Buyer's Guide
Wireless LAN
November 2022
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Korey Rutherford - PeerSpot reviewer
Project Manager at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
Top 20
The Insight management tool lets you build a complex network even with limited formal knowledge
Pros and Cons
  • "The metrics demonstrate that NETGEAR really does a good job of balancing the load between the various access points on the networks and this results in an elimination of downtime."
  • "While the data throughput does provide us with full insight into data being used, we find that it's not very accurate."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use NETGEAR for home and office to allow internal network sharing among devices and people. It really is the backbone of the entire network. There is no need for servers or for other equipment beyond what we know is registered in the inside portal. As such, we just get a feed from our ISP and it goes directly into the access points. That's it.

The population for our use case is pretty small. While there are three or four employees who utilize the Insight access points concurrently, there are many more who make use of it throughout the day.

How has it helped my organization?

When it comes to remediation, we have rid ourselves of downtime. The metrics demonstrate that NETGEAR really does a good job of balancing the load between the various access points on the network and this results in an elimination of downtime. While a device may conceivably fail in respects to an access point that is in a different room or in a different part of the facility, there have been no instances in which we've been down without internet or network access. Prior to using the Insight access points, this was an issue every other week. 

I am also impressed by the speed and the feature range. It has allowed us to venture beyond the confines of the standard office space. 

Moreover, it is critical that the Insight Management solution saves us from needing to utilize additional cloud controller appliances, network managers, PC servers or to configure and manage our access points. Were this not the case, we would be left with the option of using home grade equipment. This would simply be too complex and require more maintenance than would be feasible for a business of our size.

Also, I use the Insight Management app on my phone. We occasionally utilize the internet portal for more complex concerns, although 99 percent of what I do is on the iPhone app. I am actually looking at it right now on YouTube. It's just great. It provides real-time changes, with real-time monitoring of what's happening and what needs to be changed. It's the way to go for sure.

Additionally, the solution provides live updates on network status and alerts us when there's an issue. Real time alerts are delivered via email and push alerts. We get emails whenever there's an issue on one of the access points on the network.

What is most valuable?

The configuration and monitoring have been very valuable features. When it comes to the pain points, the ability to monitor and address these is one of the best perks of the app. Setup becomes a breeze once you pass this stage. We only need to scan in a QR code for things to basically be set up.

Insight Management is extremely user-friendly and very relevant with the details that it gives. I'm not a trained IT person, but the layout of Insight or the capabilities of the Insight management tool have allowed us to build a pretty complex network with little formal knowledge on the topic, absent the need to conduct some internet research and follow the prompts.

Moreover, we can manage our entire network from anywhere in the world. This is important because there's no one else to do it. If something goes down or is not working, it's good to have the resources to know what the problem is and to have the ability to rectify it remotely. Since we don't have the onsite resources for engaging the services of IT people or consultants, the ability to be in command of the network and the access points from anywhere we wish is pretty valuable to us.

Furthermore, the throughput speeds are excellent. World-class throughput speeds with the WiFi Six is what we're using in all of our devices.

My impression of the user interface of the top tier version that we licensed is that it's very friendly, informative, and relevant. It has what we need to see and it's easy to access, maintain and monitor.

What needs improvement?

While the data throughput does provide us with full insight into data being used, we find that it's not very accurate. The numbers are just way off. I have already brought this up with NETGEAR Insight Access Points. As for the Insight portal and the Insight app, meaning the part of the app that allows you to see which clients are connected to the access points and how they're connected, these do not work at all. Although our main WiFi network has 50 devices on it, when we enter the app on the website it shows it to be zero.

When it comes to features needing improvement, the WAX610, WAC540 and the WAX610Y do not reliably stay online and this is especially true of the WAC540. This is why we have defaulted most of our traffic over to the SXR80 device, which is the company's newest and most innovative WiFi Six product. 

However, it has been months since the Insight app has acknowledged that there are access points connected to it. Unplugging and replugging it would only enable it to work for around fifteen minutes. It is constantly offline. Meanwhile, the 610s, which are simply the normal Insights, are terribly slow for WiFi six. As such, my praise for the Insight access points really must go to the SXR80 product. It has been phenomenal in every case.

I have four of the newer devices sitting under my desk right now. They plan to unplug the 610s. Since these are only three or four months older than the new SXR80s that have been introduced, I'm a bit disappointed that they're not as reliable and as fast as they should be. Fortunately, since we possess the proper tools and technological resources, we have mostly not been impacted by this. This is because we rely on the main SXR80 access points to a greater extent than those other access points and we consider these to be reliable and great to work with.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for at least a couple of years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability and its potential is great. One can segregate different WiFi networks so that they can simply access other things on the network. If I had the time, I would play around with it more and do such things as captive portals for guest networks, and make things more fancy. I feel confident in my abilities to do all kinds of things with relative ease, such as being able to segregate different WiFi networks so that they can simply access other things on the network.

As for usage, we are unlikely to make increases. While I know this to be possible, as we have the infrastructure in place with the access points for the connectivity of thousands of devices, we have no expectation of doing so. I do know it's possible, though. 

When it came to deciding which route to take, we felt the scalability to be important, as it started with just one access point and then it grew to switches, then to multiple access points and then to Power over Ethernet devices, etc. Therefore, I consider this an important point, even though I don't foresee short term growth.

Moreover, I would say that it's worth spending a little bit more on these products. They provide future-proofing and enable scaling and perpetuation of its use as the network demands increase in pace with technological considerations.

How are customer service and technical support?

Occasionally, I have made use of technical support, although the only time I talked to them directly concerned a switch, not an access point. More recently, I did send them an email about the issues I'm having with the model numbers I mentioned. This was two or three weeks ago. They told me someone, an engineer, would get back to me and this has yet to happen. I simply don't have the time to chase after them right now. 

Generally speaking, the solution is a good thing. It's money well spent. It's worked out well for us. I think it will continue to work out well for us. I just wish that, in light of what we're paying for ongoing licensing fees, the engineers or tech support were a little bit more accessible. For example, I told you that I emailed tech support two or three weeks ago. When I went into the app to create that ticket, all the devices that I had concerns with were still under warranty with a next business day replacement. Yet, for some reason, the phone and email support options had expired. I don't understand how one can troubleshoot and exchange a unit when tech support remains inaccessible. It was only when I clicked on one of the newer solutions that they responded to me. I explained that it was not the one giving me trouble, but that I felt I had no other means of getting in touch with them. 

I'm sure I could have spent an hour on the phone pressing prompts to speak with somebody, but email was the route we took. I would say there are positives and negatives. Yet, overall, I can't think of a better solution out there that would be without pitfalls. Like I said, I'm pretty happy with it.

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

Before using Insight access points we were using ones which are more basic and home grade. 

We switched because of the features, the scalability and the speed. A regular NETGEAR, spaceship-looking access point can cost a lot. However, after only a year or two it can give out and become slower and incapable of handling the number of devices we have. What I mean by devices are actual things connected to the network, not people. There are 150 things connected to these access points, but there are only a few of us using them here.

These devices include phones, computers, printers, smart devices such as TVs, and Amazon solution features. There exist many of what you would refer to as smart or automation-types of equipment. They comprise a significant portion of these devices and are connected to the access points. However, these are features that we're not using on a daily basis, even as they consume resources.

This is why we need something more robust and scalable, so that it can manage and sustainably carry that type of load. We don't deem these criteria to be met with the other solutions.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of the Insight access points did not require us to have any special expertise or knowledge and there was no need to bring in somebody from the outside.

It took us a single afternoon to do the initial deployment.

Our implementation strategy involved us making use of adequate coverage with our requisite speeds. This was simply the strategy that was involved in the placement and purchase of the different devices. We did not make use of a third party integrator or consultant for this undertaking and I handled the deployment independently.

What was our ROI?

While I haven't made exact calculations, I feel that our ROI accrues to the elimination of downtime and the lack of necessity to hire someone external to build and maintain the network. Since we do not consider downtime to be an option, I find it difficult to quantify our exact savings. To properly address this issue I would first need a more detailed understanding of the disparity in licensing costs between our next best solution, Cisco, and the one we chose. I think that the money that we've put into the access points and that which we are investing in licensing them on the portal is well spent.

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

The yearly pricing is reasonable. For what you get, the price of Insight access points is very reasonable. I don't feel like there is anything cost prohibitive or difficult to operate or use. Overall, I am impressed with the Insight portal and how it works and maintains itself, as well as with its scalability. 

My only concern is that our costs will increase with continued use of the product, since they license us annually. This will probably result in some of the less reliable devices being taken offline. Should we not see satisfactory delivery, we will deem it not worthwhile for us to pay the ongoing fees. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did not evaluate other options prior to choosing NETGEAR. I did a lot of research before going this route. It was the cloud aspect of Insight and the fact that it didn't need to be managed on site with servers that sold me on the product. 

Nevertheless, the insufficiently reliable access points made me have second thoughts. However, once we got into the situation with the current setup, it's just been outstanding. Even when it comes to those devices that aren't functioning as well as I would like, the cloud capabilities make it easy to do troubleshooting and get them back on line. I find this to be the case even though it is not what I wish to be doing with my time.

As far as Cisco Meraki or Ubiquiti access points go, I did research Cisco a little bit online. I didn't undertake anything in person. However, I found it to be much too complex for the building and expanding of the basic infrastructure that we require. Plus, the licensing fees made it unrealistic and cost prohibitive.

Furthermore, a key factor in my decision to go with NETGEAR over Meraki was the lack of need to spin up a controller. The fact that it is cloud-based played an equally important factor in this decision. 

What other advice do I have?

We are making use of three WAX610s, one of each of WAC540 and WAX610Y, and five SXR80.

I handle maintenance on my own and this is not a full time job. It's pretty straightforward and this is especially so as the units we have in place are up 100 percent of the time and are lightning fast.

The biggest lesson that I've learned from using the Insight access points is that there is no need for expertise. A master's degree and networking for their use is not required to put together a complex network for meeting one's needs. What we've got going here is pretty complex. As it turns out, it's been built up piece by piece, in a way that doesn't require much technical knowledge.

My advice to someone who is evaluating and thinking of implementing the Insight access points is that it has limitless uses. The solution can be as simple or complex as one wants. We started simple and built it up to be somewhat complex and that has worked out pretty well for us. 

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.
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.
Risk Advisor
Real User
Reasonably priced, works for any size of organization and has helpful support

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the product for wireless connectivity in terms of securing wireless access.

What is most valuable?

Wi-Fi 6 is the most beneficial aspect of the solution. Apart from that, the WPA3 introduction in terms of security is one of the key features.

The solution is stable.

It's a scalable product.

Technical support is helpful.

The pricing is pretty good.

What needs improvement?

The scope of improvement would go along with the technology's adoption into the market. Even though Wi-Fi 6 has been introduced, everyone is quite skeptical in the market in terms of the adoption part, as the platform network should be that strong to cater to that kind of bandwidth. While it may be great in the future, currently, the existing versions are incompatible with some of the networks which customers own.

They could improve the seamless roaming, which is already there, however, needs some tweaking.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for quite a long time. I've been deploying this product to multiple customers and it's been almost five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable. For example, even some military organizations are using Aruba Wireless and RF features. It is quite reliable for an enterprise to work with.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Aruba works with small to large companies. Data is open for all three. They have different kinds of solutions for individual stakeholders in terms of small, medium, and large. They have a different product portfolio offering for small. They have something else for mid-size enterprises and larger enterprises as well. Everyone can be catered to.

It is quite easy to scale, even if a small-scale business is starting with a standalone deployment. They too can scale up to 50 or 60 access points on a mid-scale deployment eventually. The group pattern in terms of the wireless controller has limits to the physical hardware appliances if you already own one. That said, the cloud adoption part is one of the aspects which gives you quite a bit of scalability and you need not worry about your scalability and your future growth.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is quite brilliant and they offer good support as well as product replacement. Any Aruba product that is wireless includes a limited lifetime warranty wherein the delivery scope is not bound to an SLA. They will give a replacement if you purchase support or not. That is the best part of Aruba.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

I also use Cisco.

There are no differences in the technology. There are some user experience differences. Integration would be a part of that. There are many integrations possible in the Cisco portfolio in terms of their own product line. If the entire portfolio is of Cisco, then the integration is quite easy and Cisco has the same kind of offerings. The SLA might differ and some of the user experiences might differ. However, in terms of the portfolio, Cisco stands out as they have an enterprise-class and a different portfolio altogether to cater to the cloud-based market. They have an entire offering called Meraki. They do focus on the enterprise with Cisco. Companies that are small or medium scale work more with Meraki.

How was the initial setup?

The standalone deployments are straightforward whereas the introduction of wireless controllers and security parameters can be complex. That depends on the architecture to which you are applying. Even though direct integration with any of the radio servers or any of the triple-A authentication servers like Mac is very straightforward, it could be complex depending upon the environment.

A standalone deployment would not take more than 15 minutes. It is quite simple. You might need some pre-planning before that. If you planned enough in advance, then it would take you 15 minutes or 20 minutes at a maximum to deploy. If there's a wireless controller deployment, it would take a maximum of two hours to three hours. Not more than that.

Maintenance as such is not required. It's just the regular maintenance that you do in terms of software upgrades or firmware upgrades, in terms of when vulnerabilities are found. 

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

Aruba is quite competitive in pricing. In some cases, on a case-to-case basis, Cisco also gives better discounts in terms of price. 

You may have to pay for additional support if you require services bound to some actual replacement time. They will charge you some amount for RMS support, not for technical support. Eventually, the technical support is built into the cost.

What other advice do I have?

I used to work with an organization that had a business relationship with Aruba, however, recently I've moved on.

I typically work with the latest version of the solution.

It can be deployed on-premises as well as in the cloud.

I would recommend new users utilize each and every feature of the wireless capabilities which are being offered for security. There is quite a bit of integration possible.

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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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.
Buyer's Guide
Wireless LAN
November 2022
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