WiFi upgrade - if interested, read on! If not, then scroll down to the next post.
I live in an old house, so walls are solid 9” thick. We’ve always had a problem getting Wi-Fi throughout the house (not surprising really!) and getting Wi-Fi in the garden was just forget it!
Makes LandRover forum browsing and facebook a nightmare!
After spending many hundreds on different combined broadband routers, different locations and styles, I’d really had enough of poor signal or bodging plug in gizmos to try to get decent and reliable signal.
So I took the plunge and ordered some Ubiquiti UniFi access points.
2 x Ubiquiti Networks UAP-AC-LITE WLAN Access Point
And 1 x Ubiquiti UniFi AC Outdoor Mesh
Able to run by power over Ethernet so I didn’t need to have an extra power socket nearby. Although they do have their own PoE adapter if you need it)
I went for the Lite ones as they’re plenty good enough for my coverage and they’re smaller than the Pro (wife friendly for stuff hanging on walls). Although they’re not that much more for the Pro.
I also bought a new 8 port PoE switch
Now I know there are those that will have better kit than these, but usually more expensive and usually you use the kit in your day job too... but for most people, this kit seems to be more on the professional side than the PCWorld side!
So, whilst these devices can ‘mesh’ together without being wired in, it would slow down the 2nd and 3rd mesh points so I wanted to wire them in directly to the PoE switch to give maximum output to all of them.
I’ve spent the weekend running a new cable from the existing Broadband router location up into the loft (after removing a load of hidden rubble from when the roof was replaced!)
Whilst there, I re routed existing Ethernet cables that went to two of the bedrooms so they would go straight to the loft (more for ease of routing than anything else).
Also wired a couple of more runs outside to downstairs and then three internal (and external) runs to my UniFi AP’s.
It’s not a quick job unfortunately in these old houses, but managed to get all the wires where they needed to be!
A new experience to me was unbelievably I’d never crimped a Network cable plug before! But they’re cheap enough and mostly worked first time. The crimping tool became out of alignment at one point so I had to adjust and re do a couple of connectors. But it’s not as bad as some may think.
A cheap Cable tester is invaluable here as it will tell you if any pins are shorted or mixed up or not connected.
https://www.cdlmicro.co.uk/ct-500-ether ... -rj45.html
I got all my Ethernet cable (indoor and outdoor spec) and connectors and other stuff I needed from http://www.CDLMicro.co.uk (Disco owner as well)
I used colour coded boots on the cables to distinguish between
PoE for the access points and future cameras (yellow boots)
Normal Ethernet points (blue)
Main uplink from Broadband router to switch (Grey)
I also tagged the cables so I know where they’re going to!
I already had live power sockets in the loft, so I plugged in the switch, powered on and connected the main uplink to port 1 and the others in some kind of order to me.
Downloaded the Ubiquiti UniFi Controller to my laptop (easy to do) and then set about discovering them and going through the straightforward wizard. Choose whatever silly name you want. I’m currently the “GCHQ Listen Inn”... with the guest network being “MI5 surveillance van 276”
I did notice one of my neighbours also has Federal Security Service
I’ve set the switch in the loft to Bridge mode and so the original router does the DHCP addressing.
I’ve removed all the plug in gizmos and switched off Wi-Fi on the broadband router, so the new UniFi stuff is the only Wi-Fi signal available in the house now.
The difference between before and after is just WOW.
I downloaded a WiFi sweeper app to give me an indication of the speeds getting over Wi-Fi in various rooms.
Before, I made the change, I was getting (varied) anything from 30mbps to 100mbps. And this was still running .ac and .na devices on 5ghz so should have been better!
Now I’m getting 3-400mbps and more!!
This speed is not the internet speed dictated by your internet provider, this is the comms speed between your device and wireless interface.
My fibre broadband should give us 70mbps. Over Wi-Fi, we struggled to see Speedtest results of more than 30-40mbps.
This is today’s test! Over Wi-Fi on the iPad (similar for iPhone and laptop).
Now there’s a couple of things to take into account, probably the first performance improvement was to remove the plug in devices that just drains the internet speed (although it did serve a purpose for a couple of years!).
But the now seamless transition from one AP to the next to the next is worth it for not getting earache from the wife about the “bloody :censored: Wi-Fi!”
I have one in the Lounge, then one at the top of the stairs (the other side of the house) then the outdoor one is just outside the back door, so also covers the kitchen as well as the garden.
I’ve not checked the full range, but I expect it will easily reach the 40m or so to the bottom of the garden with good signal as only a privet hedge to block it!
I can also see ‘neighbours’ and with the new setup, I can see approx 70 WiFi points with the new AP’s in place.
The software is pretty good as well, giving me stats on users either on the main network or the guest network (which you can also restrict download speeds if you want to). Also tells me which AP’s are being used the most and which devices are using the most!
If you want to, you can do a drawing or a google map image of your property to plan where in theory is the best place to place the AP’s. It can also give you an idea of the range of the different AP’s.
Anyway, thought you might be interested in the results. The most difficult bit was getting the wires where I wanted them to be!
Overall, definitely worthwhile doing and technically really straight forward. A bit of guidance from my buddy Chris in what to buy and what to look for in configuring and all good to go!
If you live in a modern house, then I’m pretty sure just one AP will cover most houses as they’re not solid brick everywhere like mine!
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