Products and Apps:
- Luxul Epic 3 Wireless Router
- Luxul Apex Wave 2 XAP-1610 (2 each) PoE wireless access points
- Luxul Easy Setup Mobile App
- Domotz Mobile and Desktop Remote Monitoring System
At the end of April, Luxul began shipping its new Apex Wave 2 XAP-1610 dual-band wireless access points. Following up on the XAP-1510, the XAP-1610 nearly doubles the maximum data transfer speed (3,167 mbps), while increasing network density by adding support for 802.11ac Wave 2 technology. Like its predecessor, the Apex 1610 Wave 2 is Roam Assist ready and comes equipped with 2.4GHz and 5GHz beamforming signals—all while sporting a sleek, minimal, mountable design.
With the vast array of general networking options out there to choose from, Luxul continues to deliver innovative, high-quality solutions for custom integrators. I was excited for the opportunity to check out how this networking toolkit works together.
My test setup included the award-winning Epic 3 router and two of the new Apex Wave 2 XAP-1610 access points. As any installer can tell you, setting up the stock Epic 3 is a walk in the park. With Luxul’s new Easy Setup mobile app, the network is basically up and running in a few minutes without having to log in to a web browser to configure the router. Once properly logged in however, anyone can quickly see the customization a Luxul system has to offer.
Installation of Apex Wave 2’s:
Setup and installation of the access points comes through with similar ease. Powered over Ethernet (PoE), the APs are swift and easy to connect to the Epic 3 or XWC-1000 controller, with Cat6 cable providing optimal performance.
The XAP-1610 is designed for simple and efficient physical placements and installations. The included mount allowed the unit to attach directly in different ways, including on several regional standard electrical boxes. It can be mounted to a ceiling or wall with the included mount and guide or sit flat on a table top with the small rubber feet attachments included. Be sure to take advantage of Luxul’s free network design with the Customer Assurance Program to get assistance designing and deploying the system.
Once plugged in to the Epic 3, the Luxul APs were plug-and-play for me since the controller is set by default to auto add APs and the wireless controller settings are already enabled.
Another slick way to make sure your access points are online is to have the built-in Domotz remote monitoring system notifications enabled. The Domotz agent and corresponding mobile app will ping you as soon as it confirms the new device is on your network.
Home on the Range:
The performance of the APs is really what you would expect from a high-end product, particularly in the 5GHz range. Known for greater possibility of interference, the 2.4GHz channels didn’t perform as consistently as the 5GHz in terms of download speeds. Particularly when in sight of the AP (not blocked by any walls, doors, corners, etc.), the 5GHz network delivered approximately maximum download speeds at a distance of roughly 400 ft away. General app and streaming performance on mobile devices, laptops, and tablets while roaming between network areas was also strong—and with a little more time and gear, I would love to see how it performs in AV-over-IP environments.
Another unknown stress test for me is the true depth of device density the APs can handle. Luxul says the Apex 1610 Wave 2 can support 128 devices, which sadly I could not replicate in time for this article – but given the upgraded wireless architecture, I can see it handling the load. Back-end speeds obviously will play a big factor at those levels, but the MU-MIMO capacity (multi-user input/output) can hopefully increase connection strength across many devices.
The setup, installation and deployment of this mini Luxul network kit was easy, fast, and efficient. It could be even quicker with a few updates to the Luxul Easy Setup App that could help walk installers through setting up some of the extra features and settings like Domotz, Router Limits, and wireless controller assignment. Similarly, I had a little bit of trouble navigating the heatmap in the recommended free Ekahau Heatmap tool. Nevertheless, with a seriously small amount of extra training or insight, any installer can very quickly get hardware, software, and APs all up and running. Note: the Domotz remote monitoring service does require a monthly subscription that starts at $3/month and goes up based on functionality and security needs.
All of this combined with some of Luxul’s remote controlled Power Distribution Units or AV and PoE switches, it’s easy to see why they have become a leader in custom installation home network and entertainment systems. As wireless signals and spectrums continue to evolve, I look forward to how Luxul manages to navigate the waves.