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multi-ap setup?

Discussion in 'Networking, Telephony & Internet' started by T1tan, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. T1tan

    T1tan Member

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    Hey

    I'm currently running a bit of a mongrel setup, and I'd like that to change. I have a pfsense router which I love. I'm not changing that, it's setup with split tunnelling nicely.
    1. I do want to redo my wifi in the house though - it's a mix of two routers that have mixed capabilities that are set up as wireless APs (as much as possible). They're my old routers before I met pfsense. They seem to drop out once a week.
    2. I'm happy to get an electrician / cable layer in to lay some cables to the ceiling of the house (2 storey) as well as to the tv area from my study (where the IT equipment resides).
    3. The goal is to standardise and simplify everything, splitting out components.
    4. I suspect I need only two or three APs initially - probably only one at each end of the 2 storey double brick house, maybe one in the middle.
    5. I have a vm server that is always on.
    6. A PoE solution gives me jollies.
    What would you recommend I purchase?

    Cheers!

    Nik
     
  2. tobes

    tobes Member

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    I've gone the Ubiquiti route and really enjoying the performance. My laptop would drop wifi performance daily while working prior and now it doesn't skip a beat. It's not the cheapest route though I will grant you but the Wifi performance is great.
    You can leverage your pfSense as the gateway host the cloud key software on the VM Server and grab a POE switch + some access points.

    I started my journey with originally for cameras and have added some second hand Wifi access points. Now running 8 port POE switch, An inwall AP behind the living room TV, an AC-Pro and just added a USG.
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    T1tan

    T1tan Member

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    Cheers!

    I have an inwall cavity behind my tv - what did you use for it?
     
  4. tobes

    tobes Member

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    Oh I've got one of these shoved into my TV cabinet. Does WiFI coverage for the back of the house and allows Computer and Telstra TV box to be connected via cable.
     
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  5. OP
    OP
    T1tan

    T1tan Member

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    Cheers, I misunderstood what the device was.

    So all I need is a Poe switch, one or two ap's and a VM for "cloudkey" to get going?

    Is there a recommended minimum distance between ap points?
     
  6. tobes

    tobes Member

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    No worries thats why I linked to it.

    Thats my understanding yes. Because I wanted to have cameras with the remote alerting I got a Cloud Key Plus but if you just want to run APs you don't need that.
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    T1tan

    T1tan Member

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    How do you rate the cameras?
     
  8. tobes

    tobes Member

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    I've got a couple of the cheapest ones the G3 Flex's and they've been great. Originally installed them and setup the notifications because the house was going to be vacant for a month.
    Gave me the peace of mind. Notifications without subscriptions
    Tossing up getting a couple more to improve coverage but very happy with them as they are.
     
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  9. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    Once you go UniFi you never really bother to look at anything else, it's great.
     
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  10. scips

    scips Member

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    I run 1 AC lite at mums roof & central mounted in a decent size country 3BR townhouse, covers it all inc outside.

    Run a linux VM, easy to find a guide for installing unifi controller into it - https://www.ui.com/download/unifi/d...-51329-debianubuntu-linux-and-unifi-cloud-key

    Or spend $369 and get the cloudkey2 plus - https://www.scorptec.com.au/product/Networking/Accessories/73969-UCK-G2-PLUS
     
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  11. Renza

    Renza Member

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  12. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    If you are going for a standalone controller use a raspberry pi, cheaper than the cloud key and you can do more with it.
     
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  13. OP
    OP
    T1tan

    T1tan Member

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    Ok, does the ap require the controller to operate?

    I know it's required for initial setup/changes, but if I have a power failure, does it need to be active/connected for the ap's to be functional? (Think wife trying to get it back up while I'm not at home).

    I'd likely just have it as a unraid docker container or VM, as I have that capacity already.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  14. Renza

    Renza Member

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    Nope, not required after the initial setup to work
     
  15. OP
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    T1tan

    T1tan Member

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    Cheers!
     
  16. SuiCid3

    SuiCid3 Member

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    Haven't looked at networking gear in years.
    This little device looks bloody fantastic.
    How's the coverage of the AP?
    Descriptions say it's good for one room coverage, is that the same in real world use?
     
  17. tobes

    tobes Member

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    There are some newer ones that have 3 outlets stronger wifi.

    It provides decent coverage for the back half of my house which is essentially one giant room ... and I have the AC Pro near the home office.
     
  18. th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    Yep, Unifi here too.

    One in the back and one in the front of the house, probably overkill but the front one was put in the lounge where both the Wife and I would use laptops and lots of photos so getting them to/from the NAS at the fastest speed was a big factor in the location of that AP. A second AP was added later to cover the back rooms as the kids got older and complained things didn't work so well down the back of the house.

    My only small gripe is that the dining table is right in the middle of the two APs and that areas can be a little patchy as devices try and switch from one AP to the other and back again. Move a meter into the kitchen or down the hallway and there are zero issues. It's only really noticeable with streaming stuff (like facetime calls) or when using AirPlay1 to the stereo in that room. Getting a new ethernet run to that device solved most of those problems. Honestly, I don't tend to do very much in there so haven't bothered looking for a solution, but worth mentioning.

    On controllers. I am running a Raspberry Pi for this (and a few other things) which works very nicely. If you're just running AP's it's not really necessary to run a full time controller because you probably don't care too much about the stats or firmware upgrades as long as things work. You can always load up the windows controller every now and again to check if things are still working as they should. If you do go down the Unifi Security Gateway or Unifi Switch path, then the controller is (more) necessary.
     
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  19. OP
    OP
    T1tan

    T1tan Member

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    Thanks guys, you've answered all of my initial queries

    One other question though:
    Am I limited to one SSID per band per device? I'd like to set up a second ssid for 2.4ghz so one of my legacy devices which I no longer know how to get on to, is still able to connect to the internet (my solar inverter).

    Fixing the issue of logging on is the real problem here but I can't be bothered right now.
     
  20. th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    There is an option on the Unifi (and most dual band devices) to separate the networks, you tend to get WAP_NAME_2.4GHz and WAP_NAME_5GHz as available networks. If you don't do this then both frequencies are working at the same time and devices can connect to whichever it is they want. All my shiny new smart switches only work on 2.4GHz, but are smart enough to just connect.

    Some of the older devices that first pair to your phone to get the network settings then connect to the WiFi have a cry about the phone being connected to 5GHz and that not being supported. some will then just try to connect using your credentials anyway. This works perfectly as they only see the 2.4GHz network and connect to that anyway. Others just flat out refuse unless it's 2.4GHz only. The solution to this is to temporarily disable 5GHz completely on one/both/all of your AP's then connect your older device, then turn it back on. Luckily it's only a once off problem.

    Plan C: You can just run a separate WLAN for those devices all the time and only use 2.4GHz for that particular network. Some people choose to do this in order to separate out that network traffic from their main network for security reasons but it's not something I have looked into just yet.

    Another thought: If you create a second SSID with the same SSID and password as the current/old network, your inverter should just connect since it already has the credentials. You don't even need to set it to 2.4GHz only, as above the inverter will only see the 2.4GHz signal anyway and connect to that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
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