[Chugalug] wireless routers

Dave Brockman dave at brockmans.com
Fri Nov 22 19:36:18 UTC 2013

Hash: SHA1

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

The hardware is nice (same as Engenius) and the software is coming
along quite nicely!

> 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.

Correct, the controller software doesn't need to run in most small use
cases.  If you need a captive portal, you will need to run the
controller always.

> 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.

$dayjob has been using them for a few months.  I haven't done an
install yet, but I plan on using a debian VM for the next install I
do.  The software is a little flakey on Windows.  I would love to find
out these issues are not replicated while running Linux :)

> 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 non-standard, so we *have* to use their ugly, bulky ass warts
for PoE.  Most of use doing any substantial PoE deployments (phones,
cameras, access points) prefer to use a PoE switch, and not have to
involve multiple cables and extra warts for our equipment.  Most
server rooms are tight enough as it is!

> They are substantially more powerful than my Zyxel ZTE300 router.

I have yet to see a "wifi router" of any flavor that can match up
signal strength to Engenius/UBT hardware.

> 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.

That's good to know!  I can consider these for other deployments as
well... haven't had the opportunity to test voice while switching yet!

> 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.

They are quite nice.  I'm actually following another discussion
amongst "temporary" network operators (think InterOP, other event type
networking) discussing several brands of controller based WiFi
Products, and this UBT system (plus the multi-site controller configs)
are apparently hanging with these guys the same as
Meraki/Cisco/Rukkus, etc.  If they continue to innovate on the
software side, and continue to offer the controller at no additional
cost, they could really be onto something here....



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