Ahem - Wireless Access Points

Discussion in 'Smartphones, Computers, Gaming and Networking' started by Andrew Pratt, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Active Member Top Poster

    My house is a 4 level split which means it is a nightmare to cover with WiFi if you want a reliable signal from top to bottom. I have been using an Apple Airport Extreme mounted somewhat centrally in the kitchen on top of some cabinets but while the signal is decent it isn't fast and since I've now got 175+ megabit service I want that speed everywhere I roam.

    I've tried a few newer AC routers thinking that a new multi antennae model would solve the issue but it doesn't as I still can't get a reliable Wireless AC signal everywhere I want it. I've also tried running 3rd party firmware on some ASUS routers which promise to make roaming work between access points...but again it doesn't work properly. The issue isn't just with ASUS as our devices are hard coded to cling to access points regardless of if there's a closer access point so I've decided to step up from consumer gear into prosumer / entry level enterprise with a couple of Ubiqiti AC-LITE access points. They're not super expensive (esp in the USA) and the reviews seem to indicate they'll do what I need them to do.

    Amazon.com: Ubiquiti Unifi Ap-AC Lite - Wireless Access Point - 802.11 B/A/G/n/AC (UAPACLITEUS): Computers & Accessories
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Active Member Top Poster

    Let us know how it goes. I tried one of those extenders with the multiple antennae and it just messed things up more (just to get a better signal with one Amazon Firestick, which I ended up resolving with an HDMI extension cable). I'd still like to get better wifi in certain places. Right now I'm dealing with lightning damage from yesterday (router and a bunch of other stuff may be toast - still testing).
     
  3. jhoak

    jhoak Active Member War Zone Member

    I can tell you from first hand experience that those Ubiquiti APs are great. The last place I worked we had them installed in over a dozen offices and churches. They just work. We had installations with as few as 3 to one big church that had 18 installed. We always installed the LR (Long Range) version but in a home I don't see the need to spend the extra $$.

    Good luck. Let us know how they work out for you.

    P.S. The setup software is pretty cool too. Spend some time digging in to it. You'll find some pretty amazing functionality.
     
  4. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Active Member Top Poster

    "it just works" is what I'm looking for :)

    I've watched a few YouTube videos on the software and it seems simply enough to get going and powerful enough to dig deep under the covers if you want to. In many ways it seems to actually do what the 3rd party ASUS firmware said it could (but doesn't) in setting min RSSI values etc and booting clients to force them to switch AP's.

    I wasn't really looking at spending $200+ but I'm done trying to push consumer gear into something it wasn't designed to do.
     
  5. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Don't those things halve your speed for every one you add? I thought that's why the new mesh network ones were taking off so much.
     
  6. Dustin B

    Dustin B Active Member War Zone Member

    I'm assuming Andrew will have each of them hardwired so won't be an issue. But you're correct if they aren't and they use the same band for connecting to the main router and connecting your devices.

    I really want some ubiquiti stuff too but can't justify the cost right now.
     
  7. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    I've been looking at eero or whatever it's called.
     
  8. Dustin B

    Dustin B Active Member War Zone Member

    I dont believe I've seen any of the consumer mesh network gear get great reviews and the price difference between most of them with enough APs to work and Ubiquiti stuff, I'd just go Ubiquiti. The only issue to get the most out of them is getting them hardwired. But they have numerous options that support PoE which makes that easier to do.
     
  9. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Really? I haven't seen a negative review of Eero yet. For me, I don't have Ethernet run anywhere in my house. My phone jacks are all really cat 6 so I could convert one on each floor if I really needed to but I'd frankly prefer not to. I've tried traditional extension APs and they always have made things worse, not better.
     
  10. Dustin B

    Dustin B Active Member War Zone Member

    I'm not completely up on all the options mesh wise. Haven't really looked into it much lately. Mostly it's an impression from early reports of Plume, Amplifi etc not living up to initial expectations.

    You can get a Ubiquiti 5 port Edge router that does POE for $160USD and the lite AC access points are under $100 each. They also have wall plates that will do B/G/N and would be an invisible and easy install if you're phone jacks are Cat6 and not being used for just over $50 each.
     
  11. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Active Member Top Poster

    Any extender that is connecting other Wifi has a cost as there's only so much pipe but newer ones can send and receive on different bands which helps. Generally though you always want to link APs by ethernet so that you aren't losing that overhead. The consumer gear (DLink, Linksys etc) all work as well as they can but usually fail to live up to expectations given they're made to work independently and be easy to install.

    CJ check out the SNB forum if you're seriously interested in networking but I'd agree with Dustin that for the cost Ubiquiti is very difficult to beat. My AP's should be here tomorrow so I'll be better able to speak to real world results soon but what I'm expecting is that the two AP's working together should provide blanket coverage for my home with good enough speeds. The enterprise world doesn't care so much about individual speed but reliability and being able to handle lots of clients. In that sense a BestBuy special DLink AC ???? model will likely outperform the Ubiquiti AP's in raw throughput but have far less coverage than a series of AP's and limit options if you wanted to expand it either for coverage or 'real' networking protocols and routing rules etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  12. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    I'm not interested in learning any more about networking, I just want my porn to load in the master bathroom.
     
  13. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Active Member Top Poster

    Well that's easily done :)

    I just ran a couple of long ethernet cables to what will be the access points. One's in the theatre in the lowest level which was easy as the basement has a drop ceiling and the laundry room's ceiling is unfinished so access was trivial. The other AP though is going in the hallway outside the bedrooms on the top floor. I have access from the crawl space in the basement to the floor through the duct so I was able to pull a cable up through there into the master bedroom closet, up behind my clothes through the ceiling and into the attic. From there it was a problem of finding the cable under the bales of pink insulation and then 10" of sawdust.

    Pictures to follow....
     
  14. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Active Member Top Poster

    The red dots are where the access points are going. One up on the top floor outside the bedrooms and one in the lowest level in the theatre. They are best ceiling mounted but can also be placed on a wall if need be. That said lots of people just hide them in cubbies or under tables etc.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Active Member Top Poster

    I have both AP's now installed and configured. It really isn't hard but out of the box these are set for optimal reliability and not speed as the channel widths are set low and so throughput is throttled back...but you're unlikely to get interference that way. A few changes and I'm not getting quite reasonable performance everywhere and seamless handoff as I roam around the house.

    These aren't for everyone but if you're having issues getting a signal to parts of your home these should be considered.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Dustin B

    Dustin B Active Member War Zone Member

    What kind of speed are you getting at the worst covered part of your house?
     
  17. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Active Member Top Poster

    The lowest Tx rate I've seen so far is 117 in the lower bathroom which I'm not worried about as the rest of the actual living spaces are all typically over 250 and in the spots I actually need <500 I have it.
     
  18. Phil A

    Phil A Active Member Top Poster

  19. Dustin B

    Dustin B Active Member War Zone Member

    Assume you're quoting mbit not mbyte?
     
  20. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Active Member Top Poster

    Unfortunately yes :)
     

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