11/09/2017
Wi-Fi for a 650 player LANparty
Reason for Installation
Material available for free to us (privately owned by team members): 3 APs (AC-PRO, HD and SHD) in the main hall to cover the 650 attendees 2 AC-PRO in the lobby (bar and game area) 1 AC-PRO on the entrance level (low foot traffic) 1 UAP gen1 backstage (just some base connectivity needed)
Used Products
×1
×4
×1
×1
Location
Hagen, Germany
Description

Small non-profit project: Provide Wi-Fi for a 650 people LANparty. Relatively low traffic as this thing is only there for some e-mail and light browsing, but the Cisco hardware we'd used in previous years was starting to show its age (802.11a/g only). To replace it, we started by taking inventory of the available UniFi hardware (stuff that everyone could bring privately) and ended up with this:

 

1x AC-SHD

1x AC-HD

4x AC-PRO

1x UAP gen1

 

With those, we used the ability to place virtual APs on a map in the controller and devised the following deployment plan to cover as much area as possible while also trying to handle the higher density of the main hall:

 

We put one AC-Pro in the low foot-traffic entrance area (only gets busy at the start and end of the event):

Selection_004.png

 

and then used the rest of the APs a floor up to cover the main hall, and the area in front of it:

Selection_003.png

 

 

From top left to bottom: AC-Pro to cover our 'Anki Overdrive' track (part of our fun park), AC-Pro to cover the bar and sitting area, AC-Pro to cover the northern part of the hall with about 200 players, AC-SHD and AC-HD to cover the rest of the main hall (450 players) plus the stage where the organisers sit, and finally, the old UAP-gen1 backstage, covering part of where we sleep. (The above is actually the 5G coverage map but due to a cosmetic controller bug, the 2G coverage of the gen1 was not removed.)

 

Since the standard mounts are not well suited for temporary installation or hanging off the truss, we built our own support platforms:

RS4057_IMG_0004-scr.JPGSHD floating in main hallRS4060_IMG_0007-scr.JPGSHD attached to trussRS4064_IMG_0011-scr.JPGAC-PRO attached to pipingRS4065_IMG_0012-scr.JPGAC-PRO above our Carrera track (Anki Overdrive track not in shot)RS4066_IMG_0013-scr.JPGAC-PRO at the barRS4069_IMG_0016-scr.JPGAC-PRO in the entrance area

 

 

 

The SHD came in particularly handy as we could use AirTime and AirView to check on the RF status, and quickly deduce that our initial plan to do balanced bandsteering would be tricky as the 2G band was filled with noise!

 Selection_013.png70-80% 2G airtime was noise, the 5G band was smooth sailing

 

(We actually asked the location guys and they confirmed that their Wi-Fi has 2G trouble all the time as well.)

 

As a result, we set the APs to 'Prefer 5G' instead, which worked admirably:Selection_016.png2G clients not having a good time, fortunately most got moved to 5G.

 

(If you're wondering why we are doing 1 5 9 11: 6 had interference on it, and when we switched to 1 5 8 11, 8 was completely unusable with the respective AP complaining about 99% interference blocking the channel.)

 

Limited Internet connectivity made our Wi-Fi provided access relatively slow, causing most guests to prefer staying with their 3G/4G connections, but we still served some clients:

Selection_017.png

 

 Selection_042.png

 

(I kept walking around during the party to run speed-tests towards a local endpoint and the UniFi controller and never had less than 100Mbps both up and down on the 5G band. This was using an 802.11n card so it's likely that AC clients were able to get much more.)

 

We had a few little hiccups with testing-stage firmware (some APs started rebooting, and some others stopped doing bandsteering temporarily until restarted) but overall the whole installation performed wonderfully and the AP reboots went completely unnoticed as clients roamed over to the next AP.

 

Finally, some miscellaneous photos from the dashboard and the event itself:

Selection_026.pngSelection_039.pngYou can see when people went to sleep. Man Wink

RS4119_2017-10-28 16.06.20-scr.jpgSelection_014.pngRS4123_2017-10-28 16.08.11-scr.jpgRS4145_IMG_0035-scr.JPGRS4149_IMG_0039-scr.JPGRS4188_2017-10-29 01.06.36-scr.jpgInternet, routing and services VM cluster.RS4189_2017-10-29 01.06.44-scr.jpgGame-server farm.Selection_035.pngGrafana dashboard to monitor Internet, Wi-Fi and LAN.

 

Wi-Fi for a 650 player LANparty

by ‎11-09-2017 12:52 PM - edited ‎01-02-2018 04:19 AM

Small non-profit project: Provide Wi-Fi for a 650 people LANparty. Relatively low traffic as this thing is only there for some e-mail and light browsing, but the Cisco hardware we'd used in previous years was starting to show its age (802.11a/g only). To replace it, we started by taking inventory of the available UniFi hardware (stuff that everyone could bring privately) and ended up with this:

 

1x AC-SHD

1x AC-HD

4x AC-PRO

1x UAP gen1

 

With those, we used the ability to place virtual APs on a map in the controller and devised the following deployment plan to cover as much area as possible while also trying to handle the higher density of the main hall:

 

We put one AC-Pro in the low foot-traffic entrance area (only gets busy at the start and end of the event):

Selection_004.png

 

and then used the rest of the APs a floor up to cover the main hall, and the area in front of it:

Selection_003.png

 

 

From top left to bottom: AC-Pro to cover our 'Anki Overdrive' track (part of our fun park), AC-Pro to cover the bar and sitting area, AC-Pro to cover the northern part of the hall with about 200 players, AC-SHD and AC-HD to cover the rest of the main hall (450 players) plus the stage where the organisers sit, and finally, the old UAP-gen1 backstage, covering part of where we sleep. (The above is actually the 5G coverage map but due to a cosmetic controller bug, the 2G coverage of the gen1 was not removed.)

 

Since the standard mounts are not well suited for temporary installation or hanging off the truss, we built our own support platforms:

RS4057_IMG_0004-scr.JPGSHD floating in main hallRS4060_IMG_0007-scr.JPGSHD attached to trussRS4064_IMG_0011-scr.JPGAC-PRO attached to pipingRS4065_IMG_0012-scr.JPGAC-PRO above our Carrera track (Anki Overdrive track not in shot)RS4066_IMG_0013-scr.JPGAC-PRO at the barRS4069_IMG_0016-scr.JPGAC-PRO in the entrance area

 

 

 

The SHD came in particularly handy as we could use AirTime and AirView to check on the RF status, and quickly deduce that our initial plan to do balanced bandsteering would be tricky as the 2G band was filled with noise!

 Selection_013.png70-80% 2G airtime was noise, the 5G band was smooth sailing

 

(We actually asked the location guys and they confirmed that their Wi-Fi has 2G trouble all the time as well.)

 

As a result, we set the APs to 'Prefer 5G' instead, which worked admirably:Selection_016.png2G clients not having a good time, fortunately most got moved to 5G.

 

(If you're wondering why we are doing 1 5 9 11: 6 had interference on it, and when we switched to 1 5 8 11, 8 was completely unusable with the respective AP complaining about 99% interference blocking the channel.)

 

Limited Internet connectivity made our Wi-Fi provided access relatively slow, causing most guests to prefer staying with their 3G/4G connections, but we still served some clients:

Selection_017.png

 

 Selection_042.png

 

(I kept walking around during the party to run speed-tests towards a local endpoint and the UniFi controller and never had less than 100Mbps both up and down on the 5G band. This was using an 802.11n card so it's likely that AC clients were able to get much more.)

 

We had a few little hiccups with testing-stage firmware (some APs started rebooting, and some others stopped doing bandsteering temporarily until restarted) but overall the whole installation performed wonderfully and the AP reboots went completely unnoticed as clients roamed over to the next AP.

 

Finally, some miscellaneous photos from the dashboard and the event itself:

Selection_026.pngSelection_039.pngYou can see when people went to sleep. Man Wink

RS4119_2017-10-28 16.06.20-scr.jpgSelection_014.pngRS4123_2017-10-28 16.08.11-scr.jpgRS4145_IMG_0035-scr.JPGRS4149_IMG_0039-scr.JPGRS4188_2017-10-29 01.06.36-scr.jpgInternet, routing and services VM cluster.RS4189_2017-10-29 01.06.44-scr.jpgGame-server farm.Selection_035.pngGrafana dashboard to monitor Internet, Wi-Fi and LAN.

 

{"location":{"title":"Hagen, Germany","placeId":"ChIJ2yg81387uUcR1jbZgSbWYEM"},"addedProducts":[{"id":"unifi-ac-hd","count":1},{"id":"unifi-ac-pro","count":4},{"id":"unifi-ap-ac-shd","count":1},{"id":"unifi-ap","count":1}],"solved":"","numbers":"","description":"Material available for free to us (privately owned by team members):\n3 APs (AC-PRO, HD and SHD) in the main hall to cover the 650 attendees\n2 AC-PRO in the lobby (bar and game area)\n1 AC-PRO on the entrance level (low foot traffic)\n1 UAP gen1 backstage (just some base connectivity needed)","mainImage":"128471i15036313ABC96D3C"}

Comments
by
on ‎11-09-2017 01:18 PM

Curious, why did you use 1 5 9 11 for the 2.4 channels and not 1 6 11 ?

by
on ‎11-09-2017 01:47 PM

We ran into interference on 6 as well (not as bad as 8, but still enough to have APs complain about it).

by
on ‎11-09-2017 03:22 PM

Sounds very odd to configure them that way.

 

I would have thought it would've been more correct to use the correct 3 channels, in low power mode.

Then this would have encouraged all capable clients to use 5 Ghz.

 

Since channels 6 and 8 overlap, the interference could've been self caused.

Plus when you have hundreds of bluetooth devices, including mice and keyboards that can transmit on all 3 correct channels as part of their normal operation.

...EEEEK.

 

by
on ‎11-09-2017 06:00 PM

What is the location of this?

by
on ‎11-10-2017 12:00 AM

You could have used 1,5,9,13

by
‎11-10-2017 12:27 AM - edited ‎11-10-2017 02:11 AM

@JimBob We started with 1 6 11, but the APs on 6 were complaining about interference (something like 30%) even with no clients, so we moved to 1 5 8 11 (putting 5 and 8 each on a separate end of the hall, away from each other, and having 1 and 11 in the middle, so that 5 would mostly interfere with 1 and 8 with 11). This made the AP on channel 5 happy, but the AP on 8 was now giving us the 99% interference warning, so we moved that to 9, which shut it up. This was all before the event even started, so we didn't have any wireless keyboards, mice and headphones in yet. (The 2G AirView waterfall was already red before we brought any APs other than the SHD on-line.) We also turned down TX power on all 2G radios to encourage 5G use. We did measure 6Mbps around the hall throughout the party, which was more than our congested Internet link would give clients anyway, but of course far from ideal for a normal 2G network. (Might walk around with the SHD next year to figure out what in the location is generating all the 2G noise but then again, Wi-Fi is an extremely optional feature at this event and our setup time is limited. Could also possibly disable 2G completely, but we didn't want to lock out 2G-only clients.)

 

@zunder1990 This was in Hagen, Germany.

 

@DSnet I've had issues with 13 in the past (not just with US-imports of devices like tablets, even EU devices sometimes just won't connect to it). We were planning balanced band-steering to ensure we didn't run into any density issues, but as it is, we did not have any density problems with our 'Prefer 5G' setup at all, so we just left 2G enabled for compatibility reasons.

 

 

by
on ‎11-10-2017 06:22 AM

With a hall full of geeks with mostly brand new gear it would have been interesting to see the results if you put off 2.4 all together.  Too bad for the odd guy that can't connect, but it does make sense for such an dense event.

by
on ‎11-10-2017 06:32 AM

Waht the data backend for Grafana, what it zabbix?

by
on ‎11-10-2017 08:17 AM

@zunder1990 I don't know that unfortunately (wasn't involved in building it, except for setting a few SNMP communities in the UniFi environment). I believe it was Prometheus, but I may be wrong.

by
on ‎11-10-2017 01:45 PM

What did you use to generate these wifi strength map? Looks handy!

 

Also nice setup, looks good.