The Automated home Wi-Fi network is critical. If there’s even a blip in service the family seem to go into melt down.
More and much more devices are hanging off our wireless LAN, laptops, smartphones, tablets, IP CCTV Cameras, energy Monitors, weather stations the list goes on, so it needs to be fast, far-reaching and reliable.
So when the men at LinITX told us about their new Xclaim WAPs our ears pricked up. The range currently consists of 1 outdoor and 3 indoor units and although they are aimed at SMB and small office-home office (SOHO) users Xclaim describe them as “Wi-Fi for the Non-IT Guy”, promoting their ease of setup. They recommend them for networks of up to 10 access points and up to 100 users.
Some of our new MacBooks and iPhones now support the new fast 802.11ac conventional so we were keen to try the Xclaim Xi-3, a dual-band, dual-radio (simultaneous 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) AP that supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with aggregated throughputs of up to 1.167 Gigabits per second.
In the box you’ll find the unit itself, which is similar in looks to the first generation Apple Time capsule although slightly smaller 15.8 cm x 15.8 cm x 4 cm. It’ll sit nicely on a desktop or if you choose there’s a wall mounting plate included plus T-Bar clips to mount it to a suspended ceilings in a commercial setting.
It comes with a Power over Ethernet injector, we really like PoE as it implies running a single cable television (there are 2 ethernet cable televisions are included in the box too). Xclaim say the unit ‘typically’ consumes around 6 watts in use.
Set up of the WAP is all done through the totally free harmony for Xclaim App that’s available for the iphone and iPad (iOS) and Android.
We set the whole thing up using the app’s guided wizard on our iphone and after an initial reboot so the unit could upgrade itself to the most recent firmware all went without a hitch.
That latest firmware (version 126.96.36.199.89 reviewed) also brings with it a new web interface to monitor and configure the unit. It’s fairly sparse for now though with only the basics available in your browser window.
You can create up to 4 separate Wi-Fi networks (SSIDs) per access point and you can assign different SSIDs to the 2.4GHz and 5Ghz bands.
Xclaim is made by Ruckus and features their ‘multiple polarization antenna’ (PD-MRC) technology.
We currently use 3 Apple access points to cover the whole house. We replaced them with this single unit siting it fairly centrally upstairs. Impressively it reached almost the entire house, just cutting out at the extremes of one side. In our test the 5GHz network held on well too, measuring only marginally weaker than the lower frequencies much more easily propagating signal. Network speeds seemed on a power with the Apple setup too.
One unusual thing we discovered was our Sky+ iphone app only worked if we were on the 5GHz SSID, refusing to work on the 2.4GHz one (it worked fine on either with the Apple setup). also when scanning our LAN (using the outstanding Debookee Mac app) it could not see devices connected to the other SSID. again this was not the case when using our old setup. If you’re searching for much more family friendly features (timed access for example) you may again be better off taking a look at the Apple airport Extreme which costs around £10 more.
RELATED: Quality home Wi-Fi Networks with Ubiquiti UniFi
It seems unusual that these units initially shipped without any browser interface and reading through the Xclaim support forums it’s clear that this is a product that’s still in its infancy. It will probably take several much more firmware updates to mature to the level of its competitors.
The Xclaim APs start at around £70 for the i1 with this i3 version evaluated costing around £160. That compares to £225 for the Ubiquity UniFi 802.11ac equivalent so there’s a lot to like about the price and although there are some issues with the current feature set we can’t fault the i3’s speed and especially its range around the Automated Home.
xclaimwireless.com : Xclaim at Linitx.com
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