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Unifi AP questions

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by cloudbuster, Sep 16, 2019.

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  1. cloudbuster

    cloudbuster Occasional Visitor

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    Hi,

    I set it up using the PC as I was not able to connect using the Unifi Network App.

    As I tried using the App later on it say it was already paired to a controller.

    The PC I used for the initial setup is not On 24/7 i barely use the PC I don’t have any intention to have a dedicated PC to run the Unifi controller software.

    1-So question would I be better pairing it to the Unifi App?

    2-What do I loose gain by using the App?
    I would add a second AP to the front of the house later this week.

    3-And is my understanding if more than 1 AP to not use automatic band what would I set them up after I get the second one?

    I currently have the nanoHD.

    Thanks.
     
  2. dfarning

    dfarning Occasional Visitor

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    Unifi has a pretty good forum at https://community.ui.com/questions .

    I ran into a bit of frustration with the 'already paired' message. If you pair a device with a controller it stays paired until you manually unpair it via the controller. It can mb a bit of a pain if you are experimenting with different controllers. If you pair a device and forget to unpair it before you delete the controller you will need to do a factory reset on the paired devices to allow them to pair with a different controller. At least that his how it works with my versions of APs.

    I have had the best success running the Network control software as a docker image on a NAS. There are a couple of really stable Unifi docker images available.

    Depending on your use case it can be fine to just run the network controller when modifying as an aspect of the network. I have multiple (3) APs I find the system hands off devices between APs and radios better if the controller is running.

    Finally, with regard to band selection, I would recommend trial and error to see what works in your environment. In my neighborhood, we have trouble with a couple of misconfigured WIFI hotspots in vehicles. When they drive up the road they cause enough interference that the wifi in neighboring homes starts to hunt for clean channels. It can be a mess for several minutes until things settle back down.

    To mitigate the issue I turned the power down as low as possible on the 2.4 Ghz AP radios and us automatic band selection. It seems to minimize the problems.
     
  3. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    First off, with as much of the ever-growing list of things that you give up by not keeping the controller online, I would highly consider a CloudKey Gen2 for your setup. I would also factory-default your AP(s) and re-setup using the CloudKey, and only do the adoption and config from the CloudKey via a web browser on a desktop OS. The UniFi app is best used as a convenience item for monitoring and basic config changes; not as good for initial setup or fine-grained management. Just my two cents there.

    As far as tweaking your airspace for channel and power adjustments, I would proceed with default settings and allow UniFi to auto-adjust the APs, only intervening manually if necessary once the network settles down, perhaps 24-48 hours after your most recent AP adoption.
     
  4. cloudbuster

    cloudbuster Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks,

    So it seem that it work much better having a controller online.

    The only thing I have semi On 24/7 is the nvidia Shield. But I imagine that won’t work. Is already being used as the Plex media Server.

    I feel frustrated with the nanoHD range.
    So far definitely a downgrade from the ASUS AC86U.

    Yesterday test outside the house 11Mbps nanoHD, 78.6Mbps AC86U.

    Some areas it just don’t reach where I get 2-3 bar with the 86U.

    I was thinking the nanoHD would destroy the 86U on range but no.

    They both on automatic band.
     
  5. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    The beauty of the APs is you can add 2,3, or 4 real easy where the all-in-one router is tapped. So long range with 1 AP is not as important as with a wireless router. You just add more APs.
     
  6. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    This is a perfect example of why people need to do their homework on UniFi and systems like it. With Uniquiti especially, the AP hardware is often no more robust than consumer stuff, and often cases lower-grade; it's not going to win battles on standalone throughput. But you don't buy UniFi for that; you buy it for the ecosystem and the horizontal scalability, where performance is meant to be additive, not single-cell. Granted, you can always upgrade APs as the model ranges get upgraded over time, like anything else, but the gains you'll make there are much less of a reason to buy the stuff in the first place. If you're looking for single or few-cell performance, you need to look into products whose radios and/or firmware are more crafted for that purpose.

    That said, your issue sounds like a signal strength problem, perhaps addressable with a second (or third) UniFi AP. Smartly place all APs so that you get some broadcast overlap, but not too much. If co-interference is too much and the system cannot adjust on its own, you should be able to turn the power down manually on each AP to levels appropriate for the size of your home. Then see how your throughput numbers are. If things are still a fail at that point, you can check for proper channel number offsets, but other than that, you may need a product more like what I described above. Perhaps whole-house consumer wifi like Orbi or Eero Pro, or the right business-grade system that can get you the throughput per client that you desire.

    Hope that helps to shed a little light on things.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  7. MichaelCG

    MichaelCG Very Senior Member

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    Agree with the previous posts about Unifi in a single AP type setup....it is NOT what Unifi is good at. Single client and/or single AP are not their strengths. Stable (as long as you are on a stable firmware) devices, mutli-client, multi-AP, and central management are the strengths of Unifi gear.

    As for leaving Unifi gear on "auto" for power and channel.....since when did Unifi get that working well? Even over on the Unifi forums, nobody....nobody at all will recommend leaving Auto enabled. I haven't tested Auto in the past year or so....so it is possible they made improvements, but I have always been a fan of manual configs in small environments.
     
  8. cloudbuster

    cloudbuster Occasional Visitor

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    My house is rectangular I have the ISP router at one end and then have a long Ethernet at the other end. I could have two AP. A third one I don’t have any more Ethernet port anywhere else would be hard.
    For that I would need Orbi or AiMesh.

    It was my assumption that being a single unit just doing one thing WiFi the AP would be that much better on everything.

    Let me pause here as soon as I get home I would check the power level and see if it at the highest if not would retest. If is at the highest then it does not penetrate walls that good compared to the AC86U.

    I would check manual configuration over the weekend not sure if I would have time after work.

    I have about 26-30 clients between WiFi and hardwired.
    And sometimes even more if family stay a few days.
     
  9. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    Sounds like the best plan of attack is to start with running 2 APs one at each end of the house where the ethernet drops are located. Then adjust the power levels for good roaming. The nice benefit of multiple APs is you end up with higher densities for handling more clients. You probably are close to max with a consumer wireless router.

    I started this way with my wireless APs and 1 AP at each end of the house. Then I figured out if I turned off 2.4Ghz and added a middle AP I had perfect 5Ghz roaming and a much faster wireless network.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  10. MichaelCG

    MichaelCG Very Senior Member

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    Even if the AP signal can penetrate the walls, the response from the client devices probably won't. WiFi is a two-way conversation. Just because the AP happens to have a megaphone to yell really loud, doesn't mean the client carries the same megaphone to yell back to the AP.
     
  11. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    I believe they've made some strides here, michael, but I'm not 100% sure. If it is the same, then I would definitely retract that statement, and recommend delving into manual adjustment right away. My apologies for volunteering potentially incorrect info there.
     
    MichaelCG likes this.
  12. dfarning

    dfarning Occasional Visitor

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    One of the challenges with manual configs is that they require knowledge and experience to set correctly. The number of dials on a Unifi Network Controller can be overwhelming. As a recent (18 months ago) convert, I would suggest leaving as much as possible at the defaults. The defaults are pretty good.

    Tune things one parameter at a time. Take your time and learning how each parameter affects your system. Be patient. Many changes in the UI require power cycling one of the devices.... It is not always clear in the UI that is happening behind the scenes. More than once, I made a change. Tested it. Thought it didn't work. Changed it again only to realize the I was not given the system long enough to reset before testing.

    I would be cautious about the quality of service recommendations the UI provides. Test things for yourself.

    The Defaults are usually pretty sound but the recommendations system is still a work in progress. As an example, both of my WIFI enabled Brother printers power down between uses. The Unifi system doesn't like that and reports multiple connection failures.
     
  13. cloudbuster

    cloudbuster Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks,

    That is so true the number of manual configuration is overwhelming and to top that every change take a while while the AP reconfigures the new setting.

    I just changed the Power from Auto to High.
    And channel width to VHT80 5Ghz.

    Headed outside the front porch and got 20Mbps with the nanoHD.
    With the AC86U I got 80Mbps.

    I used two IPad mini 4 for the clients.

    I would test the range tomorrow afternoon of the backyard and then decide if I keep it or not.

    The nanoHD feel much hotter to the touch than the AC86U only the back of it.

    What symptoms you see once you start to max out a WiFi router?
     
  14. dfarning

    dfarning Occasional Visitor

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    In my opinion, the Unifi APs outlasts other multipurpose devices marketed to consumers while under heavy load. I experiment with computer vision on semi-autonomous robots as a hobby. As a result, I work with large video and data files. Often I back the files up to my NAS so that I can run algorithms with different settings later. It is not uncommon for my AP to transfer 500 GB 1000 GB per day. My Unifi AC Pro handles the load just fine.

    My Unifi APs seem to run hotter to the touch than I am used to seeing. But it has lasted 18 months under this usage which is twice as long as I was getting with consumer wireless routers.

    The range/speed thing is going to be a personal decision. I have decided to use 3 APs with their 2.4GHz radios turned quite low. Because of the high density of devices in my home(I am a geek with a nerdy family), I found it more effective to spread the load across multiple APs.

    In my limited experience, some of the cheap IoT devices consume a significant portion of the air time for an AP even though they are only sending a very small portion of the theoretical bandwidth. If that is not something with which you have a problem, the greater cost of Unifi APs might not be worth it for you.

    I should probably learn more about the other small business products.... but I never seem to have the time.
     
  15. cloudbuster

    cloudbuster Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks,

    No contest the Unifi AP feel solid as rock.

    I think the easy thing to do is run the RF scanner and select the channel with less clients?

    Or that not a good staring point?
     
  16. dfarning

    dfarning Occasional Visitor

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    Yes, that is a good next step. You will want to pick the channel with the least competing signal. In rural areas and suburbs, this is easy. It denser area it can be a challenge. In high-density areas like schools, office buildings, and large apartment building it is an art form unto itself.

    I also found a site survey to be very helpful. The pros such as @Trip can get much more into detail about this.

    The basic idea is to put your AP about where you think it should be installed and then walk around your house with a signal strength app (just google for 'free wifi signal strength app'). You can use that to determine how well the signal will propagate around your house.

    I found this was one of the most helpful parts of the process. Instead of talking about the abstract concept of signal strength. I was able to form a concrete picture in my mind about how the signal strengh varied around my house and how various things like wall affected that strength.

    A couple of quirks I noticed:
    1. Signals get mangled when they pass through the upright piano. I think the 150 or so metal strings in the piano act as reflectors and directors.
    2. Signals can easily pass straight up and down between the floors of the house. Front to back between floors is also pretty good. But the signal passes really poorly lengthwise down the house between floors. I think this has to do with the parallel floor joists running front to back in the house. The signal can not penetrate multiple joists very well. My floor joists look like really dense particle board about 1.5 inches thick and about 12 inches high.
    3, Finally the mechanical room (where the furnace and water heater are located), the divider between the house and the garage, and the walls of the master bedroom are made out of fire resistance and sound damping drywall. I think that material attenuates the signal about twice as much as the normal 1/2 drywall in my house. I have no idea if this is normal of just something about my install.
     
  17. cloudbuster

    cloudbuster Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks, Df

    I would try to do the RF scan this weekend.
    Yesterday I also received the TP Link EAP 245 V3.
    And out of the box it have great range it seem on part with the AC86U.

    So far it seem that the brick wall is the nanoHD range killer.

    Cause I don’t have Ethernet runs outside just only 1 at each end inside of the house to cover the driveway and backyard.

    But it seem it have no issue passing the drywalls just the brickwall.
     
  18. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    I had trouble with 5Ghz on my Cisco wireless APs going through my brick walls. I have an old house that was wood framed and then 20 years later was bricked over on the outside in the mid 1960s. Using 2.4Ghz was not a problem going through. To get 5Ghz to go outside I had to put the wireless AP in a window. So cloudbuster I assume you are talking 2.4Ghz.
     
  19. cloudbuster

    cloudbuster Occasional Visitor

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    Coxhaus,

    If I remember correct I did the test with the TP Link AP on 5Ghz.
    Now that I think about it if it was 5Ghz then is pretty amazing as that usually weak through walls.

    The Unifi not sure as it was set to the same name for 2 and 5 GHz.

    I would test more this weekend and report here.