The Ruckus ZoneFlex 7982 Smart Wi-Fi access point (AP) took top marks in a unique, non-vendor-sponsored enterprise Wi-Fi stress test performed and published by Wireless LAN Professionals. WLAN Pros set out to determine how much traffic was needed to “break” access points from nine of the industry’s leading enterprise suppliers.

“With so many new Wi-Fi devices with which to contend, organizations are now demanding a well-performing wireless network and are, at times, confused and misled by vendor claims,” said Keith Parsons, a certified network engineer and managing director of Wireless LAN Pros. “Our ultimate goal was to keep everything constant and the tests repeatable by only changing the access point. This way we could determine the edge at which these ‘best in class’ access points fall over.”

Parsons emphasized that no donations, gifts or money were accepted from any vendor. All participating vendors were encouraged to and many did actively participate in the testing of their products. WLAN Pros purchased all the testing equipment.

“To make the test as vendor-independent as we could, we adapted the testing to ensure no single vendor had any advantage,” said Parsons. “For instance, we moved the test AP location to not be centered over iPads so Ruckus adaptive antennas and interference rejection wouldn’t give them an unfair advantage.”

Stress Test Details
WLAN Pros Wi-Fi stress testing involved running high-definition (HD) unicast video streams to dozens of Apple iPads while concurrently uploading/downloading a 600MB file as quickly as possible in the background. The goal was to hold all things constant, only changing the AP. For each access point under test, WLAN Pros measured throughput and video errors (having to restart the video streaming to the device).

All of the tested APs failed as they neared the maximum utilization of the RF spectrum. The differences between the APs were determined by how well they managed “air time.”

According to Parsons, the most important part of the tests was the lessons learned:

  • It is possible to run into the limits of available RF spectrum.
  • Access Points are not all the same.
  • Wi-Fi is a shared medium — like a hub, not like a switch.

Who Won, Who Lost?
While winners and losers varied from test to test, the overall results showed the Ruckus ZoneFlex 7982 outperforming all other devices in each ranked area. The Ruckus ZoneFlex 7982 was the only access point able to support 25 concurrent unicast HD video streams to 25 individual iPads — delivering the highest overall aggregate throughput and lowest number of iPad video errors compared to all wireless access points tested.

“Because Wi-Fi is a shared medium, the key to good performance, as we found with our testing, was the ability for any access point to optimize the available spectrum in real time,” said Parsons.

The Ruckus ZoneFlex 7982 incorporates adaptive antenna arrays for up to four times extended range and coverage, and automatic interference mitigation optimized for high-density environments. It provides dual polarized adaptive antenna arrays with 21 antenna elements and over 3,000 antenna patterns for ultra-reliability. The ZoneFlex 7982 is currently the only three-radio, three-stream, dual-band 802.11n access point to combine dynamic polarization diversity with adaptive antenna arrays to give customers unmatched improvements in Wi-Fi performance, signal gain and reception.

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