WiFi at home: Ubiquiti ?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by adam9c1, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    At home I have 4th gen Airport Extreme in the basement.
    The coverage and throughput is really weak.
    I can stream SD content on Apple TV on the first floor OK but areas of second floor get no signal.
    If I'm outside the house as well I will at times have weak signal (to stream audio).

    It is really difficult to run ethernet in my house. The house has been renovated with audition about 20 years ago and I have a single cat6 running from basement to the attic and can bring that down to the 2nd floor master bedroom (even running from attic to the MB is tough) (lots of things in this house make no sense).

    I hear (but never used) Ubiquiti is a underdog. I've used Aruba controller and WAPs at my last job. Their gui was clunky but doable once you spent some time in it.

    I'm not looking for anything fancy at home.
    Just a home network and guest network. Portal would be a bonus ;-)

    How are the Ubiquiti at home?
    I'm looking for the N model.

    I think our house is 2300 sq feet plus basement.
    I'd like to have coverage in the house and outside.

    Do the WAPs mount facing down from ceiling or can they be mounted (sideways) on a wall?
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I wish I could answer your question directly but alas, I can't. I have heard good stuff about Ubiquiti and would highly recommend you go to the SmallNetBuilder site and examine their reviews and tests on routers.

    You might also investigate Powerline AV2 connectivity for areas that just don't seem to get any better via WiFi. These are not instead of WiFI but as an addition for the home.
  3. ortuno2k macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2005
    Hollywood, FL
    I have set up 3 of these units for work and home. Once set up, the unit rarely ever needs to be touched again, and they certainly don't need to be rebooted every few days like some cheap consumer access points and routers.

    The only thing is that it doesn't have a built-in portal like most wireless devices do - you need to install the Ubiquity software on a computer (physical or VM, Mac, Windows, Linux) in order to configure the device, set up wireless networks, VLANs, etc. Once done setting up, the software is not necessary to run the wireless network; only to make changes. I'd say that this is the only minus about the unit. I've gotten used to it, so I set up a Ubuntu VM and installed the management software on it. Whenever I need to make changes or want to look at stats, I just log on through the web portal.

    They have just released new hardware with AC technology, so check out their site. The regular AP or AP-LR should be more than enough, unless you want the faster speed and (possibly) range with the higher-end units.

    You may mount these on the roof or wall; they come with the hardware to do so. I haven't had any issues with the range or speeds, but you may need 2 well-placed units to cover multiple floors in a home. And yeah, you can create a guest network, guest portal, VLAN separation... plus a ton more.

    Good luck!
  4. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    FWIW I personally got tired of crappy consumer-level WiFi and router gear with buggy firmware, security holes, and no support. I got a Mikrotik Routerboard for my main Ethernet router and an Ubiquiti UniFi b/g/n/a 2.4/5.0 access point. The only thing that's a pain is that the "controller" software for the Ubiquiti is a Java app so you have to have Java installed on a computer to initially configure it.

    I used to have poor signal with my consumer level gear and required near-daily reboots. Apple TV would always lag and buffer. It's been over a year since I've had to reboot the UniFi, and the Routerboard reboots itself occasionally to install software updates. They are absolutely rock solid and I have zero issues with Apple TV or anything else. I would absolutely highly recommend Ubiquiti. Get the LR (Long Range) version if you're worried about coverage.
  5. robzr macrumors member

    May 4, 2006
    Hi Adam,

    Keep in mind if you are using WDS or extending wifi over wifi, there is a dramatic increase in latency and a corresponding decrease in bandwidth each hop you take. I'm in a similar situation as you, as far is it being a massive PITA to run ethernet, but at the end of the day there is no replacement.

    I don't think Apple has ever published any sort of gain patterns for their wifi gear, I don't think they are high gain antennas but they definitely have a lot more gain out the sides. So I'm not surprised that once you go a floor or two up it's getting to be a pretty poor connection. I run an Extreme on our middle floor and some Expresses for Airtunes and acting as APs on various channels for my same SSID, and it works pretty well. That said, the Expresses are showing their age, hopefully they'll update them soon. You could mount a router sideways, but you'll likely hurt performance on the same floor and probably causing less efficiency with your clients all over the place due to the polarity being shifted 90 degrees.

    Apple's wifi gear is a bit short on features. I have deployed and personally used Ubiquiti gear, and in my experience their stuff is a bit of a strange beast. They do some proprietary things, in the early 802.11n days they were doing something proprietary that caused their APs to only work at 802.11g speed with Apple products (I think all or most non-Ubiquiti gear actually).

    Their Unifi line does (I think?) require a central point of management, but the Airmax line has actually a pretty polished and feature full web UI. Their customer base is really installers so some people won't find it very user friendly but it tends to be pretty powerful and IMO well done. You can get a Linux command line usually pretty easily as well, they don't hide it. It tends to be decent quality, with a lot of power/configurability for the money.

    In spite of my generally positive experience with Ubiquiti however, I stick with Apple for wireless gear around my house, in part for Airtunes functionality but also just to keep things simple and compatible. I'd rather spend my time stressing out about tech issues at my day job and be able to relax at home...

  6. bankshot macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2003
    Southern California
    Pretty much echoing the previous comments. I went with Ubiquiti after going through several wireless APs that didn't have enough range throughout my non-huge house (1600sqft).

    The one drawback, as mentioned, is that it requires Java to administer. I use a VM for this, because Java is not allowed on my actual machine! That said, it's been pretty much "set it and forget it." Haven't had to restart or tweak any settings since initial install.

    What I like:
    • Range covers my whole house, garage, and front/back yards
    • Easy to mount on the ceiling
    • Looks sleek and unobtrusive
    • Power over ethernet made it easy to run just one wire in the attic over to the location
    I haven't used many of the advanced features, such as separate guest networks, etc. But for my needs, the thing just works, which is a lot more than I can say for much of my other gear (including Apple).
  7. adam9c1 thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012

    I have looked at their older products (AP and AP-LR) and they are 2.4ghz only. Buying a AP-AC or AP-PRO is out of the question due to $.

    From what I read they do not need a controller, only a java based interface.
    I was thinking of running two APs, one in the basement and one on the third floor.
    The proposed connections would be:

    MODEM -- ROUTER -- GIGABIT SWITCH -- WAP (basement)

    What I may end up doing is installing another 4th gen AE on the top floor and see how that goes.
    I am surrounded by many 2.4 networks.
  8. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    The airport express refurbs work great to fill in the blanks of coverage. Ideally, run Ethernet to it, but they work good regardless for me. Never have to touch the darn things.
  9. adam9c1 thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    Update: now with saturation of stronger signals parts of main floor get no signal.

Share This Page