0

Our company uses Pakedge and Luxul switch/router/Wi-Fi equipment. I see in a lot of the threads on Stack Exchange that Pakedge and Luxul are rarely or never mentioned, (Network Engineering, Super User, Server Fault). However, I see Ruckus and Aruba have a littler more status online. I have always had issues implementing and maintaining Pakedge systems (Wi-Fi managed/unmanaged) and Luxul (wifi managed/unmanaged switches managed and routers). Constant firmware issues/upgrades/downgrades, controllers that are supposed to manage a Wi-Fi network more efficiently but don't.

Sorry for the background, now for the question:

I would like to change what equipment we use what are your experiences with, Ruckus, Aruba or Cisco? This is for the scope of a large network setup for a Control4 system, (20 APs on six 28 port managed PoE switches).

I would prefer Cisco for switches/routers, but what about its Wi-Fi? I don't really get a chance to mess around with Cisco's Wi-Fi except for low end Linksys devices, which I think Belkin owns now.

I would like to use Ruckus or Aruba now. What should I know before I get either one? Anyone ever have problems with either, tech-support or setup wise?

I keep having head aches with Pakedge and Luxul. I just want something that is more reliable and least when it comes to setup. Can't tell you how many times I have to fight with a Luxul AP just to get it setup and save the configuration I want.

Please share any experiences with me.

6
  • Product and resource recommendations are off-topic, as are questions that lead to opinion-based answers. You should edit your question to remove that. Subjective questions that ask for sharing of experiences are OK, but they should not encourage opinion-based answers. – Ron Maupin Jan 8 '16 at 3:07
  • Ok, I update my post. – allegory Jan 8 '16 at 3:40
  • I gave an answer with my experience and insight. – Ron Maupin Jan 8 '16 at 3:44
  • 1
    It's both "too broad" and "opinion based". The question cannot be answered with a single, factual, verifiable correct answer. – Ricky Jan 8 '16 at 4:18
  • @RickyBeam, on the help center under What types of questions should I avoid asking?, it says that subjective answers which "invite sharing experiences over opinions" are constructive and should be allowed. – Ron Maupin Jan 8 '16 at 4:37
0

If this is a large Wi-Fi deployment, you probably want to look at a system based on a wireless controller and LWAPs. The only real experience I have with such a combination is with Cisco. Cisco has a large product line of controllers, LWAPs, and WAPs.

Fortunately, the Cisco devices seem to perform well. There are occasional updates which we thoroughly test if the added features interest us. The wireless controller-based system allows the LWAP updates to be fairly painless since the LWAPs get their software and configurations from the controller.

Using Local mode means that both the management and data traffic are tunneled back to the controller, which can be remote from the LWAP. This has both advantages and disadvantages. The newer Cisco switches (3850, 45xx Supervisor 8, etc.) provide some wireless controller functionality built in to the switch to allow data traffic to be dropped locally. This mode allows for seamless roaming between LWAPs, regardless of subnet/VLAN, without re-authentication.

You could also use FlexConnect mode which only uses a tunnel back to the wireless controller for management traffic, but it will drop data traffic locally. Cisco called this a kludge, because roaming can only happen on the same subnet/VLAN with re-authentication. The switches with built-in controller functions can do something similar to this, on Local mode, without the kludge of FlexConnect mode.

2
  • Yes I would like to use a Controller for the APs. It is a large Wifi network. And Cisco always has the familiarity with it. Have you heard of Pakedge or Luxul? I tried hitting your score up but apparently I can't do that till 15 rep :/ I will leave this topic open though just to see what others might have to say. Thank you. – allegory Jan 8 '16 at 3:45
  • I have never heard of those devices, but "switch/router/Wi-Fi" devices are off topic for this forum. No sweat about the up vote, but this question could get some points for you, and I think that you will get multiple, useful answers. – Ron Maupin Jan 8 '16 at 3:49
3

There are many wireless companies, many of which I have no experience. That said, I personally have never seen or heard of any Pakedge or Luxel wireless deployments.

There has been a lot of change in this industry and probably will continue to be. If someone were to ask me a list of vendors to consider, this would be my current list (in order):

  1. Aruba/HP
    • Based on recent deployments (802.11ac), if you asked me for only one vendor, I would say Aruba. Solid code, great support (both company and community), best vendor roadmap I have seen for wireless, and a product that just works well (and even better after some knowledgeable tweaking).
    • Biggest concern is that companies acquired by HP have not always integrated well. About a year in and so far, so good, but only time will ultimately tell.
  2. Cisco/Meraki
    • Hands down, the biggest wireless vendor in the market.
    • Strictly speaking of the hardware, I think the Cisco wireless products are probably the best on the market.
    • Code generally seems to have had more issues lately, and there have always been concerns about the code on the Meraki line for me. On the flip side, they are probably the quickest to find a solution when a problem is discovered in their code for their main product line.
    • Unless you are a really big customer, I have found Cisco support a bit lacking in comparison to other vendors. I also find other vendor's online communities (Aruba/Aerohive/Ubiquiti) a bit more useful.
    • Cisco's path forward with wireless seems a bit murky after several years into the Meraki acquisition. While Cisco normally merges their acquisitions into their existing product lines, Cisco maintains they will continue to run the separate Meraki product line. Two competing product lines doesn't make a lot of sense to me (a lot of redundancies - engineering, development, QA, marketing, sales, etc). My personal belief is that Cisco loves the licensing (financial) model of Meraki but that line isn't appealing to many of their Enterprise customers. End result seems like they can't make a decision which way to go for now.
  3. Aerohive
    • One product line that can be managed from the cloud or local controllers. Lots of features and options when using their products, keeping in line with the bigger players.
    • Small company with solid growth over the past several years. Dell partnership should help this continue, potentially locking them into the #3 player in the market.
    • Good support with a solid online user community.
    • My primary concern is that I have seen a number of wireless companies stumble when they try to make the transition from smaller wireless vendor to large enterprise vendor. So far they seem to be handling it, but again only time will tell.
  4. Ruckus
    • Popular especially among carriers, they have been winning a number of enterprises as well. Still a small player (but so is everyone next to the top two), but a solid company with sound financials.
    • Features and capabilities seem to be a bit lacking compared to what is found in other vendor solutions, but they have some key technologies (i.e. adaptive antenna arrays) that separate them from the crowd.
    • Didn't need their support much, but didn't have any problems when I did. Their online community is a bit lacking from my perspective.
    • Feedback I have heard is that often works great, but in some environments it can have a lot of problems.
  5. Ubiquiti Networks
    • Not really enterprise, but offers free "controller" software. I often refer to them as semi-enterprise.
    • Seems to be popular among service providers and especially WISPs.
    • Low cost. Almost consumer product low. This is the product I recommend on tight budgets for small businesses, startups or non-profits.
    • Vendor support is only offered during warranty period, but very active online community where vendor support also participates.
  6. Meru/Fortinet
    • This is one of the wireless companies that "stumbled" when transitioning from small to large vendors. Problems with their 802.11n wave one products and their code caused them to lose many customers prior to 802.11ac.
    • Bad first level support, but I never had problems if I could get the case escalated past them. There used to be a couple of decent mailing lists that dried up as they lost customers and the online community they kicked off more recently is lacking.
    • Have heard some reports that their 802.11ac products are much better and the recent acquisition by Fortinet may breath some life back into this product line yet.
  7. Xirrus
    • Been around for a long time with a particular niche product line.
    • I haven't seen one installed in a long time or used one, but I know a couple of people who still love theirs. Can't speak for much more than that currently.

Of these, I have experience with all except Xirris within the last 3-5 years (at least 802.11n) and all have their benefits/problems. In most enterprise environments, I would only look at the top four options, the other three being more niche or small/medium deployments.

Hands down, Cisco and Aruba are the top players providing the best and most stable product with the widest feature sets and flexibility. If you don't want to consider too many vendors, stick to those two and you should be all right.

1
  • That's great, thanks for the info. I've been working with pakedgea and luxul which both have setup issues (constant firmware updating/rolling back) and constant drop outs (APs go offline and need a power cycle). I've seen other vendors use aerohive which is nice, I think they also provide you an install location and heat map (provides you send them floor plans). Currently our next product to try is ruckus, in the area I hear good things about it. – allegory Jan 13 '16 at 17:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.