08/20/2018
RV Park Unifi vs OM
Used Products
×5
×2
×1
×1
Location
Michigan, USA
Description

Our office was approached by a property owner looking to implement a wireless solution for a 100 site RV park, with an estimated 200 wireless clients at the height of the season. The customer originally requested the project be quoted with products other than Ubiquiti, as they had recently implemented wireless solutions at two other parks. I’ll refer to the mesh access points as OM and the point-to-point radios as EN. After mocking up the requested design in Ekahau, I advised the customer that I was happy to implement this solution, but I felt I could design a better plan using Ubiquiti products. I explained that the functionality within the Unifi controller is far superior to OM’s cloud management. I also cited cost, supportability, scalability, and Ubiquiti’s focus on outdoor and hospitality scenarios as benefits over the OM/EN solution. The customer was very receptive to reviewing an alternative design/quote, as they had heard good things about Ubiquiti. Total UBNT and mounting hardware cost: $1,700

 

 

OM_Signal_Strength.pngOM Ekahau Plan

 

 

I designed a wireless solution using the following equipment:

  • 1x USG Pro
  • 1x 8 port POE pass-through switch
  • 2x LightBeam AC 23
  • 2x AC Mesh Pro AP
  • 5x AC Mesh AP
  • 5x 24v POE adapters
  • TOUGHCablePRO and TOUGHCable ConnectorsSignal_Strength.pngUnifi Ekahau Plan

     

 

 

 

We host our own cloud controller on Azure. Additionally, I took the opportunity to setup UNMS on Azure for the LightBeams. After presenting the quote and Ekahau design plan, I walked through the Unifi demo site with the customer. They were very impressed by the Unifi controller and the fact that they were getting 7 Aps for $500 less than the OM/EN quote, so the obviously decided to go with our UBNT design.

I configured the equipment offsite in 4 hours, from unboxing to repacking. The onsite installation took 12 hours, including an interior cable run and 5 trips to the hardware store. The site is 3.5 hours from my office, so I was not able to plan the mounting locations as well as I would have like, consequently I did not have all the mounting hardware I needed to complete the project. I was able to mount the LBEs and Mesh Pros on the office roof and a fortuitously placed telephone pole. The telephone pole setup was the most time consuming, in part because of the ladder work. The Mesh Aps were mounted on 10’x1” steel tube, which were fixed to electrical hookup boxes using pip straps and sheet metals screws. The POE adapters were placed in 6x6x6” weatherproof PVC boxes.

 

IMG_0919.JPGUSG & 8 Port SwitchUSG & 8 Port Switch

IMG_0913.JPGHardwired LBE & Mesh Pro APHardwired LBE & Mesh Pro AP

IMG_0920.JPGLBE & Mesh Pro APLBE & Mesh Pro APIMG_0914.JPGAP MeshAP MeshIMG_0915.JPGMesh APMesh APIMG_0916.JPGPOE Adapter BoxPOE Adapter Box

 

 

On this project I leveraged the Unifi controller tools more than previous projects. The map/topology feature, channel planner, and metrics were crucial in winning the project and implementing an optimized solution.

I also gained a lot of valuable experience. I learned that the Guest splash page is not ideal for this type of implementation, because residents were unable to connect their smart TVs with that enabled. Using Ekahau’s Site Survey planning tool I was able to visualize the asymmetrical radiation of the OM and Mesh Aps, which was critical on this project. This was my first project using the TOUGHCable products. Although it does take longer to work with, I’m confident that there is no better product for outdoor cabling. The LBEs may have been over kill for this project, but there were outside factors that led to their use. There are only a few clients connected so far, but my onsite tests were consistent with the Ekahau heat map.

 

topology.pngUnifi Topology

 

unifi map.pngUnifi Map

 

 

I granted the customer access to their site on our Unifi controller and walked them through some of the metrics and features in the web browser and iOS app. They seem really impressed with the controller and happy with the project overall. Time will tell if the design will perform as desired, but I'm optimistic.

 

RV Park Unifi vs OM

by ‎08-20-2018 10:23 AM - edited ‎08-22-2018 07:27 AM

Our office was approached by a property owner looking to implement a wireless solution for a 100 site RV park, with an estimated 200 wireless clients at the height of the season. The customer originally requested the project be quoted with products other than Ubiquiti, as they had recently implemented wireless solutions at two other parks. I’ll refer to the mesh access points as OM and the point-to-point radios as EN. After mocking up the requested design in Ekahau, I advised the customer that I was happy to implement this solution, but I felt I could design a better plan using Ubiquiti products. I explained that the functionality within the Unifi controller is far superior to OM’s cloud management. I also cited cost, supportability, scalability, and Ubiquiti’s focus on outdoor and hospitality scenarios as benefits over the OM/EN solution. The customer was very receptive to reviewing an alternative design/quote, as they had heard good things about Ubiquiti. Total UBNT and mounting hardware cost: $1,700

 

 

OM_Signal_Strength.pngOM Ekahau Plan

 

 

I designed a wireless solution using the following equipment:

  • 1x USG Pro
  • 1x 8 port POE pass-through switch
  • 2x LightBeam AC 23
  • 2x AC Mesh Pro AP
  • 5x AC Mesh AP
  • 5x 24v POE adapters
  • TOUGHCablePRO and TOUGHCable ConnectorsSignal_Strength.pngUnifi Ekahau Plan

     

 

 

 

We host our own cloud controller on Azure. Additionally, I took the opportunity to setup UNMS on Azure for the LightBeams. After presenting the quote and Ekahau design plan, I walked through the Unifi demo site with the customer. They were very impressed by the Unifi controller and the fact that they were getting 7 Aps for $500 less than the OM/EN quote, so the obviously decided to go with our UBNT design.

I configured the equipment offsite in 4 hours, from unboxing to repacking. The onsite installation took 12 hours, including an interior cable run and 5 trips to the hardware store. The site is 3.5 hours from my office, so I was not able to plan the mounting locations as well as I would have like, consequently I did not have all the mounting hardware I needed to complete the project. I was able to mount the LBEs and Mesh Pros on the office roof and a fortuitously placed telephone pole. The telephone pole setup was the most time consuming, in part because of the ladder work. The Mesh Aps were mounted on 10’x1” steel tube, which were fixed to electrical hookup boxes using pip straps and sheet metals screws. The POE adapters were placed in 6x6x6” weatherproof PVC boxes.

 

IMG_0919.JPGUSG & 8 Port SwitchUSG & 8 Port Switch

IMG_0913.JPGHardwired LBE & Mesh Pro APHardwired LBE & Mesh Pro AP

IMG_0920.JPGLBE & Mesh Pro APLBE & Mesh Pro APIMG_0914.JPGAP MeshAP MeshIMG_0915.JPGMesh APMesh APIMG_0916.JPGPOE Adapter BoxPOE Adapter Box

 

 

On this project I leveraged the Unifi controller tools more than previous projects. The map/topology feature, channel planner, and metrics were crucial in winning the project and implementing an optimized solution.

I also gained a lot of valuable experience. I learned that the Guest splash page is not ideal for this type of implementation, because residents were unable to connect their smart TVs with that enabled. Using Ekahau’s Site Survey planning tool I was able to visualize the asymmetrical radiation of the OM and Mesh Aps, which was critical on this project. This was my first project using the TOUGHCable products. Although it does take longer to work with, I’m confident that there is no better product for outdoor cabling. The LBEs may have been over kill for this project, but there were outside factors that led to their use. There are only a few clients connected so far, but my onsite tests were consistent with the Ekahau heat map.

 

topology.pngUnifi Topology

 

unifi map.pngUnifi Map

 

 

I granted the customer access to their site on our Unifi controller and walked them through some of the metrics and features in the web browser and iOS app. They seem really impressed with the controller and happy with the project overall. Time will tell if the design will perform as desired, but I'm optimistic.

 

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Comments
by
on ‎08-21-2018 06:21 AM

You said hardware costs around $1700,  about how much did you end up charging the customer for installation and setup?  I'm considering taking on a few of these projects for some spare change. 

 

 

by
on ‎08-21-2018 06:58 AM

Around $2k

 

by
on ‎08-22-2018 07:05 AM

Great setup, i have done similar in a park in Ireland, budget was very tight and the bandwidth was limited (15Mbps Broadband Connection)

I used 5 x AC Mesh AP`s, a HP procurve unamanged switch and an old laptop to run the SDN, and 5 POE injectors.

Not ideal setup but as i said money was tight.

All of the AP`s are hard wired back to switch.

I agree with you regarding the Guest splash page and the issues it causes when not going via a browser on a device, but left it in place so the user had to agree to T&C of usages.

For the residents i have a separate SSID that they connect to as they would have agreed to T&C in their annual contact.

And then i have another SSID for security, this allows residents access IP cameras at their property remotely ( for a small annual fee)

All in all its working well, max users i have had on at any one time is 82, which isn't bad for a 15Mbps connection.

What i have notices is the wifi signal fluctuates quiet a bit, i`m unsure what is causing this.

One question i do have is in relation to the positioning of the antenna on the AC AP units, you have them at a slight 45` angle, did this improve your coverage ?

 

by
on ‎08-22-2018 07:24 AM

robhold12,

 

45 degrees is Ubiquiti's official recommendation. If you look at the radiation pattern you'll see how the dipole antennas create a figure eight pattern in the Azimuth orientation, which is ultimately you coverage radius. Also, referring to the zero degree elevation view will show how the signal radiates at 90 degrees from the antenna. So, if you leave them upright they will radiate vertically more than horizontally. This means that the closer you are to the AP the weaker the signal, which would be exacerbated by the mounting height. It was mentioned to me in a Ubiquiti certification class that these antennas will "cancel each other out" when left upright, but I don't have any data to confirm that.

by
on ‎08-22-2018 07:31 AM

Great, thanks for the information, i will test at the 45` and alos try and get a on a course Man Happy

That could be the reason i am getting signal fluctuations ....antennas cancelling each other out.

 

by
on ‎08-22-2018 07:40 AM

Also, set your channels and uplink priorities manually.

by
on ‎08-24-2018 12:23 AM

Our company focuses exclusively on RV parks. Last month we served over 250k rv guests. 

 

I don’t write much here and my point is not to be critical, but offer insight. I have built too many of these parks to not write. While I respect your detailed write up, this network is going to develop a lot of issues over time. The only thing worse than not using the pro mesh units is putting them in repeater mode. My advice is to always always use a cpe for each APs uplink and only use repeater mode as a fall back. The best way to do this in rv parks is to install an ac unit at each site, do not try and cover an site more than 180 feet away, and always always use the pro units. Keep the poles at about 17 feet and use dfs bands for the backhaul network. 

 

There is obviously a lot more I can write about this, everything from pole sizes, to junction boxes, to cable types, splash pages, etc but I am hoping at least those basics will help someone. I sure wish I had known some of that when I first started Man Happy

by
on ‎08-24-2018 05:10 AM

I completely agree with everything you said. That is the ideal way to setup a system like this. Unfortunately we have to work within our client's budget. My business is not in a position to turn away work at this point. In this case the RV park is not one of those high end resorts with a pool and lots of ammenities. It's a very inexpensive place with basic hookups. They came to us requesting that we put in a mesh solution, of their design, that was more expensive and would not perform as well. We proposed an alternative solution that would yield better performance. So, for $1700, this is the best solution I knew of.

by
on ‎08-24-2018 11:51 AM

For the amount of money, then I agree 100%

 

when we first started these were the types of budgets we worked with. After time in the industry we are blessed enough now to work with larger parks with larger budgets. Just keep an eye on those small mesh units. Hey have gotten a lot better. But they are generally slow, they get congested easily and have very poor range. 

by
on ‎09-13-2018 02:51 PM

Interesting setup, looks like you got a lot of new experience.

 

I am with some of the others about the amount you charged ~$300 for this is very low, if you have to drive 3.5 hours and 12 hours on site then drive another 3.5 hours that $300 turns into around $15 an hour close to fast food minimum wage. Your doing specialty technical work. The RV park is providing this to make money and they are a business too. Don't give your expertise away, tell them there budget for this needs to be more, they were already expecting to spend $500 more on other equipment, and even Ubiquiti equipment isn't the lowest cost stuff you could have used. You also had the cost of the sight survey, time you spent configuring the equipment, ordering the equipment, the quote time, thinking about it you probably made less than $8 an hour.

 

How much do they charge for the Internet for their clients? How long do you expect this system to last? 100 sites x $50 = $5000 - $150/m for business internet - $2000 install and service = $2850 for the first month, if they charge $50 and all the sites sign up. A better number may be 25 sites at $40 a month is still $1000 and in 3 months they are profiting, along with the increased value of the spots by having onsite Internet service. Per night customers are even better for ROI $5-10 a night is great money for Internet service.

 

Just some though on the numbers and actuly turning some kind of profit for yourself. Dell well sell you a $120 laptop, but no one really wants that junk they want the $1500 version, those prices are just to get people looking at the site.