Product review: The sweetest wireless LAN system
Ruckus Wireless' ZoneFlex Smart WLAN System is powerful, easy, and yes, smart, making managed wireless networks a no-brainer for small deploymentsFollow @infoworld
If you need a network presence at a location beyond the reach of a Cat-6 cable, the ZoneFlex 2925 can serve as a wireless bridge and extend the network's reach by distances of 100 feet or more (depending on the terrain involved). The 2925 is visually distinct from the 2942 (it's a broad plastic "C" that's roughly the same size as the 2942) and is remarkable for the simplicity it brings to the network. Many companies won't need one, but if you do (say, if you want to provide network coverage in an outlying garage or barn), then deploying the 2925 can overcome a variety of hassles and headaches.
The heart of the system is the ZoneDirector, a central controller that coordinates and manages the Ruckus wireless network. Reached through a browser-based management console, the ZoneDirector with its associated software is what really separates Ruckus from other WLAN systems. Setting up a nicely secure wireless network (hidden SSID, WEP -- you know, the basic stuff) is incredibly simple. Even nicer, thanks to the straightforward configuration GUI, it's not much more difficult to set up a series of wireless networks to meet the needs of a variety of different users.
One WLAN, many networks
Once the networks are set up, the ZoneDirector controller gives you all the information you'll need to manage them with no more complication than required in the initial deployment. A status screen shows each access point and all the clients associated with them. Another section shows rogue APs and rogue clients, along with options for dealing with the rogue clients. Among those options, by the way, are locking them out, sending them to the DMZ so that they're essentially harmless, or severely rate-limiting them so that they'll stick around long enough to be found and apprehended.
Because each of the access points also serves as a monitoring point, if you import a drawing of your building, you can get a nifty heat map of wireless coverage. To be brutally honest, I've always thought this particular function was more sizzle than steak when vendors have demonstrated it to me, but it's common in high-end systems, so I have to believe that customers find it useful.