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Wireless Reviews

Features

The Xi-2 data sheet promises an "enterprise-grade feature set not found in traditional SMB APs". These features include:

  • Controller-free multi-AP architecture
  • Completely mobile-app managed
  • Automatic AP discovery
  • Simple wizard-driven configuration
  • Dynamic channel selection (auto)
  • Automatic traffic prioritization (auto)
  • Airtime Fairness (auto)
  • Band Steering (auto)
  • Client isolation (per AP)
  • Single or multi-AP environments
  • 4 SSIDs per AP
  • "Cloud ready" management (my quotes)

Note that WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) is not supported, which is par for a business-grade access point. The Wi-Fi Certification database doesn't have an entry for Xclaim Wireless, but lists its Ruckus ZoneFlex R300 twin as certified.

In Use

While the feature set may be impressive, its implementation—at least in its current form—is not. Those (auto) inclusions in the list above are important to note because there are no manual controls for those features. In fact, the only thing you can do manually is establish WLANs that consist of SSID's, wireless security keys and VLAN tags and assign access points to WLANs. Even something as simple as assigning an SSID to the 2.4 or 5 GHz radio can't be done. It also appears that VLANs don't currently work, either.

Setup and management can be done only using Harmony Android or iOS phone apps. Both are designed for phones and run in portrait mode only on tablets. First launch of the app brings up a wizard so you can establish an admin login and create an SSID. The steps are shown in the gallery below.

With initial setup done, you scan for Xclaim APs to manage. When it finds them, you configure them, then assign the APs to the previously created WLAN (SSID). This is illustrated in the next gallery.

Once you get set up, when you relaunch Harmony, you get sent to the Statistics screen. The composite image below shows one long screen. Touching a device icon brings up more information on that client.

Statistics screen

Statistics screen

The channel selection screens below show DFS channels are supported in 5 GHz. (Channels up to 165 are supported if you scroll down the screen.)

Channel selection

Channel selection

DFS channel support is about the most pleasant surprise you'll find because there are so, so many bugs. When I picked up my Samsung Galaxy Tab S to check something as I was writing this, I could not get past the statistics screen. And when I switched to the Moto X phone previously also used to administer the AP, it couldn't find the AP.

I tried connecting an assortment of dual-band clients to the AP and didn't see a pattern to how devices were assigned. I also found that devices didn't stay associated to the radio they initially hooked up with. This could indicate dynamic band steering, or it could indicate bugs, it's hard to tell. If you're looking for seamless roaming among multiple Xclaim APs, I'll refer you to the same forum thread that Xclaim folks do.

Even if you manage to reach the edit screens, you may forget to save your changes. That's because it's easy to miss the floppy disk (!) icon at screen top right that means save.

Don't bother looking for help, because there is no documentation, no email or phone help or even an online ticket system, just the forum. Judging from replies there from Xclaim folks, the focus on simplicity for the product means not confusing the user with instructions, specs or the ability to do anything much in the way of configuration.

I quoted "Cloud ready" management in the feature list because it is indicating a future feature. Right now, the app can handle only one Xclaim network, as this forum post explains. There is no remote or cloud management right now. The app-only management gets old real quick, especially when being redirected back to the login screen when returning to Harmony after switching to another app.

Xclaim has posted its own screenshot tutorial of the iOS app version in Evernote with a few more setup screenshots if you want to explore further. There is also a video if that floats your boat.

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