The Ruckus 2942 AP

August 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm Leave a comment

I recently posted about getting an old Ruckus 2942 AP.  These APs have been around for about 6 years, and after using it this weekend, I’m very impressed.

Prior to installing this AP, I used the AP feature on my CheckPoint UTM-1 NW at one far end of the house.  This was primarily to cover that end of the house and the garden area outside.  The 2nd access point that I have on this network is a Netgear N600 running OpenWRT.  This AP is on the opposite end of the house on the second floor.  The two APs mentioned above operated my main SSID, which has full access to my network.  Being employed in networking (and maybe a little paranoid), I use Enterprise authentication to secure my Wifi.  Since we have a few other devices that need to access the Internet but do not support Enterprise authentication, I had a 2nd SSID with PSK authentication running on an Apple Airport located fairly centrally in the house.  This device was connected to a different port on my router, allowing me to firewall it off from the rest of the internal network.  This way, things like my Nest thermostat and a few Nintendo 3DS’s can get out without exposing my internal network.

With the above configuration, the kids 3DS’s didn’t work upstairs very well, but we had pretty good coverage everywhere else in the house, on the main SSID.  In our back yard, there was an area that my wife or I would often sit.  The Wifi coverage there was on the verge.  Sometimes it would work there, but slowly.

Anyhow, that’s all gone.  I now have a single Ruckus AP located very near to where the Apple Airport was, centrally on the first floor.  It’s actually sitting on the top of a hutch on a desk.  It has my main SSID, and then another PSK SSID that dumps out on a different VLAN, so it can be firewalled off, just as my Airport was.

One thing that I’ve noticed about it seems a bit odd.  With 802.11g, I’d expect it to run on channels 1, 6, or 11, since those are the channels with no overlap.  I’ve left the channel set to the default “SmartSelect” option.  Earlier today, I remember seeing that it was operating on channel 10.  As I write this now, it’s operating on channel 2.  It seems to be adaptive, so as it sees interference, it changes channels.

I’ve done speedtests on my phone around most of the house, and the speed is very good just about everywhere.  Where it’s not great, it still worked.  The area outside where it was on the edge before is now fine.  In fact, I went probably another 10 feet further, and still had a speedtest result of around 8 Mbps download.

With the age of this Ruckus AP, it’s only 802.11g, but it works great for everything I’ve thrown at it.  I’m shocked at the range on this old device.  Granted, I’m not doing time machine backups across it, so it’s not getting constantly beat down by a major bandwidth hog, but for multiple iPhones, iPads, and streaming Netflix videos or music, it works great.

My co-worker looked up some marketing videos about Ruckus APs and told me that they are supposed to track the clients and used “beam forming” technology, or something along those lines.  I thought it was all marketing speak, and maybe it is, but I must admit that this AP is working far better than a piece of hardware this old has any right to work.

I’ve only been using it for a few days, but I expect this one to work fine until my 802.11ac Almond+ shows up early next year.  Of course, I’ll have to test to see if it works any better.  Who knows, this old Ruckus might beat it too.

Now, if only Ruckus Wireless had an 802.11ac version that they would send me “to certify”….  🙂

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