[Chugalug] wireless routers

Dan Lyke danlyke at flutterby.com
Fri Nov 22 15:33:06 UTC 2013


On Fri, 22 Nov 2013 09:00:30 -0500
John Aldrich <jmaldrich at yahoo.com> wrote:
> The wireless router I have now is fine, but I was thinking I'd like
> to have a wireless router with external antennas so I can maybe
> fine-tune the signal strength a bit (i.e. virtually NO signal going
> out the back wall of my house and LOTS of signal going INTO my
> house.)

So I just installed two Ubiquiti UniFi APs, and I've gotta sing the
praises:

You can get the more expensive APs with the external antennas (some
of which are also weather hardened for exterior mounting), or you can
get the $70 APs with internal antenna, or the 3-pack for $200. I got
two of the cheaper ones, and then discovered that this is what work
uses as well.

They come without Ethernet cables, so you'll want either a handful
of cables or some Cat5e or Cat6 and a crimp tool, and you'll need
two cables for each AP, one to the POE injector, one from the POE
injector to the AP.

You'll also need a computer to run the configuration software on *and*,
if you're going to run a guest network, apparently you'll need to keep
that server running so that you can do individually authenticated
logins and all the other grooviness you'd want. If you're just doing
single password and WPA1/2, you can configure and forget.

The software is available for Mac, Windows and Linux. I run it as Java
on my Linux server. It is kinda awesome to have the control panel for my
network laid out on a Google Maps snapshot.

People have complained about the POE being non-standard. I don't have
enough devices to know. It works, you get little boxes with two Ethernet
jacks and place to plug in a power cord, and the power cord (so they're
not wall-warts, you have a short power cord).

They are substantially more powerful than my Zyxel ZTE300 router.

The v3 beta software (which I run) allows hot-switching between APs with
the same SSID. This coupled with WiFi calling on our cell phones is the
reason we got this solution, and I could probably do a little more
power fine tuning, but when I carry my phone out to the workshop
there's a second or two of garbling while the phone gets out of range
and the system decides to switch, but my WiFi calling isn't dropped.

Mounting is provided for wall mounts, including a backing plate for
mounting on acoustic ceiling tiles.

Basically: I plugged 'em in, I installed the software, I wired them up,
and they gave me seamless coverage between house and workshop, quite a
bit more range per AP than my previous solution did, and the system was
quite easy to configure *even* while I can see that there's all sorts
of ability to tweak and prod and manage a much bigger network.

And the damned things are just $70 a pop.

Dan


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