 people using it.

We have students and teachers and parents, and then, of course, we have staff members in general, and lots of different devices. One of the big things that I will challenge people at, and I don't think a lot of people realize this, but the challenge of some school networks is, especially for us, I'll use a final time, for example, is all of a sudden you have to have 850 to 900 people on the network at one time.

The exam starts now and all 850 students have to get on the network now. You don't see that any other school at that point in time. Kids come on, they join whenever, they've already got it on. You don't see that, but in those classes when they have to start exams, everybody has to hit that network and load a page now. Your network has to be able to be designed to handle that.

This is one of the reasons we've had to balance the wireless to make sure that we've been able to get good successful connections throughout the entire campus inside of every classroom. That way, no access points overloaded or the bandwidth is not overloaded. If you lose one in the middle, it's enough that it can withstand the fail over of another classroom in the middle of that type of exam.

It is this concept and design that has allowed us to sustain this system for more than five years without a problem.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is pretty good the team is very knowledgeable. Normally it takes once or twice to get through to them or get to the right level, but other than that, it's really good. I would rate them an eight out of ten.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We originally had Cisco and it was really costly. They eventually grew out of our price range in terms of the price of their equipment.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Aruba but at the time, I didn't feel that they were quite there. They had just introduced some of the web-related products, and Meraki was already seasoned.

We are currently looking at other products, including those from Aruba and Cisco. This is because our licensing is about to expire and it's time to upgrade the access points in some of our buildings. 

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is considering this product is that you have to evaluate what your overall goal is. If you have a team that's going to monitor your network, that's not going to be there, especially if they're offsite, then you're going to have to do a web-based solution because that's the easiest way that they can help maintain it, versus an on-premise solution.

That narrows you down to a couple of different entities. Then, you just have to look at your features and what you like, from security measures to applications to structure. You have to find what fits the best.

I would definitely do an evaluation with any of them to make sure that they all fit within your confines.

In summary, this is a good product but there is always room for improvement.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Electrician at IHG Consulting LLC
Real User
Top 10
Easy way to update devices from anywhere in the world
Pros and Cons
  • "The meshing capabilities are the most valuable feature. When I am going in-between buildings, my phone doesn't have to pick up different WiFi. They are all the same. Even in-between the buildings, I stay connected."
  • "There is always room for improvement."

What is our primary use case?

It is a multi-building campus. This way, when we are in-between buildings, we have them meshed together. Then, we can stay on the same WiFi throughout all three buildings. It is in a church, which I have one in my house. Then, we have a church that I go to, where we have three in one building, two in another building, and five in the third building.

How has it helped my organization?

I can deploy and manage multiple remote and local sites via this system. I'm an electrician too. I did all the power for the building, and when I'm offsite, I can still help them out. Then, at my house, if my kids are not doing what they're supposed to, then I can shut down my WiFi, so they have to get busy.

The solution enables me to manage my entire network from anywhere in the world, which is very important. The church streams on Sundays and Wednesdays, and with work, I do a lot of travel. So, I'm not always onsite to be there to help them out if there are any issues with the network, but I can help them out remotely.

As long as it is on the cloud, I am able to configure an access point and ship it to another location, then manage the device remotely. This is nice because it is simple and easy.

What is most valuable?

The meshing capabilities are the most valuable feature. When I am going in-between buildings, my phone doesn't have to pick up different WiFi. They are all the same. Even in-between the buildings, I stay connected. They are strong devices.

We use the NETGEAR Insight management solution. It is pretty simple and easy to use. It is an easy way to update the devices that I have: five switches and a firewall. It is an easy way to keep all my other devices updated. 

I have used the Insight management solution app on my phone. That is usually how I access it. I use my phone most of the time, which is a lot easier than getting my tablet out or bringing up my laptop.

The solution’s throughput speeds are good and super fast.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for about a year and a half.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I'm happy with the stability. It is very consistent, and there have been zero issues.

We have had awesome wireless access throughout the whole campus in all the buildings. With the COVID-19 and the pandemic along with the streaming and all that we have to do now, we haven't had any issues.

An update of firmware on this stuff is about it for maintenance. I also get compressed air and clean my devices a couple times a year.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is very scalable.

I have them unlocked because each access point is supposed to be able to handle 600 devices. We don't have 200 people on campus at any given point, most of the time.

At this time, I'm the only person who maintains it.

It's really getting used on Sundays and Wednesdays. However, throughout the week, there are just a few people in and out of three buildings using it.

How are customer service and technical support?

They changed the Internet provider on campus, and that changed the IP address. So, I did use NETGEARS's support, and they were really helpful.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before, it was just pretty much a residential system, which was different throughout each building. 

At my house, I just had a regular wireless router. Right now, I have WAC540.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. I am an electrician. I hook up switches, do infrastructure, etc., but I'm not an IT guy. I have hooked up multiple switches on their sites with PoE switches, and we had zero issues.

All of our devices are unmanaged, so it takes no time at all. I pretty much just plug and play.

What was our ROI?

With the Insight management solution, it is awesome that you don’t need an additional cloud controller, appliance, network manager, or PC/server to configure and manage your access points. It's a money-saver because I don't need to have somebody else come in and manage any of the equipment. I can take care of it anywhere in the world, as long as it is online.

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

It wasn't much more than 100 dollars a year. For the devices that we have, the pricing was pretty fair. 

They have good, reasonable pricing, so I can pass that price difference onto my customers.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate other vendors. I just feel more comfortable with NETGEAR over a Cisco or something else, because of NETGEAR's ease of use and configuration. Also, the sales guys that I dealt with at NETGEAR were really easy to work with. They explained a lot to me.

With the NETGEAR solution, you don't need to spin up a controller. Whereas, with Meraki, you do. This was one of the big deciding factors of going with NETGEAR.

NETGEAR is just so much simpler to use. That is compared to every other platform, like Cisco, Aruba, and Ubiquiti.

I have only been using NETGEAR mainly on this type of stuff. So, I don't have anything to compare it to.

What other advice do I have?

I am very happy. We have made other purchases with NETGEAR products since the initial purchase.

They are the way to go with their customer support as well as their easy equipment installation.

We built a system, which is way above where it needs to be right now. So, it will be a long time before we have to increase it.

My biggest lesson is to use the NETGEAR products because it was so easy.

I would rate it as a 10 out of 10, but there is always room for improvement.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Owner at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Stable, easy to deploy and manage, and fewer access points are needed when compared to other vendors
Pros and Cons
  • "The most beneficial thing about Ubiquiti is that it is simple to deploy."
  • "The downside is the interface changes, where they are constantly doing firmware updates."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and the Ubiquiti WLAN is one of the networking products that we implement for our customers. We have worked with different versions including the AC Pro HD, the HD, and the XD.

I have set up and manage multiple sites. There are 45 access points deployed all over a billion square feet.

What is most valuable?

The most beneficial thing about Ubiquiti is that it is simple to deploy. I found that the access points were easy to identify on the network and they came over easily, which was an upside.

What needs improvement?

The downside is the interface changes, where they are constantly doing firmware updates. I often felt like I was being pushed into updates, in spite of it already working. In my mind, it also raises a red flag because you have to wonder why they keep changing the firmware. You can decide to ignore the update, but then if you move the access point then it will update automatically anyway. This is a little bit of control that you give up. So, while it is easy to deploy, all of these things that happen in the background make me uncomfortable.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Ubiquiti in general for several years, but specifically with WLAN for the past two to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The Ubiquiti WLAN is very stable, although if I don't update it, I feel a lot better.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is not good. We did get help, but I didn't have a good feeling about it.  By comparison, it isn't the level of support that you would get from Cisco or Aruba.

I would say that they have improved from when I started with them a few years ago and that they are getting better. In fact, it's a lot better, and also, the need for calling technical support has been reduced as well. By comparison, we call Fortinet for technical support more often. With Fortinet, we often joke that you wait on hold for so long that you've fixed the problem before you even speak with somebody about the issue.

Another comparison is with Meraki; with them, you get them on the phone quickly and they fix the problem. That's it. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have experience with products from several vendors. Some examples are EnGenius, Fortinet, Cisco, Juniper, Aruba, and Cisco Meraki.  There are differences between them and some of my colleagues are upset with the security levels that are offered by some of the other vendors.

For example, if you want to compare Juniper to Cisco, Cisco settings are not as secure. The group settings are much higher in terms of encryption on the Juniper than on the Meraki. And, if you want better security, which is group 14, you can't do that unless you call them up and they actually set it for you. So that's on the Meraki side, or Cisco.

In terms of support or how things actually happen under the hood, some people liked Meraki the best. I am leaning towards liking Meraki more, but there are some drawbacks. As far as the support is concerned, or the overall experience with the solution, Ubiquiti is simple and easy and inexpensive. You go to Meraki or you go to Aruba or you go to the others, it's a lot more money.

For many years, I use the EnGenius products for Wi-Fi. Pretty much all the access points we were selling to our clients were the EnGenius brand. Then we went to Ubiquiti and I was happy because it was much easier, I can manage it in one place, it's better, and I don't have to update things as much if I choose not to. With EnGenius, I never changed anything. I set it once, and I forgot it, and there's something to be said for that. You just set it and forget it and leave it. But the EnGenius, if you have to do troubleshooting then it is quite a problem because the management is terrible.

How was the initial setup?

We implement and deploy network solutions for our customers. This includes setting up the physical access points, then configuring them by adding them to access groups, making sure that the channels don't conflict with other devices, and so forth.

The deployment and models depend on the density of the access points in the space.

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

This product is more cost-effective than some others on the market.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is implementing Ubiquiti is to first make sure that you have a good plan first. Make sure that you have done your homework in terms of the space where it will be installed. The best is if you're replacing the existing solution, you should still review the placement. The reason is that nine times out of ten, you'll use fewer Ubiquiti devices than you would if you were using Aruba, or Meraki, or some other brand.

You don't need to buy as many, even though with the budget you have you can buy twice as many access points for the same money you would spend on Meraki, but it's overkill. You don't need that many. So, be conservative about the number of access points that are put out there. This is to say that you have to do a really good survey.

Look for metal plating, look for the line of sight access, so that you put the access points where they can actually see each other. Make sure that the access points are not too close to each other, but not too far away. That's the whole thing. I go with 50 or 75 feet away, in tight spaces.

Overall, I feel that this is a good product.

I would rate this solution an eight 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
July 2022
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