I've worked with some wireless hardware from other vendors before but I've read a lot of good things about Ruckus and I'm looking into using it for an
upcoming project and would appreciate some guidance.
I need to provide connectivity in a 60' x 60'
space. There are no obstructions. I cannot ceiling mount any APs over
the interior of the space however I can ceiling mount the APs around the
perimeter. I am planning to use 3 APs, staggered (ex: in the shape of a triangle) and ZoneDirector for management.
Total number of connected clients will be 500. Client devices will be primarily mobile phones. Guest will be seated. Use-case will be social media posting. No video streaming or downloading.
believe either the R600 or the R720 are the APs that I should be
considering. I've read that the suggested max number of clients per AP
when using AES on the R600 is 180 (for 5g). I'm not sure if the same limit
applies to the R720 but I would expect it to be the same or higher.
I'm trying to determine whether I should invest in 802.11ac Wave1 (R600) or Wave2 (R720) capable hardware given that 802.11ax is on the horizon.
Will current mobile clients see a significant benefit from the R720 over the R600?
Wave 2 buys you practically nothing. MU-MIMO is supported only by a small handful of devices (1 pixel model, 3 galaxy models). Everything else - all iPhones, iPads, all Macs, all Surface products, and all Androids (except for a few Galaxies) do not support MU-MIMO. 160 wide channels, another wave 2 feature, are unusable in any enterprise network with multiple APs. I would go with the R510 or R610 since most of your clients are phones and tablets, all of which are 2-stream devices. The R510 is a good choice, and if budget permits, the 610 would give a little more horsepower for a slight cost increase. The R710/720 are good APs but they're an unnecessary waste of money in your case.
As pointed out by David, many of the performance gains brought by 802.11ac W2 are not supported by most mobile devices and also are not achievable in real-world deployments. However it doesn't mean W2 APs are irrelevant. They benefit from higher performance hardware (RAM, processor) and more refined radio technology, which will help in a high-density of users (HD) deployment.
I agree with David's suggestion to consider the R510 or R610. Also the R600 has had a pre-announcement for End-of-Sale.
If possible I'd recommend a higher quantity of lower-spec APs. If possible don't try and cover a large amount of clients with few high-spec APs, it may be better to have 4 x R510s (one of which with 2.4GHz disabled if the APs are in close proximity to each other). This will result in less load on the APs and an element of resilience should you lose connectivity to an AP. Of course it all depends on the physical deployement! My suggestion above relies on the clients being evenly spread around the venue.
When considering multiple MIMO streams (2x2:2, 3x3:3 or 4x4:x), even if your mobile devices don't support more than 2x2:2 (most are 1x1:1) then Ruckus has PD-MRC technology which will bring performance enhancements when using more spacial streams.
A note on your comment on AES encryption. Ruckus APs do this in hardware and there is no performance impact or limitation. Unlike, for example, an AP doing SSL in software, which is processor intensive.
You mention 802.11ax and R720 - I assume you mean R730 as this is our current 802.11ax capable AP. If your budget extends to using R730, then it would be a great choice as it sounds like you have a high-density of users and when 802.11ax is available in client devices it will bring big benefits to HD deployments due to improvements in spectral efficiency. Check out our videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtiP0Ry9DHA&list=PLwZotTMbkZQG61ZyQkjsYugb1aeDR5lne&index=1 You may need to consider multi-rate gigabit Ethernet switches if you deploy 802.11ax APs to future-proof the deployment.
Finally are you sure a ZoneDirector is the correct choice for the controller? If APs lose connectivity with their ZD they will go out of service and a pair of ZDs would be recommended for redundancy. I would recommend investigating Ruckus Cloud managment, SmartZone 100 or vSZ management. Both Cloud and SmartZone platforms offer site survivability for the APs in the event they become disconnected from the controller and do not need to be installed on local premises.
If you let me know where you are located, I'd be happy to put you in touch with a local SE who can assist and introduce you to an appropriate Ruckus partner in your area.
Darrel's comments about generational improvements in radio and chipset designs definitely hits the nail on the head in my experience.
Just testing against a 2-stream Wave1 smartphone, using 80MHz channels in a fairly dense environment, the R600 achieves about 350mbit/s, R510 achieves about 400mbit/s, R710 achieves about 450mbit/s, R730 achieves about 450 down 550 up (probably near the cap of both what 2SS 802.11ac can do, as well as what the client's wifi stack is capable of).
Placing a wall in between, the upload performance from the client to the R710 and R730 is way better, presumably because of better radios on the AP for weak clients.
The reason I give this example is that on paper, the wifi technology of a 2SS Wave1 client is less than all of the Ruckus APs I mentioned. However, the design and speed of the APs still adds a bit of value.
Right now I personally prefer the R710 as my sweet spot for bang-for-the-buck. IMO MU-MIMO in Wave2 has been a sore disappointment in terms of how many clients actually support it and use it. However, I do find that 4x4 SU-MIMO seems to be fairly valuable in being able to perform TxBF on 2x2:2 clients, and for use cases like streaming 4K settop boxes and smartphones with high bursty traffic requirements, it makes a difference.
(I've not tried the R610 myself but I would imagine it's an excellent choice too)