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Thread: Help: Nerdy New mesh WiFi recommendations

  1. #1
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Help: Nerdy New mesh WiFi recommendations

    We're moving house shortly and I'm trying to plan the WiFi but I'm hitting a brick wall re what to get. Everything seems to have a significant downside and I'm wondering what the TZ experts think.

    About 18 months ago I installed Orbi at my in-laws and up until last week it has been flawless (once the satellite was backhauled). We're having an issue right now where some devices are connected to WiFi but have no internet which I think could be an internal IP assignment problem as the Chrome error always mentions DNS. Turning WiFi on the device on and off a few times or rebooting the network works -- I think we might have too many devices on the network. Either way I would be happy to get Orbi again as no doubt the issue is user error however Orbi pricing is quite savage for the good stuff.

    As background the house is approx 2,300 sq ft over three floors and it's a Victorian build meaning real brick walls everywhere and it's much deeper than it is wide. There aren't ethernet points dotted around and as we won't be rewiring I won't be buying a rack and running ethernet all over the entire house like I'd planned. The wireless network will be quite busy as a result. I'm likely to backhaul by running outdoor/weatherproof ethernet up to the loft and down to the back of the house.

    The three main contenders are:

    1. Google Nest.
    Not WiFi 6 but cheap enough to upgrade down the line and very good reviews. Everything looks good but I've just realised the satellites don't have any ethernet ports so can't be backhauled. My experience with Orbi means I'd feel a lot happier with backhauled satellite(s). I could buy multiple routers ignoring the satellites but I'm not sure that would be the smartest thing to do and it may cause issues down the line due to not being installed as designed?

    2. Netgear Orbi RBK852
    £700 for 1x router and 1x satellite. Can be backhauled but I'm scared the house will need two satellites which means £950. Not ideal. I could get another RBK50 with 1x satellite for £230 or 2x satellites for £360 but this handles "40+ devices" Vs the RBK852's "100+ devices" (probably my current issue?) plus WPA3 and WiFi 6 might be worth the push?

    3. Ubiquiti
    Something Ubiquiti but not fully decided. In a perfect world I'd rewire, get a racked switch, ethernet everything and have Ubiquiti APs in the ceiling like smoke alarms and make use of their PoE cameras too.

    There is also Amazon eero Pro which seems a logical choice at a decent price but I don't like the privacy issues Amazon has with Ring and as a result don't want to use their other products with eero.

    My apologies for such a long, boring thread but if you're into WiFi hopefully it's not too bad. I've used Wirecutter as a decent guide which is partly how I've come to my shortlist - their review/showdown is here - https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/r...tworking-kits/

    Thank you in advance to the networking brains of TZ. I've put £20 into the fundraiser in lieu of a beer or two.

  2. #2
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    I’ve set up a few mesh systems for others all have been orbi however given the price now and your reliance on WiFi over wired I’d say unifi myself. I haven’t for myself as luckily our single router wap covers the whole house.

    The deciding points would be throughput I believe that newer ap’s are enabled with 2.5gb Ethernet connections and have capacity for more active connections, also the ability to deploy more nodes should you find dead spots is easier. And the ease of management if you stick with a all unifi system.

    I suspect you’d have to have a lot of devices to saturate a old 1gb system but given the move to more and more devices, the wfh stability needs today and a dose of future proofing it’s a reasonable call I think.

    The down sides are obviously cost (though I’d argue better vfm than orbi) and having to hw the ap’s

    You might also want to check what unifi switches support the 2.5gb ports


    Edit:
    Giving it a little more thought I’d actually go with the 1gb ap’s and just add additional ones if you found constricted zones I thank that would be significantly cheaper.
    Last edited by Captain Morgan; 3rd April 2021 at 00:13.

  3. #3
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Thanks Captain Morgan. I was looking at the Ubiquiti Amplifi Alien but apparently it's not WiFi 6 in 5 GHz which along with the wild lights puts me off.

    The UniFi 6 Lite is cheap at £76 per unit and the UniFi 6 Long Range is £139 and both are rated to 300 clients. I have no doubt they'd be great. The trouble I'd have with going this route is wiring them in without rewiring the house. I think I'd have a lot of exposed cabling running inside the house which I wouldn't really like and assuming I went that way they'd be in the corner of rooms looking a bit awkward and maybe fighting for space with the alarm sensors.

    I think going to Ubiquiti route would mean going for more APs which means more ethernet which is where I'm finding the issue. At the moment if going Orbi I could do 1x unit in the front room at the existing Virgin point then down the side of the house run 1x ethernet to the loft then 1x ethernet to either the downstairs back room or the middle floor back room directly above. With UniFi I'd probably need to connect 4-5 APs which seems more difficult from a planning perspective but would allow me to put an outdoor AP for garden (the Orbi outdoor AP is years old, I wouldn't buy it).

  4. #4
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    We use the Denovo power line adapters to extend WiFi in the house. Cheap and effective.

  5. #5
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    Apologies for not being more verbose last night.

    The reason I suggested unifi is cost of apís and what Iíve read about their penetration compared to consumer devices and the cost of additional apís. And that they are poe so you have greater flexibility on location as you only need a single cable to deploy them.

    My experience with orbi has on two occasions given issues with nodes 10-15m apart on the same level but with a single solid brick wall in between given you mentioned the property was Victorian and narrow but long Iíd not be surprised if orbi struggled.

    Iím sure you are aware but just in case you know that the 2.4ghz band while slower penetrates farther than 5ghz which is faster so in preferred solution you could put the apís as close to high usage devices, tv, offices, etc and prefer a 5ghz connection for those saving the 2.4ghz space for lower priority and mobile devices.

    Iím assuming that the loft allows you to punch down into the space below making the deployment of ap on thar floor manageable.

    Unifi do some Ďin wallí ap that might fit better cosmetically but either way if I couldnít get a single centrally mounted ap to work reliably Iíd try a wall hung ap at each long end firing into the building.

    https://store.ui.com/collections/uni...ucts/inwall-ap


    The reality is until you move in and set something up to begin with youíll not know the extent of the challenge itís entirely possible that if the place has Ďgoodí wiring that you could use powerline as the backhaul and for some wired points or a mesh with a dedicated 5ghz backhaul firing vertically through the house is fine (something like two on the top floor hardwired and two on the ground floor directly below via 5ghz)

    Iíd look to source from a retailer who has a flexible return policy like Amazon if possible so you can try at home with temp cabling before punching though wall and ceilings if you can.

    I know that devolo who have been doing powerline for years have a new range of integrated powerline apís so that might be worth a look

    Also look at Mikrotik which I believe works out a fare bit cheaper than unifi but is a touch more geeky so not as easy to deploy/ manage.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileeeeeey View Post
    Thanks Captain Morgan. I was looking at the Ubiquiti Amplifi Alien but apparently it's not WiFi 6 in 5 GHz which along with the wild lights puts me off.
    If you read the specs then it has Wifi-6 in both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. As in "AmpliFi Alien comes with 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi 6 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5 radios. They deliver 7685 Mbps total capacity and 16 spatial streams from a single AmpliFi Alien unit." But there is also an additional Wifi-5 5Ghz band which to quote their website "Alien also offers a separate 5 GHz radio with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) speeds which you can dedicate to performance-critical devices and avoid competing for bandwidth with other devices on your home network"

    You can also turn down the brightness of the ring and LED screen or turn them off completely including via night mode settings.

  7. #7
    For the money I donít think you can beat the deco Tp link set up. It totally changed the dead spots in the centre of my house and for 99 bunce was a winner.

  8. #8
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Two speed tests just now from the kitchen. Top one is from the Orbi app so testing the speed on base station Vs the bottom one which is testing it from my phone in the kitchen. We pay for M200 currently but will be going with M350 in the new place.

    I really don't think Deco will be able to match this and I'm too firm a believer in backhauled access points to go that route.

    I'm starting to think I should lump it with Orbi which would allow me to at least ethernet my work laptop and maybe a TV/soundbar or two but £950 on WiFi is seriously nuts.

  9. #9
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    Nice thread Wiley. I am following as we are going through something similar soon.

    I don't understand quite a bit of the tech stuff in the OP, Lol! But I assume if the option to wire with cat 6 to each room exists, then that is the way to go? Perhaps plugging in something like a wireless repeater in various locations around the house is another option? (something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tenda-Nova-.../dp/B07CTKHRG8)

    Or would the recommendation still be to wire up and then use something like suggested in the OP?

  10. #10
    Master Skier's Avatar
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    I've had Netgear Orbi and gave up on it when I started to encounter problems. I now have Google WiFi (not Nest) that has been flawless. If you can find the older Google WiFi the hubs do have 2 Ethernet ports on each and you can add Ethernet backhaul if you wish using Powerline adapters; I did this when I had the Orbi system but have never found a need with Google. I have 5 devices covering a large barn conversion and a 6th in the garage. I've had the current setup for around two years and until yesterday had barely given it a though as it just works. I should explain that yesterday I received an e-mail from Google informing me that by some time in May I would need to migrate from the Google WiFi app to the Google Home app. The instructions as to how to do this bore no relation to what was required but all sorted quite quickly.

    I wouldn't get too hung up on WiFi 6 vs WiFi 5. Your speed throughput (not the wholes story I appreciate) won't be limited by this, it will be limited by whatever service you decide on e.g. a 300Mbps Virgin Media service or 1Gbps Gigaclear option; either way WiFi will be more than enough. Given that to stream 4K TV takes around 24Mbps you have to ask if lightning speeds in a domestic setup is required. It may be, but think about what is good enough. I live in rural Gloucestershire and cannot get FTTP, and via phone line I used to get 6.5Mbps up and 0.7Mbps down. I now use the 4G networks (EE defintely the fastest around me) and currently O2, and get around 50Mbps down and 16 Mbps up right now - good enough to stream 2 x 4K reliably which we have proven.

  11. #11
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    I have 3 x Google wifi points in a mesh system and all of them have RJ45 inputs.

  12. #12
    Master Skier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBanks View Post
    I have 3 x Google wifi points in a mesh system and all of them have RJ45 inputs.
    Yep, you and I have the older Google WiFi system. The newer Google Nest WiFi hubs have different Router and Satellites and the Satellites don't have Ethernet ports; I found this out when setting up a system for a friend.

  13. #13
    Master robcuk's Avatar
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    Help: Nerdy New mesh WiFi recommendations

    We have Orbi, it’s great, with the main box and two satellites we have full house coverage and we really do get most of the speed of our broadband. And now we’ve upgraded to Giganet it’s been really solid, and it’s been weeks without a reboot ( I know, dangerous statement).

    We have the RB50 unit & 1 RB50 Satellite, which has 3 Ethernet ports too and 1x RB20 satellite that acts as the 1/2 way bridge and is just a WIFI unit.

    Last edited by robcuk; 3rd April 2021 at 16:25.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skier View Post
    Yep, you and I have the older Google WiFi system. The newer Google Nest WiFi hubs have different Router and Satellites and the Satellites don't have Ethernet ports; I found this out when setting up a system for a friend.
    Really? Wow that's a bit naff. Wonder what made them do that?

  15. #15
    The Nest Routers can be used as Mesh points, if you need the Ethernet point. The smaller points are meant, according to Google, to be used as a hybrid mesh AP and smart speaker, so you can place them all over the home and get the benefit of each and a stronger WiFi mesh as a consequence. I guess, in theory, this negates the need for the more powerful Router for most people.

    PersonallyÖ sod that. Iíve got multiple Routers around the place as I want fewer devices, stronger WiFi, and I donít want Google smart speakers everywhere.

  16. #16
    Master Skier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobM View Post
    The Nest Routers can be used as Mesh points, if you need the Ethernet point. The smaller points are meant, according to Google, to be used as a hybrid mesh AP and smart speaker, so you can place them all over the home and get the benefit of each and a stronger WiFi mesh as a consequence. I guess, in theory, this negates the need for the more powerful Router for most people.

    PersonallyÖ sod that. Iíve got multiple Routers around the place as I want fewer devices, stronger WiFi, and I donít want Google smart speakers everywhere.
    That's what I did when setting up a system for the friend mentioned previously. He needed Ethernet ports in his study and so we exchanged a Satellite for another Router and set it up as a mesh hub. I spoke with him earlier today and asked him how he'd found the system in the 10 months or so since he's had it. 'Faultless' was his reply.

  17. #17
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    A couple of Nest routers might be the ticket then. I've just ordered one this afternoon for my mum's house as she has an alert on her iPhone and iPad about insecure WiFi and won't open her banking apps. I think I just need to edit the password type on her Virgin hub to WPA2 but I'm bored of the car rides during Covid for petty issues and Nest lets you do everything remotely so I'll do that and use it as a chance to play with the app.

    I think CCTV might end up being the decider for WiFi as if we go for a local system we'll have ethernet in quite a few spots but if we go with the Nest cameras (£100 pa for unlimited cameras including the Nest doorbell) we'll stick to 3x access points for Orbi or 4x access points for Nest routers, worst cast 5.

  18. #18
    Master Chewitt13's Avatar
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    Another one for the decos, got 4 of them around the house and it's been amazing, currently got 47 devices attached and they are never a bother, turn them on and they just work

    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

  19. #19
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    Help: Nerdy New mesh WiFi recommendations

    Apologies for the thread hijack. What is the difference between the nest router for example and something like the Tenda WiFi units ? Is it not the same tech? I use something like these and find them great:

    Tenda Nova MW3-3 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System; Get Rid of Wi-Fi Dead Zones; 3500 sq m Wi-Fi Coverage, Two Fast Ethernet Ports, App Control, Parental Controls, Easy Set Up, Pre Configured (Pack of 3) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07CTKHR...B5VK4VBPGRHW95
    Last edited by Boss13; 3rd April 2021 at 19:07.

  20. #20
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boss13 View Post
    Apologies for the thread hijack. What is the difference between the nest router for example and something like the Tenda WiFi units ? Is it not the same tech? I use something like these and find them great:

    Tenda Nova MW3-3 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System; Get Rid of Wi-Fi Dead Zones; 3500 sq m Wi-Fi Coverage, Two Fast Ethernet Ports, App Control, Parental Controls, Easy Set Up, Pre Configured (Pack of 3) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07CTKHR...B5VK4VBPGRHW95
    Probably nothing, it's a mesh WiFi system the same as everything mentioned so far. I've never heard of it and it hasn't come up in any of my research but that won't necessarily mean anything positive or negative, it could be better than all three. I'm probably being a brand snob in my quest for fancy WiFi.

  21. #21
    Buy a Dalek - you wouldnít regret it


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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweepinghand View Post
    Buy a Dalek - you wouldnít regret it


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    Donít you have money to collect allegedly for a charity ?
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  23. #23
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    I'm an idiot, I've just remembered it's a halls adjoined semi so I can run ethernet to every room in the house from outside. I might just do that then and hope I get the wall placements right for furniture.

    Re backhauling, does anyone know if the ethernet has to run directly from the the base station to satellite 1 and then from satellite 1 to satellite 2? Can it be bridged via a switch and still be mesh or would that just turn a mesh network into a couple of APs simply sharing the same SSIDs and passwords?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileeeeeey View Post

    Re backhauling, does anyone know if the ethernet has to run directly from the the base station to satellite 1 and then from satellite 1 to satellite 2? Can it be bridged via a switch and still be mesh or would that just turn a mesh network into a couple of APs simply sharing the same SSIDs and passwords?
    A number of reports of them being glitchy when connected to certain switches, reports seem to focus on ‘green’ switches so you’d need to do some more due diligence and look for known good switches.

    At the risk of sounding like a Ubiquiti fan boy the ap’s are designed to use a switched / routed backhaul and by using Ubiquiti switches you’d be virtually 100% guaranteed to work.

    if it’s the ap form factors you are focused on, are you aware of the unifi flex hd table top ap?

    It pairs well with the dream machine, and dream machine pro all in one units, they give you your security gateway, cloud key and switchall in one, the pro also has provision for a hdd if you were considering adding any security cameras at some point.

    The only downside is I don’t believe that either dream machine has poe ports so you’d need to use passive injectors or buy an additional poe switch.

    That said I still believe you could buy a Ubiquiti component setup of cloud key, security gateway and 8 port (4 x poe) switch and three ap’s for about the same as the two unit orbi.

    A dream machine and a couple of flex HD’s is about £550

    Food for thought...

  25. #25
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    These are some reasonable overviews of the dream machine platforms

    https://youtu.be/7-QvRq6vvf0

    https://youtu.be/AgJGuyDyP_M

    Flex HD
    https://youtu.be/OmIRfJxGuK0

    Component Build
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=f_-iuY_xxFY

  26. #26
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Thanks Captain Morgan, food for thought indeed. Harder work but ultimately more flexible down the line and a better every day experience. I had seen that AP but was too blinkered on WiFi 6 if going for that level of investment.

    I think what's making me apprehensive re Ubiquiti is the shape/style of the APs and where I would put them. I know I don't *have to* have them in the ceiling I just think getting ethernet through the wall is one thing, getting them in the ceiling is another. Maybe ignoring WiFi 6 and getting the standalone pieces would be the best solution. I have a friend with one UniFi AP which is meant to be in the ceiling but he just has it on a side table and it's fine...

    I think I need to start watching Dream Machine Vs Dream Machine Pro videos and figure out what a basic home Ubiquiti network actually looks like.

  27. #27
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    Iíve seen photos of apís mounted on bookends to give a more flexible horizontal mounting position rather than just laying them flat, but again itís placement dependant

    I think wifi 6 would be great but itís that catch 22, how many apís would be needed to get the coverage needed now, vs more cheaper apís to give a more consistent service.

    Itís unlikely that domestic need requires 6 in the next few years and by then the apís will be cheaper allowing selective replacement if itís truly become a block.

    But as I said before itís all much of a unknown until you get into the property and assess it

  28. #28
    I have the Unifi Dream machine on the ground floor with a Flex HD upstairs, which is giving great coverage. The Flex HD is only about the size of a 500ml beer can, so managed to pass the wife inspection. Check out the in wall APs which might suit your needs. As for switch's I'm using Flex minis which are not badly priced and integrate great with the system.

    This video might help

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UrWfFWYBAQ&t=21s

    Captain Morgan is right no POE on the DM switch.
    Last edited by mijyou; 5th April 2021 at 19:47.

  29. #29
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    I'm no expert but we have the Deco (found on Amazon) here in the house and it has been very good for 5 months of the 2 of us working from home (medium sized house). Reasonably priced as well and scale able. Best of luck

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

  30. #30
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    Wiley possibly the last post you wanted to see with more options but I thought this might be of interest to you.

    Though first, you made comments about hoping to make holes in the wall in the right place just checking you planned to drill from inside out to give you more control over placement?

    If you go with in wall ap’s they generally have 2-3 wired ports on them to hardwired other devices too this might help your media areas.

    If the place has been renovated and has been plasterboarded then it’s fairly easy to use a hole cutter to allow the depth to flush mount the in wall units, if it’s plaster on brick then have a look at ‘Electricians Circular Cutter’

    The tp link in wall have very little rear protrusion compared to unifi in wall so would be fairly easy to install possibly even on a shallow wall mount back box


    On my YouTube feeds a few videos have popped up about tp-link Omada system and it’s very very much like unifi but about 2/3’s the price. I priced up a single ceiling mount ap, router, poe 8 port switch and management server and it was around the £250 mark. They do both ceiling and in wall ap’s as well as a single wifi 6 ap if you really wanted to go that route.



    Last edited by Captain Morgan; 9th April 2021 at 15:03.

  31. #31
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Thanks Captain Morgan, I've watched both videos twice over the weekend and last few days along with quite a few other related videos to try and get a better idea. A lot of food for thought.

    I think we'll end up going with Google/Nest CCTV (new units should be announced 18-20 May) for £100pa for unlimited cameras. The noise alerts for a smashed window and the AI detection to say who is at the door, not just someone at the door.

    I've just installed the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X tonight which I bought last year in the hope of fixing the DHCP issue. I should have installed it last year but copped out due to laziness and just turned WiFi off on the Virgin router instead.

  32. #32
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    One immediate upside to the EdgeRouter X -- Tapatalk is now lightening fast at loading everything. I've just gone into the Google Play store to check the last update to Tapatalk to make sure it wasn't that and no, that was last updated 28th March.

    My wife has just asked me if "what I did to the internet earlier" made it faster as pages on her phone are loading quicker and so is her Amazon app.

    Amazing for £50.

  33. #33
    I don't know if you've already decided on placement but as food for thought we had a number of the Ubiquiti APs fitted and they now cover the whole house and most of the garden. The house is early 1900's a almost all solid brick so the company we used installed most of the APs downward facing on the joists in the loft with a couple of other strategically placed downstairs where the house is single-storey. There's a couple more on the fascia boards which give coverage to most of the outside areas.

    The rack with router, switch etc etc in is in the boiler room so there's a lot of cables routed to it but at least it meant the main living space is devoid of cables and boxes.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileeeeeey View Post
    Thanks Captain Morgan, I've watched both videos twice over the weekend and last few days along with quite a few other related videos to try and get a better idea. A lot of food for thought.

    I think we'll end up going with Google/Nest CCTV (new units should be announced 18-20 May) for £100pa for unlimited cameras. The noise alerts for a smashed window and the AI detection to say who is at the door, not just someone at the door.

    I've just installed the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X tonight which I bought last year in the hope of fixing the DHCP issue. I should have installed it last year but copped out due to laziness and just turned WiFi off on the Virgin router instead.
    Interested to see how you get on given you were set on wifi6 & a wired backhaul, keep us updated.

  35. #35
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    Interested to see how you get on given you were set on wifi6 & a wired backhaul, keep us updated.
    I'm still set on wired backhaul but less fussed re WiFi 6 if the APs can be upgraded easily down the line and it looks like Ubiquiti is quite easy but POE injectors everywhere will be annoying.

    Happy with WiFi CCTV (I'll see what Nest/Google launch on 18th May) as we'll have a few Nest hubs and a Nest doorbell anyway. The AI behind the notifications is really appealing and you get 24/7 recording for 30 days on top.

    I've been watching videos on the Edgerouter 6p and 12p this morning and I think one of these could negate the need for switches and I could just connect everything to that via some outdoor rated ethernet cable. It would also help to avoid a rack as it would just feed off a Virgin router in modem mode.

    I'm not sure if an Edgerouter with the Ubiquiti APs would still need a cloudkey? I'm also wondering if I was to terminate the ethernet in the wall with a socket to connect a fresh regular ethernet cable would I have any issues? Something like the pic attached.

  36. #36
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    If you have wireless backhaul just get a Poe switch no need for injectors

    Also the edge router runs one version of their software and the UniFi stuff which the aps are runs another so I donít think the edgerouter makes a cloud key worth while you need a dream machine or dream machine pro.

  37. #37
    Craftsman
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    I have the TP Link Deco mesh that has wired backhaul built into the hubs.

    Best of both worlds. In theory at least, haven't bothered to run any cat cable yet.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by wileeeeeey View Post
    I'm still set on wired backhaul but less fussed re WiFi 6 if the APs can be upgraded easily down the line and it looks like Ubiquiti is quite easy but POE injectors everywhere will be annoying.

    Happy with WiFi CCTV (I'll see what Nest/Google launch on 18th May) as we'll have a few Nest hubs and a Nest doorbell anyway. The AI behind the notifications is really appealing and you get 24/7 recording for 30 days on top.

    I've been watching videos on the Edgerouter 6p and 12p this morning and I think one of these could negate the need for switches and I could just connect everything to that via some outdoor rated ethernet cable. It would also help to avoid a rack as it would just feed off a Virgin router in modem mode.

    I'm not sure if an Edgerouter with the Ubiquiti APs would still need a cloudkey? I'm also wondering if I was to terminate the ethernet in the wall with a socket to connect a fresh regular ethernet cable would I have any issues? Something like the pic attached.

    Ah, I mistook your statement to mean google wifi and nest cctv, as you were ;-)


    The edgerouters are from a difference Ubiquity eco system and will not integrate into the unifi controller, you do not have to run the unifi cloud key to manage unifi ap's and/or switches, you can run the cloud key software on a local mac/pc/linux/pi device, but for convenience most folk use a cloud key.
    If you use a software based controller one "feature" I know of is if you want to run a captive portal for the guest wifi the controller needs to be active.

    TBH I fail to see the cost saving trumps a UDM or UDM pro or an Omada system but its unclear how many wired devices you expect to install.

    In my opinion running an and managing an edgerouter separately from the unifi ap's is additional management challenge for little (if any financial gain) after all one of the key features of unifi or Omada is the single management portal for routing, switches and ap's.



    Re the wall faceplates, they need a 1g back box behind them rather than just screwing to the wall, these can be wall mount back boxes or in wall, obviously the in wall is neater looking but more work to install, in an earlier post I pointed you towards a tool to "cut" out a 1g back box in block/brick and plenty of instructions vids on youtube.

    When drilling for the cable you want to drill at a downwards angle to minimise the chance of water ingress, likewise when installing the cable on the outside wall you make a drip loop below the entry hole for the same reason and you can buy cable covers to cover up the entry hole. its worth remembering that cat 5 & 6 have a ~1" bend radius, cat 6A is more but as 6 will do 10G upto 55m I can’t see you'd need to go to 6A.

    Also I'd run two cables to each ingress point, that allows more flexibility if you want more than an access point there in the future.




    If I can offer some advice, I get a sense that you're focused on the hardware platform rather than the install as a whole. What are your aims for the finished network.

    So far I get you want speed
    I infer that you expect to have a number of wireless clients but how many <100 >100?
    Aesthetics are an issue to be considered in cable runs
    The property is victorian and over three floors


    The questions I'd be asking are:

    What drives the need for speed and what cost do you put on that?

    Network separation, are you looking to separate out different classes of traffic, so that IoT devices can't access anything but the internet (and perhaps each other), do you want a guest wifi separate from your main and IoT traffic, are you looking to work from home and want that traffic secure etc?

    Where do you want wired devices (If any) home office? Media hub?

    Do you want a "personal" vpn back to home to secure public browsing while away from home?

    Where does the incoming service terminate today and can /will it be relocated to the network location?

    Where will you house the Modem/router/switches?

    What is the room layout like, where do you expect to need greatest wifi density?

    How many cables will/can you run outside the house, where will they terminate and can you get you switch in the same location (If not how will you connect it)?



    Once you articulate what and where you want things this should help the what can I buy to deliver that, and minimise the "Oh cock" moments...



    In my case 7 years ago we were refurbishing our 1910 3 bed detached and as part of the rewire we installed cat5e.
    I put 4 runs to the media hub in the lounge, another 2 pairs around the lounge, 2 to the attached garage, upstairs 2 pair to the office, 2 pair to the master bedroom, all terminated to the loft where the bt master socket was moved to, up there is my modem, router, switch and nas devices (and boiler, heating controls and water softener).

    Almost immediately I ran out of ports at the media hub and had to install a local switch but other than that the network is as installed. I get maximum line speed via wifi on the ground floor and the garden is usable. This is from a domestic grade Linksys router/wap mounted in the loft and pointing the antenas downwards. as we have three ~3m steels and an extension downstairs its quite good penetration and should I want to play with Unifi or Omada and multiple AP's its a simple (if costly) change.



    Fyi as a stop gap if needed tp-link deco m5 3 pack was £149 on amazon and second hand on ebay they were not much less, you could have something to use as temp solution & test lab you can sell on once you have a final solution for minimal risk.

    Another option obviously is to buy the Orbi two pack and an extra node from Amazon and test that, if it gives you the speed and functionality you want without chasing out and drilling walls, getting power to the loft or under stair cupboard etc then great, if not then send it back and add the data to the equation.
    Last edited by Captain Morgan; 19th April 2021 at 12:04.

  39. #39
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    I missed the poe injection point, while not as neat you can buy 8-16 port poe injectors which you’d install at the switch end and power any devices that need it (make sure you match poe standards), alternatively you just use an extra power strip and use the supplied injectors at the switch end.

    Really it depends how many poe devices you expect to have and your apitite for more ‘clutter’ at the network hub. 4 or so ap’s and a ip phone or two I could live with any of the the three options.

    Alternatively unifi 5 port poe switches are reasonably cheap as are the 8 (4poe) or tp-link do a 8port poe Omada switch for ~£90.

    Again it’s horses for courses...
    Last edited by Captain Morgan; 19th April 2021 at 15:37.

  40. #40
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    Hey Captain,

    I've totted up the devices to get an idea of wired Vs wireless to get an idea of total based on the two of us there. It looks like 17 wired, 32 wireless. This is based on us going with WiFi security cameras so about 50 total with a couple maybe moving from WiFi to wired if we change camera to Ubiquiti which in all honestly I doubt we'd go with unless there's an unbelievably compelling reason. Their 4k camera looks incredible but the price is outrageous.

    In terms of your questions

    • What drives the need for speed and what cost do you put on that?
      -Nothing really driving it, just going to get 350-500mb Virgin and want that speed throughout the house. I'm expecting video calls to take up a lot of speed and don't want one of my wife's Zoom calls to kill my Xbox speed. Also the chance to geek out and go overkill.
    • Network separation, are you looking to separate out different classes of traffic, so that IoT devices can't access anything but the internet (and perhaps each other), do you want a guest wifi separate from your main and IoT traffic, are you looking to work from home and want that traffic secure etc?
      -I'll definitely want a main network and an IoT network, we'll probably have the main network hidden and just tell guests the guest network is the main one. We've had guests over before who kept going wild with the Sonos songs/volume to the point I went into Orbi and turned off WiFi for their phones to cut their access and pretended the internet must have broken. We VPN in for work and I think and will probably have 3-5 computers on at the same time to be able to use the internet freely without everything going through the VPN (I use a Nest Hub Max to watch YouTube and iPlayer outside of the VPN but in the new house I'll set up a Mac Mini with a decent screen).
    • Where do you want wired devices (If any) home office? Media hub?
      -No need for a Media Hub as we're big users of Prime/Netflix/Catch up etc. Photos/videos are in Google Photos backed up and anything important is in Google Drive. I back up the computers manually once every few months using SuperDuper onto external drives. Will probably end up with ethernet in nearly every room to give us options in the future.
    • Do you want a "personal" vpn back to home to secure public browsing while away from home?
      -No need for a personal VPN, can't see the benefit unless it's for accessing CCTV if using wired/network CCTV?
    • Where does the incoming service terminate today and can /will it be relocated to the network location?
      -Right at the front of the house in the corner, pic attached (https://i.imgur.com/lFJgFka.jpg). I was thinking of having the Virgin hub stay there as-is but then put it into modem mode and ethernet out to the loft labelled at Bedroom 4.
    • Where will you house the Modem/router/switches?
      -Bedroom 4 in the loft. The two windows at the front are actually Velux windows and there is decent eaves storage but the floorplan doesn't show this. I would house there then ethernet back out down the side of the house and connect most/all rooms.
    • What is the room layout like, where do you expect to need greatest wifi density?
      -Every wall is a solid brick wall, no drywall anywhere. I'm expecting signal issues. The current vendor during Covid/WFH had a massive ethernet cable from the living room up to bedroom 6 so WiFi can't have been great.
    • How many cables will/can you run outside the house, where will they terminate and can you get you switch in the same location (If not how will you connect it)?
      -This is where I'm stuck. I was thinking about running everything directly from a 24 port Unifi switch but there are quite a few different Unifi 24 port switches and I need to read up on the differences. The main one they advertise/recommend on their site is 700 Euro (too much) but there are loads of 24 port switch options on their site for much less.

  41. #41
    I see Orbi getting thumbs up and thumbs down. I bought the Orbi RBK53s to replace power lines and the powerlines speed loss was too much.

    When the Orbi works it is outstanding, but it is too flakey. I've had them nearly 6 months and my network uptime in that period is only 99.19% When it goes bad it does it in bursts, so video calls are torture and games impossible. I keep trying more things to make them stable, but like many others will probably ask amazon to take them back.

  42. #42
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    Thanks Wileeeeeey,

    Iíll digest this and give you some suggestions. but a few more questions unfortunately.

    When I said media hub I meant where you have your main media stuff so tv, streaming boxes, games console, basically media devices youíd like hard wired for the most reliable connection.

    The same with home office locations

    Am I right assuming the existing tv room will be a ďmedia hubĒ, any others?
    Also I assume the 2nd floor office is remaining as is and needs hard wired connections, any other rooms to be used as offices?

    Also I assume that bedroom 2 is the master?

  43. #43
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    Hey Wileeeeeey


    Based on what you’ve said so far this is how I’d perform the physical layout



    I’ve assumed Ubiquity in the description below but its easy to work out the change to Omada

    Loft:
    Dream Machine Pro (Core / Distribution)
    8 port poe switch (Core / Distribution Switch)
    AP - Long Range (try positioning it in the eves above the bedroom / hall boundary to improve coverage into the bedrooms and hallways below)

    1st Floor:
    Study: In Wall AP & 5port switch(Access Switch), 2* cat6 runs
    Bedroom 2: In Wall AP, 2* cat6 runs
    Bedroom 1, 3: Fed wireless from loft AP

    Ground Floor:
    Lounge: Virgin Modem, In Wall AP, 3* Cat6 (Modem to UDM, Switch to AP, Spare)
    TV Room: In Wall AP & 5port switch (Access Switch), 3* cat6 runs (Switch to AP, Switch to Switch, spare for future use in kitchen)
    Kitchen: Optional In Wall AP (I would see if its needed and if so link to tv room cat6 runs)
    Dinning Room: In Wall AP 1* cat6 run


    Hardware suggestions:
    The aim is to minimise the external cabling needs and use a core / edge network design when you place smaller / cheaper edge switches where you have a concentration of wired devices such as the study and TV room.

    I’ve also suggested more in wall AP’s as they also allow for some wired connections allowing you to used any room with them as a temp office or use other wired devices if needed

    The UDM Pro to cover the Routing/FW, switching and Cloud Key duties and to give eight ports

    The eight port poe switch also located in the loft would cover the AP’s

    The long range AP for the loft for increased downwards coverage, and suggest trying it in the eves first to try to spread coverage over the bedrooms and halls. Obviously if there is poor coverage you could add additional in wall AP’s in the dead zones or use more ceiling AP’s on the top floor.

    The normal in wall AP’s rather than long range to try to minimise wireless crossover between GF rooms as this leads to devices holding onto week signals on the ground floor as you move room to room. The exception to this is the kitchen as it looks that the mounting location is so close to the TV room that I think there could be a significant overlap, that said if it turns out to be a service week zone it would be easy to add a kitchen AP connected via the extra cat6 drop via TV room if needed.

    Basic Unifi 5 port switches for the Study and TV/Media Hub which allow for four devices each, the in wall AP’s also have two ports available if you run over.
    That said if you need a greater concentration of physical ports in any area its simply a case of replacing a 5 port switch with an 8 port or whatever port density is needed, if it’s an additional media hub or office add a switch and possibly a in wall AP

    I’ve not included a external AP but if you think one is needed simply add another cat6 drop and leave it un-terminated but weather tight until needed.


    Wiring:
    Obviously the Virgin box connects direct to the UDM Pro (Internet port)

    I’d hang all the poe AP’s from the 8 port poe switch, this would allow up to 8 powered AP’s if you need 8 then you’d use a sfp to rj45 module to uplink to the UDM.

    I’d hang the 5 port switches off the UDM

    In tis manor you use the UDM and 8 port poe switch as the “core” and the AP’s and other switches as your “edge” devices, This should give some ports for growth.


    What Hardware Platform:
    Looking at costs the differential between Unifi and Omada is ~£180 if you use 8 port managed switches as access switches in the Omada setup, however if you used 5 port unmanaged switches in the TV Room & Study then than grows closer to a £350 saving. Also with Omada its cheaper to go with a single 24 port poe switch at the core than two 8’s so you have a greater port count with more poe

    This presents an interesting value proposition, the Omada platform is not as widely used as its significantly younger than the Unifi one and while there is a support forum at tp-link and how to guides on youtube they are not as active or numerous, so I know that the Omada platform will provide the functionality you’re looking for at a lower price but you might have to work out if the lesser support is worth the difference, only you can gauge that

    Re Orbi assuming the wifi6 platform (1 router, 3 satellites and 3 managed switches) its more than the unifi setup obviously you could go with the cheaper ranges but I believe this would impact the aim to separate Guest, IoT & trusted traffic plus you would have to use a spate management console for Orbi and the switches, it sounds a more expensive solution with less functionality to me


    Costs:

    Unifi:




    Omada with 8 port managed access switches:




    Omada with 5 port unmanaged switches:


    If you went this route you would feed a singe vlan to the un-managed switch, IoT in the TV room & trusted in the study, then if you needed a physical port of the other type in either location you can enable a port on the EAP225-In-Wall AP’s on the desired vlan


    Routing/Vlans:
    If it were my setup I’d aim for the main trusted lan and three vlans, IoT Guest & Security

    Guest: The UDM / Omada Controller have built in guest portals once set up either will allow guests access to the internet and noting else

    IoT: If you do a search then Crosstalk and Laurence Systems have tutorials about setting up a IoT vlan, this can be extended to a wireless ssid on the same vlan meaning you can isolate both wired / wireless devices on the same network that can only see the internet, firsticks, sonos, appletvs, TV’s AV Amps, etc live on this

    Security: I’d set up what is in essence a second IoT network but only put security devices on this, not strictly needed I guess but I like the idea that the security devices are isolated from other devices

    Main/Trusted: the main lan & the one your trusted devices live on, your PC’s, iphones, ipads etc, this has internet access and can initiate connections to devices on the IoT & Security vlans again Crosstalk and Laurence Systems have tutorials

    This will be a bit or a learning curve as its no longer a case of plugging in a cable and you have instant access to a flat network, you will have to enable and assign vlans to ports in advance of their use, you’ll also have to grasp the routing steps to either isolate vlans or enable access but the tutorials cover it quite well

    It does mean that short of unplugging an existing connection someone can’t just plug into a unused port and off they go


    Other random musings:

    Speed: I can’t see you having any issues you’ve got ~300mb/s incoming if memory serves, a single 4k video stream is about 25mb/s, a video call on teams etc is3-4mb/s, each switch / AP has its own 1gb/s uplink so I can be fairly certain that if configured correctly there’s little chance of network contention

    PoE: I’ve tried to keep all the poe devices limited to the AP’s and not have poe coming out of the wall sockets, mainly because I know that with the earlier 24v passive poe standard if you connect an poe port with power to a non poe device then you can damage the device.
    Now I don’t believe the US-8-150 will do this, but I haven’t used one to confirm so err on caution.
    I do think it’s a greater risk with the poe injectors for the 5 port switches and would recommend using a dedicated colour patch cable for the port you use the injector on, say use a red patch cable to remind you its carrying passive poe

    Sonos: I recall some chatter about sonos not responding well to being put onto a IoT vlan but I can’t recall the details you might want to look into this if you’re a sonos user and consider if it moves onto the trusted network?


    Let me know what you think and if you have any questions or if you need help digging out the tutorials

    Rgds,

    Si
    Last edited by Captain Morgan; 22nd April 2021 at 10:15. Reason: error fix

  44. #44
    That is a post and a half. Great community spirit sir!

  45. #45
    Nice work Captain

    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk

  46. #46
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Hi Captain,

    Great advice, I've decided to go with Ubiquiti, mostly as invested all of my hours watching Ubiquiti set up and admin videos and I cannot fathom starting all over again for a different brand. As you say there is infinitely more support and How To stuff via YouTube and forums for Ubiquiti. I've watched hours and hours of videos (some multiple times) from Crosstalk Solutions, Laurence Systems, The Hook Up, and others including ThisIsMyNaturalColour who is a much more basic Welsh guy (more my level) and between them I've had the install, VLANs, IoT, and the Protect system explained by five or six different people in detail. I think the biggest issue with VLANs for IoT comes with Apple TV. Many people just end up putting them on their main network. There seem to be workarounds for Sonos.

    I'm going to have three VLANs (possibly 4 with cameras/alarms - I'll see what Nest/Google reveal next month re cameras) but will probably give everyone except my wife's cousins the main WiFi. We won't have a NAS or anything special so there's nothing for anyone to snoop on even if anyone was that way inclined.

    Your suggestion of the US-8-150W has thrown me a bit as I was just going to get the USW-Pro-24 gen 2 to keep everything uniform with the Dream Machine Pro. I hadn't seen that combo before but it's rare to find a Ubiquiti video where the person has paid for the kit themselves which is probably why. I was debating the USW-Pro-24-PoE as it's SPF+ thinking the CCTV with internet might benefit especially if going with 4K cameras in the future but I know this is me being stupid and ticking every "all the gear, no idea" box. For two people working from home that is insanity. I also couldn't afford it.

    I caved in and ordered 4x U6-Lite APs instead of the in wall units. In wall would have been better, especially with ethernet out, but my wife said if I put them in the wall and we ever want to put something against the same wall she will lose it with me. When she asked if we could have them in the ceiling instead I went with this option. I'm probably going to end up putting them in the corner of each room so they're out of sight and there isn't a long wire visible. Not great for signal but a fair comprise maybe. Ubiquiti are fans of "just add more" re APs so that does give potential down the line. I will probably go for an outside AP at some point but not on day one.

    The long range U6-LR'S are sold out with Ubiquiti and none of the WiFi 6 units are available in the UK yet. Because of this I've ordered the 4x U6-Lite APs from UI Europe and they're shipping from America (I have dispatch notices from DHL and UPS, not sure why). Quite annoying as I've paid VAT and I'll also end up paying import etc. I'm going to order the rest of the kit from Broadbandbuyer.

    I haven't ordered anything from Broadbandbuyer yet as the switch I was looking at isn't expected to be back in stock until 10th May at the earliest. I think I'm going to order the kit without the switch and add on a few PoE injectors with wires all over the hallways for 2 or 3 weeks until it's all here and then factory reset and install it all properly with drilling and mounting. Ugly but gets us 80% up and running for two weeks.

    I'll get a patch panel and colour code the ethernet cables as it's a good standard to have but I don't think this will be a job for day one. I'm going to use CAT6A for all of this in the hope it's better for the future of the network.

    Full list:
    • 1x Dream Machine Pro
    • 1x USW-Pro-24 gen 2
    • 4x U6 Lite
    • 2-3x Flex Switch Mini (3x if I can get away without the Switch Lite PoE)
    • 0-1x Switch Lite 8 PoE
    • 3-4x U-POE-af (temporary, used while waiting for switch)


    Later on when I get a patch panel and colour coded ethernet cables I'll put it all in a rack. If we do go with UI cameras I may try to add the UNVR-EU (4x drive bays) assuming we've recovered financially from the original install! It seems a wasted opportunity that the Dream Machine Pro doesn't come with (or have an option) for 2x drive bays instead of 1x. When you see them opened up there is a huge space just waiting for the second bay.

    Is there anything glaringly wrong in the above or any red flags in your opinion?

  47. #47
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    These came today with no additional VAT/import to pay which was a nice surprise.

    As the 24 port switch is out of stock (and as we might end up with UI cameras) I've ordered that and directly from UI again - hoping for no double VAT - and the Flex Mini from Amazon. All inc the Dream Machine Pro should be here by Friday and I'm going to try install over the weekend.

    I'll update once it's all here. I think I'll end up with an extra Flex Mini and maybe the 8 port PoE lite depending on where TVs etc end up going but those should be easy items to pick up later.
    Last edited by wileeeeeey; 28th April 2021 at 08:20.

  48. #48
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    I hope it works well. I went with a Draytek 3910 router, Draytek managed PoE switch and a combination of Ruckus 310, 510 and outdoor APís. Expensive but excellent solution.


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  49. #49
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    Just for general information on Ubiquiti devices.

    I recently completed a wireless install for a local community organisation. Nothing particularly complicated. I used three Ubiquiti UAC-AC-Lite devices, hard wired back to a CISCO PoE switch.

    In the last week, they have complained that wireless clients are randomly disconnecting and reconnecting as they move around the sites. The logs show this is happening, seemingly at random. Some days it works for some devices, some days they disconnect and reconnect multiple times, even when they are sitting in the same room.

    Ubiquiti support is basically non-existent and is a poor mix of web, Facebook, wireless forums and here-say. This random disconnect is a recognised issue by users in the forums but no real fix has been forthcoming from Ubiquiti. It seems that when they work, they work well and you get a lot of features for your money but the software can have problems and the support ball is pretty much in your court.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk

  50. #50
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    That's quite annoying and the roaming feature should really take care of it. I've heard the same re support - nonexistent and people end up on forums and YouTube looking for help.

    I've had two dispatch emails today so hopefully when it turns up it's all ok but will find out in a few days.

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