Upcoming Maintenance Alert:

The UBNT Community will be upgraded at 5pm MDT on April 25th. During this time the community forums will be set to read-only status.

Learn more

×

Vacation Resort UniFi Installation - Large scale wi-fi network, Mesh network, and captive portal

by Wednesday

Windsor Palms Vacation ResortWindsor Palms Vacation Resort

Windsor Palms is a large vacation resort in the city of Kissimmee that is host to thousands of vacationers annually and consists of condominiums, townhomes, and single family homes. The full property is 120,000 square meters and the Clubhouse/Pool area where we deployed a Captive Portal using Unifi AC Mesh Pro AP’s measures at 3,750 square meters.

Our company was contracted to design a large-scale network with very specific needs in mind for the condominiums and Clubhouse/Pool area. This was a two-part project, which after its completion, we have been approached for an expansion into the townhomes. This is an excellent indication that they are pleased with the quality of the products, our design, and reliability of the network.

Condominium Units:
Windsor Palms management and the Condo Owners Association determined that they wanted each individual condo unit to have a dedicated access point with their own unique SSID and Password. Management also requested that they have the ability to change SSID’s and Passwords at the condo owners request. Designing this network and implementing it with a guarantee that they would receive the full functionality that they were requesting took some time and it certainly did not come without a few challenges along the way, but we were able to develop the perfect solution.

Scope:

  • 10 buildings (3 story buildings) – Management assigned a name to each building for their internal identification purposes
  • 30 Condos per buildingEach building is divided into two separate addresses (ex: 2300 Butterfly Palm Way and 2302 Butterfly Palm Way is 1 building) with 15 units per side.

The first step was having internet brought to each building. To accomplish this, we had a local ISP bring fiber to each building. The local ISP provided a 500 Mbit synchronous connection with 16 static IP’s.

 

Prior to installation, we took a significant amount of time in planning the IP scheme, SSID scheme, passwords, and wire mapping. Documentation was essential for resort management to be able to access the controller and manage certain parts of the network such as password changes and HotSpot management. This request from the client did present a minor issue since, as a company, we manage many other sites on our UniFi controller that we clearly are unable to give them access to. As a result, we created a dedicated email address under our domain and created a separate account that still belongs to us, but allows them the capability to see their site only as opposed to our multiple sites.

IP Scheme:
We assigned the static IP as X.X.X.99 for the clubhouse, X.X.X.100 for bldg. 1, X.X.X.101, for building 2, and that external IP scheme continues throughout until building 10.

 

The internal IP scheme is a class B (172.x.x.x) and goes as follows:172.20.x.x = Building 1172.21.x.x = Building 2….and so on until building 10

 

The first 40 IP addresses were blocked out of the DHCP server for statically assigned hardwareSSID’s were created based off of the building number, street name, and condo unit. For example, 2300BPW#101, 2302 BPW#205 are some examples of the SSID’s. We used this SSID scheme for all 10 buildings. Passwords consist of a portion of the SSID and randomly generated characters. Excel spreadsheets were created for full documentation of Unit, SSID, Password, Port number, and patch panel number.

Hardware Used Per Building:

 

  • 1 UniFi USG Router
  • 2 Unifi 24 port PoE 250W switches. We used two 24 port switches instead of one 48 port for purposes of wire management.Because each of the 10 buildings are divided into two separate addresses, we used one switch for 2300 BPW and another for 2302 BPW.
  • 1 UniFi Cloud Key
  • 30 UniFi Ap's
  • Enclosed 6U rack with fan

Port Assignment:
The first 15 ports of each switch were used exclusively for individual unit AP’s and correspond to their unit number.

  • 101 – Port 1
  • 102 – Port 2
  • 103 – Port 3
  • 104 – Port 4
  • 105 – Port 5
  • 201 – Port 6…….and so on until you reach unit 305 at port 15
  • Port 24 was used to create the link between the switches
  • Port 23 on the lower switch is used as the uplink from the router
  • Port 23 on the upper switch is used for the Cloud Key
  • Port 22 is used for our local connection when directly connecting our laptop for local maintenance

When designing the network, we decided to color code our patch cables to differentiate between the device connections. This was done in the event that we needed to troubleshoot via remote and we needed someone onsite to disconnect a device, we could easily tell them what color patch cable to disconnect. For example:

  • Blue connects access points
  • Green links the two switches
  • Yellow connects from the demark to router
  • Black connects router to the switch
  • Orange connects the cloud key to the switch.

 

So, how were we able to obtain 30 separate SSID’s from a controller that technically only allows five? Well, that was a bit tricky but we figured it out. Here is how we did this:

  • We created 2 SSID’s in the controller. One consisted of the building name (Maleficent, Captain Hook, etc) and was the broadcasted (not hidden) SSID. The second one was a hidden SSID based on building number and street name. The purpose of this second SSID is for us (the network engineers) to have full access from anywhere in the building for maintenance purposes.
  • Within the controller, we clicked on each access point once it was adopted and under configurations gave it an alias (2300BPW#101) and under WLANS did an override of the broadcast SSID using the above-mentioned scheme.

Clubhouse, Pool Area, and Management Offices

Client requirements:

HotSpot/Captive Portal to cover the following areas

  • Pool & Jacuzzi
  • Bar
  • Gameroom
  • Theater
  • Sundry shop
  • Gym
  • Volleyball court
  • Tennis court
  • Wired management office and point of sale systems
  • Wired theater for streaming devices
  • Wired network shared printers
  • Wired Internet café
  • Wireless access points for management and employees

Hardware Used:

 

  • 1 UniFi USG Router
  • 2 Unifi 24 port PoE 250W switches We used two 24 port switches instead of one 48 port for purposes of differentiating between wired and wireless connections
  • 1 UniFi Cloud Key
  • 3 UniFi Ap’s (these AP’s are mainly for indoor use by management and employees)
  • 3 UniFi AC Mesh Pro AP
  • Enclosed 6U rack with fan

Port Assignments:

  • Wireless switch handles the wireless AP’s and follows the same port scheme as the condos for the cloud key, router connection, and link between switches.
  • Wired switch consists of all management office computers, printers, point of sale in sundry shop and bar, and theater equipment. This switch also follows the same port scheme as the condos for the cloud key, router connection, and link between switches.

HotSpot

For the hotspot, we used the built-in hotspot in the UniFi controller. The client wanted the capability for guests to purchase wi-fi by either using their credit card directly through their device or purchasing a voucher at the Sundry Store. To accomplish this, we had management create a Stripe account that we linked via an API and configured the Wi-Fi packages as requested by management. We designed a custom splash page with terms of service and configured it so once the customer is connected, it directs them to the Windsor Palms website.

Mesh Network
The requirement from the client was complete coverage of all the above-mentioned clubhouse areas. For this, we used the UniFi AC Mesh Pro AP devices for two primary reasons. The Mesh covers a large area with a small number of access pointsThe 2.4GHz and 5GHz ranges balances the load for connected devices in and around the clubhouse. During peak vacation season, the clubhouse/pool area sees approximately 100 guests at any given time.

Future Expansion
As a result of the success of the Condo and Clubhouse projects, the Townhome owners have vigorously expressed the desire to have the same services that the condo owners have. We have been approached to begin designing a network for the townhomes, which consist of 15 buildings and a total of 106 townhomes. For this project, we plan on using the outdoor UniFi AC Mesh Pro AP devices.

 

Full Video with Images, Heat Maps, and Drive Through Tour of the Facility

Sandra Cooper
Comments
by
Wednesday

Very Nice

by Ubiquiti Employee
Thursday

Excellent story - thank you for sharing!  Looking forward to the follow-up story on the Townhomes deployment!

by
Thursday

Very impressive deployment and good job on the video. Very clever use of overriding the SSID per AP.

Was the Unifi AP vs the Unifi AC Lite choice purely budget? Are you doing any sort of traffic shaping?

by
Thursday

Thank you. We used the UniFi AP's due to budget. The client was providedd options, however due to the massive amount of deployment, they felt that the UniFi AP's would suffice. Also, these are vacation rentals and they weren't too concerned about the speed because each unit has their own access point and wouldn't be handling a massive load. We have received feedback from some who do rent on a longer term basis and they have expressed to us that in comparison to the DSL that was there, this is lightning fast for them. 

 

Right now, we are monitoring the traffic and no one has been even close to hitting the .5Gb. We will monitor it much more closely during their peak season, which is coming up, and make any necessary changes. 

by
Friday

Very impressive overall, and a great video presentation. Should woo some new customers i hope!

 

One question - what are the cloud keys used for?

by
Friday

Thank you. 

 

The cloud keys provide the ability to manage your sites from remote via the cloud controller.

by
Friday

I thought you mentioned you adopted everything to your cloud controller?

by
Saturday

Do you have a separate vlan for each AP?

 

I think you should isolate as much as you can for security purposes.

by
Saturday

Great work! I think I spotted a Intel NUC in the video, what are you using that for?

by
Saturday

We are able to adopt from remote due to having the cloud key installed for each building via the UniFi controller. You have to configure everything on site at first, but from that point on, we were able to adopt AP's as they were installed from remote.