New Independent Wi-Fi Stress Testing Reveals Breaking Points for the Industry's Top Enterprise Access Points
SUNNYVALE, CA — February 19, 2013 — Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) announced today its new ZoneFlex™ 7982 Smart Wi-Fi access point (AP) took top marks in a unique, non-vendor sponsored, enterprise Wi-Fi stress test study performed and published by Wireless LAN Professionals, Inc., (WLAN Pros) based in Orem, Utah.
Unlike many common industry Wi-Fi performance tests, WLAN Pros set out to determine how much traffic was needed to “break” access points from nine of the industry’s leading enterprise suppliers including: Aruba Networks, Aerohive, Cisco, HP, Juniper, Meraki, and Ruckus Wireless.
“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 Professionals. “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 for this wireless testing, 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. 30 different volunteers representing five school districts, two universities, seven WLAN AP vendors, and four competing resellers assisted Wireless LAN Professionals during their testing.
“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
The testing, performed at a Canyons School District facility, involved stressing Wi-Fi access points by running high-definition unicast IP-based video streams to dozens of Apple iPads while transferring a 600MB file (up and down) and performing a 20 second iPerf TCP test to an Apple MacBook Pro over the same access point under test. WLAN Pros chose 20MHz wide channels, forcing vendors to work within a smaller RF spectrum.
The dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz) testing involved incrementally adding 5 iPads to the access point under test until more than 50 percent of the iPads were counted as “dead” or the FTP estimate exceeded 20 minutes. For each access point under test, WLAN Pros measured TCP throughput and iPad video errors (having to restart the video streaming to the device).
Ranking the Results
WLAN Pros Wi-Fi Stress testing involved each iPad supporting a video stream while concurrently uploading/downloading files as quickly as possible in the background. The goal was to hold all things constant, only changing the AP. After completing all the testing of supplier access points, WLAN Pros ranked cumulative results of each vendor’s product based on:
- Throughput ranking — Established those APs that had the best aggregate TCP throughput scores. This represents the total number of bytes transmitted—both upload and download for an FTP site added to an iPerf download, divided by the total time.
- iPad video errors ranking — Showed which APs were better at keeping iPads playing videos with the fewest errors possible while the Wi-Fi environment was crowded with other data traffic. Volunteers connected to an SSID, started a browser session and watched video streams. Errors were counted if the volunteer had to restart the video on any iPad during the streaming process.
- Overall combination ranking — This was equally weighted between the throughput ranking and iPad video errors ranking, representing what was the overall best balanced AP.
Who Won, Who Lost?
According to Parsons, the most important part of the tests were 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 network device, like a hub, not like a switch.
According to WLAN Pros, as each AP neared the maximum utilization of the RF spectrum, all of the tested APs failed. The differences between the APs were determined by how well they managed “air time.”
While winners and losers varied from test to test, the overall results of the WLAN Pros testing showed the Ruckus ZoneFlex 7982 outperforming all other devices under test 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
The Ruckus ZoneFlex 7982 incorporates adaptive antenna arrays for up to 4 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. The ZoneFlex 7982 was also recently awarded top-marks as the best 3x3 dual band 802.11n Access Point by Syracuse University, who performed extensive, competitive, multi-client, multi-AP testing in real classroom environments. Results for that can be found at http://tinyurl.com/bypywsh.
For more information on the complete line of Ruckus ZoneFlex access points, please visit: http://www.ruckuswireless.com/products/zoneflex-indoor.
To access the complete 68-page Wi-Fi Stress Test report, published by Wireless LAN Professionals, Inc., please visit: http://www.wlanpros.com, or download a PDF copy of the report directly from: http://wlanpros.com/WiFiStressTestReport.