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Standard User G1NZO
(regular) Mon 19-Aug-19 09:30:59
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AP for useless SKY Wifi


[link to this post]
 
The Wifi Range and reliability of our Sky ER115 router is next to useless
Constant disconnections and the range is hopeless
as we are doing some building work i wonder if it would be possible to use and External AP mounted on the ceiling like Ubiquiti Unify UAP Wireless Access Point
I know this is POE but thats no problem as i have a POE switch or even just an injector
I read about needing software on a PC to set these up
is that just a one off config process or is it a controller that needs to be run at all times

If not the Ubiquiti then what other Ceiling mounted AP have people tried

I wont have Powerline adaptors and the Netgear plug in Repeaters dont do it either
The house is a Large open plan Bungalow and i have a nice central area that the AP can be mounted in giving coverage to all areas

Any suggestions welcome
Standard User caffn8me
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 20-Aug-19 02:57:58
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Re: AP for useless SKY Wifi


[re: G1NZO] [link to this post]
 
I use the Unifi AP-AC-LR as the standard indoor access point in most installations I've done and although it's not the fastest in the Unifi range, I've always had very good results with it on mobile devices.

The controller is only needed to set access points up and you can then turn it off, using it only when you need to make changes to the setup.

One thing you have to consider is the wifi environment. The problems you're having may not be due to poor wif on the ER115 but because there are so many neighbouring access points on the same or adjacent channels causing interference and high channel utilization. A new access point can't change this but take a look with a wi-fi survey app and decide whether channel 1, 6 or 11 looks best for 2.4GHz.

Interference on 2.4GHz is a much bigger issue than on 5GHz which doesn't penetrate walls as well.

What I do at home, where there are numerous neighbouring access points on non-recommended 2.4GHz channels (I can currently see APs on channels 1,3,4,6,8,9,10 & 11), is use 5GHz on a DFS channel above 100 with a maximum transmit power of 25dBm. DFS can be problematic though if you live in an area with a lot of radar activity.

I've got two solid brick walls and an additional layer of plasterboard between where I'm sitting at the moment and the access point and on an iPad Mini 4 I can pull 330Mbps over the wi-fi. It's not a great distance - only about 5-6m but the walls are a significant obstacle.

There's nothing to stop you keeping the ER115 running wi-fi and adding an access point some distance from it to give better coverage. One site I have uses two indoor Unifi APs, two outdoor APs and an Apple Airport Extreme - all running happily together.

What I'd strongly suggest if you're having building work done is to get whichever AP you want to use sooner rather than later and use a long ethernet cable to move it around the house to test for optimum position so that a permanent cable can be put in before all the building work is finished. It may be that running wifi with both the ER115 and a separate AP, a central location won't be the best place to put the AP. Have a think about where exactly you'd like to have the very fastest wifi and work things backwards from that. Run with 5GHz on high power and 2.4GHz on the lowest power that works with things. A lot of IoT devices/televisions/media players only work on 2.4GHz so you may need to experiment a bit.

An in-wall access point would be a good choice too - if you can get ethernet to it. These have the advantage that they're very unobtrusive and have ethernet ports on the bottom that you can hardwire clients into - things like printers or desktops (or even the television). The two standard Unifi in-wall models have two output ethernet ports and the HD model has four.

Good luck and keep us updated with progress.

Sarah

--
If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat

Spiders on coffee - Badass spiders on drugs
Standard User baby_frogmella
(knowledge is power) Tue 20-Aug-19 08:19:44
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Re: AP for useless SKY Wifi


[re: G1NZO] [link to this post]
 
Since you will still need to user the Sky router if using an AP why not keep things simple and replace the Sky router altogether? For an open plan bungalow, a single decent router should easily provide full wifi coverage. If money is no object then go for the TP Link VR2800, otherwise the VR900 is a good balance between cost & performance. If you choose the single router option, just be aware that not all router manufacturers support Sky connections (they need to support DHCP Option 60/61). TP Link, Billion, Netgear & Asus are the only ones I know of which have Option 60/61 hardcoded in the settings provided you choose 'Sky MER' as the ISP.

FluidOne FTTPoD 330/30 Mbps
Linksys EA9500v2


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Standard User jabuzzard
(committed) Tue 20-Aug-19 10:22:02
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Re: AP for useless SKY Wifi


[re: caffn8me] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by caffn8me:
The controller is only needed to set access points up and you can then turn it off, using it only when you need to make changes to the setup.


Note you don't even need the controller. I used the Android app, a USB OTG adaptor and a USB ethernet adaptor to set mine up. You could use the WiFi on your Sky router instead too before you switch it off.

In reply to a post by caffn8me:
I've got two solid brick walls and an additional layer of plasterboard between where I'm sitting at the moment and the access point and on an iPad Mini 4 I can pull 330Mbps over the wi-fi. It's not a great distance - only about 5-6m but the walls are a significant obstacle.


The UniFi app has a signal strength planner. That is put in a plan of your house, feed in the wall types and you can then drop access points on and it will give you an idea of the signal strengths. I used this to determine that a single UniFi AC-LR placed in the correct location would give me good signal coverage throughout my house.

In reply to a post by caffn8me:
There's nothing to stop you keeping the ER115 running wi-fi and adding an access point some distance from it to give better coverage. One site I have uses two indoor Unifi APs, two outdoor APs and an Apple Airport Extreme - all running happily together.


I would avoid that at all costs. Roaming between the access points won't work properly and it becomes a nightmare.

In reply to a post by caffn8me:
What I'd strongly suggest if you're having building work done is to get whichever AP you want to use sooner rather than later and use a long ethernet cable to move it around the house to test for optimum position so that a permanent cable can be put in before all the building work is finished. It may be that running wifi with both the ER115 and a separate AP, a central location won't be the best place to put the AP. Have a think about where exactly you'd like to have the very fastest wifi and work things backwards from that. Run with 5GHz on high power and 2.4GHz on the lowest power that works with things. A lot of IoT devices/televisions/media players only work on 2.4GHz so you may need to experiment a bit.

An in-wall access point would be a good choice too - if you can get ethernet to it. These have the advantage that they're very unobtrusive and have ethernet ports on the bottom that you can hardwire clients into - things like printers or desktops (or even the television). The two standard Unifi in-wall models have two output ethernet ports and the HD model has four.


I have to say indoors I much prefer ceiling mounted ones over wall mounted. Far less obtrusive IMHO. The new UniFI Nano HD is very interesting. is only 16cm in diameter and has a low profile mounting option, and a bunch of "skins" to camouflage it. Though to be honest most people have white ceilings, don't spend much time gazing at them and any of the ceiling access points from Ubiquiti are no more obtrusive than a smoke detector. The law in Scotland requires me to have one of those in the lounge, one in the hallway upstairs and downstairs, a carbon monoxide detector in the lounge, and a heat detector in the kitchen (and will apply to everyone in Scotland from 1/2/2021 too, get fitting now it's retrospective), so one extra for WiFi is meh.

I would also say consider if you want WiFi in the garden. Maybe run some external grade Cat6 or SWA Cat6 and fit one or more UniFi AC-M access points. Much easier to get those runs in now while you are having building work done.

Personally I think get sufficient ceiling drops to cover you for 2.4 and 5 GHz with Cat6a and your golden for ~50 years on not needing to do more cabling. I personally very much doubt the 60Gz things will ever take off because you need at least one access point per room (more if it is L shaped etc. and it can't be overcome it a physics limitation) and if you really need the speed plug it in. There is IMHO about one more iteration possible in gaining more speed from 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi and then you are at the physics limit (yes these limits really do exist).

One way to eek more speed for your WiFi is to make all the fixed devices wired. So things like smart TV's that don't move get some Cat5/6 to them. Same for a desktop PC or even a laptop if you use it on the same desk most of the time. Reserve the WiFi for mobile devices like phones and tablets. If your having building work done put some structured cabling in.
Standard User caffn8me
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 20-Aug-19 11:46:48
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Re: AP for useless SKY Wifi


[re: jabuzzard] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by jabuzzard:
I would avoid that at all costs. Roaming between the access points won't work properly and it becomes a nightmare.
Roaming is handled by the client, not by the access points, and a controller doesn't manage roaming even when running. Roaming works fine in the several situations where I've seen Unifi APs alongsde an existing consumer wifi router. The only thing an all Unifi setup would allow you to do is to set things like min RSSI on every access point, but even then, clients can ignore this and roam badly.

The in wall APs are tiny (about the same size as a UK 2-gang socket) and give good coverage. I've just put a single UAP-AC-IW-PRO in a very large living room - and it happily covers an area of 14.5m x 10m.

Sarah

--
If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat

Spiders on coffee - Badass spiders on drugs
Standard User PhilipD
(experienced) Tue 20-Aug-19 12:25:00
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Re: AP for useless SKY Wifi


[re: G1NZO] [link to this post]
 
Hi

A ceiling mounted access point will be the best thing, easily outperforming any other type of router sat somewhere in a room even if they do sport go faster antenna.

We had similar issues with poor Wi-Fi in our home and since putting in a ceiling mounted Wi-Fi AP the range issues have all gone. PoE makes the job easier as well as you just need to get a network cable into the loft or ceiling space.

Its the height that can make the real difference as well as a centralised location. We even use 5GHz across the entire house without issues.

I've used a Uni-Fi AP and not too impressed at least for home use, they are quite complicated to set up requiring a PC with software on. They are really designed for organisations managing many of them. Firmware updates often required having to update their own software on the PC first, sometimes Java would then complain, before you could go about updating the firmware on the device. If you were doing that once and then having it go off and update 100 APs you'd save time and effort, but for home use, you didn't gain any time savings or ease of use.

My recommendation is a ZyXel NWA-1123ACv2 access point. These have their own web-browser for local management similar to a router so you don't need to set up software on a PC (but can work cloud based if wanted). It's built like a tank, compared with the Uni-Fi units, the Uni-Fi feel cheap and flimsy and run quite hot in comparison. I've found devices stay connected to the ZyXel without any issues and it just works, running for months at a time and only being rebooted for the odd firmware update.

Hope that helps.

Regards

Phil
Standard User caffn8me
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 20-Aug-19 13:03:29
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Re: AP for useless SKY Wifi


[re: PhilipD] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by PhilipD:
I've used a Uni-Fi AP and not too impressed at least for home use, they are quite complicated to set up requiring a PC with software on.
The Unifi App for Android or Windows functions as a controller to set access points up.

Sarah

--
If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat

Spiders on coffee - Badass spiders on drugs
Standard User jabuzzard
(committed) Tue 20-Aug-19 13:13:36
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Re: AP for useless SKY Wifi


[re: caffn8me] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by caffn8me:
In reply to a post by jabuzzard:
I would avoid that at all costs. Roaming between the access points won't work properly and it becomes a nightmare.
Roaming is handled by the client, not by the access points, and a controller doesn't manage roaming even when running. Roaming works fine in the several situations where I've seen Unifi APs alongsde an existing consumer wifi router. The only thing an all Unifi setup would allow you to do is to set things like min RSSI on every access point, but even then, clients can ignore this and roam badly.

The in wall APs are tiny (about the same size as a UK 2-gang socket) and give good coverage. I've just put a single UAP-AC-IW-PRO in a very large living room - and it happily covers an area of 14.5m x 10m.


Sorry but that is incorrect.

Proper roaming is both client and access point lead. See the specifications for 802.11r and 802.11k. Admittedly as far as I can tell the Ubiquiti stuff does not do proper roaming, other than supporting 802.11r (fast BSS transition) and being able to set a minimum RSSI on the access points. There is no support for 802.11k which is the second critical technology for roaming to work seamlessly. What should happen is that the access point determines that client is moving away from it. It informs client to prepare to switch to a new access point. The client requests list of nearby access points. The access point gives site report, finally using 802.11r the client moves to best access point based on the report. I guess this might need a running cloud controller in UniFi world but in theory it could run high availability on the access points themselves.

Things like the BT Whole Home WiFi does do proper roaming (both 802.11r and 802.11k), but does not do PoE which is a bit naff if you want to ceiling mount them.

As regards in wall access points unless you have them high up on the wall furniture is going to get in the way a lot of the time and high up on the wall is far more obtrusive than on the ceiling IMHO. Ceiling mounted is also far less susceptible to damage than low down wall mounted.
Standard User PhilipD
(experienced) Tue 20-Aug-19 13:35:24
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Re: AP for useless SKY Wifi


[re: caffn8me] [link to this post]
 
Hi

I didn't want another app on my phone so just stuck with Windows software, maybe the app was easier I don't know.

The point really I think is the app or software is overkill for a single AP in a home as it doesn't make anything easier and was making the user "plan" an installation by asking questions that a home user may not know the answer to, plus it was another step required.

Granted if you have dozens of APs its a win-win, and that is the market Uni-Fi are targeting, those needing to manage many APs, rather than the home user, hence no easy Web interface to manage a single AP.

Regards

Phil

Edited by PhilipD (Tue 20-Aug-19 13:36:13)

Standard User caffn8me
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 20-Aug-19 14:32:30
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Re: AP for useless SKY Wifi


[re: jabuzzard] [link to this post]
 
Standard recommendation on Unifi is to disable fast roaming as it can cause problems with clients which don't support 802.11r. As such, the roaming is indeed handled by the client.

The in wall APs are no more susceptible to damage than sockets at the same height. I suspect that you've never actually tried one. I was surprised at how good a performance I got when I first used one at normal socket level - even surrounded by furniture. High up access points are nice but aren't always acceptable from an aesthetic point of view and aesthetics are very important to many.

Not everyone wants the very fastest wifi possible, many just want reliable wifi, everywhere, and fast enough to do what they need to do. This may only be web browsing, email, or connecting to a printer. Even watching 4K streaming doesn't need ultrafast wifi.

Sarah

--
If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat

Spiders on coffee - Badass spiders on drugs
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