TLDR: ZD1200 with 9 r710 APs covering 21K sq ft macOS-dominant biz, constant connection issues. Would more access points actually fix the problem?
Long form: I took over an existing enterprise network, consisting of an Untangle, 1Gb switches of various makes and models, and Ruckus for the wireless. The Ruckus consists of a ZoneDirector 1200 and 9 r710 Access Points, on a dedicated switch connect to the Untangle by 1Gb ethernet. The office is a rectangular 21,000 square foot space in a dense mixed-use urban area, with over 100 different wifi networks in range (I'm counting 2.4ghz and 5ghz separately here). We are a macOS-only shop with an average 100-150 devices on our primary wifi, and the same on our siloed guest wifi (total wireless device count rarely tops 300 devices).
I get daily complaints about wireless not working. The most common issues are failing to connect after waking a laptop from sleep, AirPlay not working, and wifi appearing as connected but not transferring data. None of these are reliably fixed by toggling the antenna or restarting devices.
Here are some of the more significant changes I've made in an attempt to reduce connection issues:
Reduced channelization from 80MHz to 40MHz
Reduced channelization from 40MHz to 20MHz
Capped the maximum devices on any AP to 50
Physically moved a couple of the APs to improve coverage
Disabled the 2.4GHz spectrum on all APs except one for specific devices (did it by disabling WLAN service on the 802.11b/g/n radio)
Modified every Mac's default connection preference to be the AP with the strongest signal, not the last AP accessed (which is the default)
I added a script to the most afflicted computers, which keeps the antenna turned off for 5 seconds after waking from sleep
Note: TX Power is configured to Auto, but all radios always run at Full power anyway
There are some other specific tweaks done for increasing compatibility with Apple products, but I've been working on this for over a year and I can't recall every detail. And as it's been over a year, the boss had demanded a permanent fix regardless of cost. That opens up my options in terms of adding access points or even switching to a different vendor.
BUT: I have enough hardware on paper to completely control my airspace, and I don't think more access points will "solve" anything. If I succeed in fixing my network just by overpowering my neighbors, they'll be forced to do the same. I do not want a wifi arms race.
- I see lots of recommendations to turn off ChannelFly. Is CF basically just a failed feature that Ruckus chooses to continue to support rather than fix or pull it? I've not yet seen a thread about problematic connectivity that does not include the recommendation to disable what's touted as a major feature by Ruckus... - 802.11k is not supported on Macs (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206207), so I assume there's no harm in enabling it. - This same article notes that the signal threshold for roaming is -75dB (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206207) - this is a good argument for reducing power. - Why disable 802.11r? OS-X does not support it, but iOS does, so is there harm in leaving it enabled?
In my defense 🙂 I spent time with Ruckus support trying different soups of settings until the problem went away. I just went through my controller and noted all the settings I have turned on and dumped them all in here. I think mostly, what helped was the channel selection.
If your moderator thinks any of that is spam, they have a screw loose. 🙂 This forum is about sharing info and tools.
Even if you're uneasy about mentioning competitors, whoever wrote the blog post was not trashing Ruckus, just noting that Cisco and Aruba have a specific mechanism for dealing with "sticky" clients. It's a real problem - we have coworking space clients who have to take time to tell customers to "disconnect and reconnect" their macs even when they're sitting 30' from an AP because their laptop is still stuck on some AP out in the lobby sitting at -74 db...
I have no interest in that wifi app, it's just literally probably the only thing out there that gives you not just an easier to read wifi status menubar, but OS-level notification popups that you're roaming. It seems like it would be an invaluable on-site tool for any place with a bunch of mac (like the OP).