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REVIEW: Xclaim Xi-3 AP & Harmony App


Video: 9 minutes

Walk-thru of the Xclaim Harmony iOS app for managing your Xclaim APs. I wasn't that impressed, but this is a 1.0.x.x version and I expect improvements to future versions.


Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 41 seconds. Contains 538 words

 

Some of my observations:

  • ChannelFly is weird. It almost never chose 1, 6, or 11. And, it changed channels several times an hour on both 2.4 and 5Ghz (actually, more like every few minutes.). I don't see that as a good thing for clients as they have to reconnect every time the channel changes. In theory, I can see that using non-standard channels could work, but changing so frequently will only frustrate users with random disconnects. Here's Ruckus' view on ChannelFly.
  • My 802.11ac iPhone 6 Plus never connected to 5Ghz on this 802.11ac access point. On my office AP, coffee shops, pretty much any AP I connect to, I'm on 5Ghz. But, not on the Xclaim. I still need to troubleshoot that, but it's really odd.
     
  • The Harmony app is really limited. Only basic setup and stats are available. A web interface has apparently been added in the latest AP firmware, but I haven't been able to upgrade. The Xclaim forums says you can reboot the AP, and that the AP checks every 24hrs, and notifies you an update is available. I have yet to see the alert. There is no option to update manually. 
  • Simplicity is a great thing, but sometimes it can go too far. I'm not opposed to keeping it simple, and I hope they can add some more features while still keeping the interface clean, and easy to understand. Also, I'd like to see Ruckus/Xclaim take advantage of the WLAN community to beta test, and give feedback. Seems to me that could have helped a lot with version 1.0. 

The only light on the AP is the one you see. It's either green, or red, and doesn't flash. It's a lightweight, plastic AP, that does not have the "feel" of quality. Also, this is an 802.11ac access point that my 802.11ac device could only connect to on 2.4Ghz.

MY  TAKE: In it's current state I can't recommend these APs. They are too limited in feature set (even compared to consumer products) and I'm not comfortable with the way ChannelFly makes channel decisions. 

My initial thought was to buy the AP, play around with it a bit, and then install it at one of the local coffee shops I frequent. I won't be doing that. I wouldn't feel right installing this for someone. I do believe that with Ruckus behind this they can make a great product, but I think it was put out too soon and feels like a beta product. Their Web site says "Big Wi-Fi" for small business. I'm not sure they are there... yet.

That's an awfully bold claim to make. Right now the reality does not match the hype.

That's an awfully bold claim to make. Right now the reality does not match the hype.

UPDATE: A fellow Tweep made an observation that I missed:

The only thing I can think of regarding this is that these APs are not intended for Enterprise use, but designed to cater to non-enterprise, and hotspot-based businesses. But, again, even consumer-grade WLAN routers support 802.1X.

Just a guess.