UniFi Enterprise Wireless

It’s been a while, hello blog…

Wireless… god send or pitfall into invisible death… you get to decide. Either way, my iPhone doesn’t come with a gigabit ethernet port so wireless it is.

While my 2 wireless routers / access points were doing the job, I wanted a single SSID and enough power for more than 6-10 devices without drop outs. Configuring multile SSID’s wasn’t painful, it was the absence of UPnP or other media services on the access point in which “things were slow”, that’s networking terms for you not-IT foks.

With a little help from Go(ogle)d I found UniFI, Ubiquiti Networks, and it appeared to meet my needs.

  • Multiple WAP’s capable of distributing my SSID
  • Central management, i.e. software
  • Support more than the standard 10 device limit on residential units
  • Give me more power on configuration

My first time around with this, being a novice to this system was not as easy as my second round.

First time for everything…

A year ago I installed and configured this for a small business. I removed the 3 wireless routers they had, installed the management software on a tablet that was stuck in the office and behold… happiness for the masses. In an office of 3-8 the wireless kept ticking with approximately 3-8 mobile phones, 3-5 laptops, Apple TV, Wireless Printers and a Guest wireless for their clients. No issues, drop outs, just happiness.

On the configuration site, I ran into an issue with the Java requirement as it wasn’t installed in a specific directory and the AP decided to fail to connect to the management controller so some manual putty and a little help from support (Who were awesome) I was back up an running in an hour.

In lieu of the setup the first time, it appeared the build I downloaded was pre-production or just not tested. Either way, it may have put some people off which is a big no-no in the consumer world. In all, it was a 3 out of 5 experience.

All Good Things Come To Those Who Wait…

Yes, a movie reference, and one of my favorites.

My second time around, was me, at home, deciding to spend more than $19.99 on a wireless router/AP. I decided I had enough and with the potential of at least 10 wireless devices without company over meant.. Mo money, Mo money, Mo money.. (See, I did it again)

Once the management software was downloaded and installed, way easy the second time, I was off an running. I had already plugged in the AP into an ethernet port and power outlet. The included adapter does not require a PoE ethernet switch. It found it, configured it and within 15 minutes wireless was online and ready to go. The software and install this time around was much cleaner, prettier and wizard like which made everything a breeze. Plus now I can plug in another AP and get further coverage. I won’t need to however as I am now getting wireless out in the street and down the block where as before it was minimal past the front door. I was happy, my family was happy.

In the end, would I recommend this to the average person, meh… still on the fence with that decision. Anyone with an engineering brain or a free Saturday night could get this up and configured on their own. And with support a phone call away I wouldn’t be scared even if I was a monkey, no offense to the monkey’s of course. The question for me is, who really needs this? Hotels? Businesses? Those who don’t want to spend tons of money on Cisco products? Yes to all. With security a big issue and wireless a constant reminder of how un-secure our technology is, the question becomes to Ubiquiti, Cisco and others, how secure can you make it and how easy will it be. Being that Ubiquiti is a newcomer to this world, security experts may be quick to brush off a non-Cisco product. Yet, keep your eyes and ears open for this company as based on a cost vs. ROI variable, they are looking like the Costco of the wireless world.

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