Here begins a story about an old apartment, poor wifi, a troubled husband, and a knight in white armour (well, more accurately, white plastic ... with a blue LED ring).
Living in an old apartment has some benefits. The rooms are larger, there is usually good storage space, and the layout is generally more practical.
The major downside is the concrete walls and lead paint are the arch-nemesis of wi-fi signal.
Having suffered a long time with a couple of Apple Time Capsules and a powerline cobbled together to provide mediocre b/g/n coverage, the time had come to make a change and do things properly (this coincided the picture on our baby cam freezing for the hundreth time one evening, getting "that look" from my wife and spending the next 3 hours moving, tweaking, and finally rebuilding the network).
I employed the services of Google to help me research solutions ...
"best wifi router" gave me a load of expensive consumer crap that looked like it came from the torture chamber in an aliens dungeon.
"best home wifi" gave me more of the same.
"where to bury a body" resulted in "that look" once more from the wife. Moving swiftly on ...
Then inspiration stikes ... "affordable enterprise wifi APs" ... bingo ... Aruba Networks (need to work on your SEO Ubiquiti, you are 5th from the top). Fast forward through lots of reading and lots of video reviews (thank you Willie Howe and Chris Sherwood). I had decided Unifi was the way to go.
So, a quick Amazon order and a USG and Cloud Key were on their way over the oceans to reach me.
Firewall and controller - Check (but must .. have .. more .. green .. bubbles .. on .. dashboard )
Then on to APs ... more research, followed by more research, and then some more research just for good measure.
Another Amazon order and a SWITCH-8-150W and 2x AP-AC-PROs are on their way.
As the boxes arrive, I am super excited. Finally, a cure for the crappy wifi and dead spots.
Excitement turns to disappointment as I open up Ekahau heatmap and see the two main dead spots I had before still remain. I turn to the forums for guidance and help was at hand (Thank you nickpoore and ub40).
Off to amazon again. SWITCH 24 and AP-AC-M are expedited as fast as DHL can carry them to my door.
A couple of days of final testing of AP positions, 80ft of cable runs, 50 cable ties & sticky feet, some peeled off paint and plaster (not intentional), and several swearwords later, we are up and running.
There is now full coverage in 2g and 5g across the whole apartment. I have retired the old Apple kit and powerlines, which resulted in WAF lvl3 (Wife Approval Factor) as she gained back precious inches of countertop space in the kitchen. And I get some fancy new software/hardware to play with.
Here is the final layout of APs:
The AP-AC-M is wirelessly uplinked as running cable into the kitchen would have been a royal pain in the butt, plus the place is rented so I dont want to have to rip it all out and fill the holes up in 18 months time. I get a great wireless uplink speed (650Mbps) and managed to hide it underneath the cupboards so it is out of sight (more WAF).
I terminated the CAT6a cable runs into breakout boxes for each of the AP-AC-PROs and then ran 1m flat CAT6 white cables to connect them up. This was mainly due to a) not being able to channel into the walls and b) not wanting white trunking around the walls. You will see the cable tie and sticky pad solution in the pictures below:
I am still waiting to get approval on adding a rack to the living room, so for the time being the switches and USG are cobbled together on a temporary makeshift rack on the back of a cupboard (hence no embarassing pictures of these).
Finally, here is a picture of the empty boxes now living in my store cupboard:
The morale of my story is industrial velcro is your friend. Anything not cable tied is affixed using industrial velcro, even the breakout boxes and AP-AC-PROs. Oh, and trust in the forum, it is a great place to hang out and learn from some people who really know what they are talking about.
So this is the end of my first story. I am sure when we move apartment or Ubiquiti come out with something super cool, there will be more stories to come.
Thanks for reading and thank you Ubiquiti for being the hero of this story.