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AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions

I'm looking to install a new network both at my business (a preschool) and at my home.   Looking into devices that work well and are affordable It came between these Ubiquiti products, Orbi, and Velop.   Before I make my final decision I had a few questions as I do not have an IT degree but can usually get these type of devices working well on my own.  

 

  1. Between the Lite/LR/Pro versions, is there a typical square footage each device covers in a typical building with wood/steel framing and gypsum board walls?  I don't know how many devices to install in my 8,000 sf single story square shaped school and typical 3,000 sf 3-story home.
  2. If I chose to install the Unifi controller on one of my home computers, do I need to leave this computer on 24-7 for the network to stay active?  Outside of cloud or remote access should I need a cloud key?
  3. Do I have to connect each device directly to my computer for setup or can I setup a device from my computer with a hardwire connection if the devices is connected in another room?  
  4. Do I have to setup each device or does the first device setup automatically recognize the additional devices?
  5. For typical home use (xbox, ipad games/apps, laptop computer games/streaming/browsing)  Will I notice the speed difference between the Lite/LR/Pro versions?
  6. The school may have 35-50 devices connected at one time on a typical day that are a mix of computers, ipads, and phones.  If I install 4-6 Unifi devices will I have any bandwidth issues?  Will one model (Lite/LR/Pro) handle this traffic much better than the rest?
  7. For security, I may have trouble setting up the security gateway.  Is it tough to setup and manage for someone without an IT degree?  Would a Cujo be a better solution for the home, business, or both for a more novice user?  Is the Cujo more safe with its additional features and controls for both the school and home?

Thank you to anyone who was able read all of these items and is able to provide any of the much-needed advice!

 


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SuperUser
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Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions


NoDoze24 wrote:

 

Would I be able to cover both the interior of the school AND 2.4Ghz access at the playgrounds with 4-5 Pros or LRs?  Or do I need to add wall mounted nanobeam or litebeams?  


I'd start with the internal only APs and see if they cover.  If not, then you can always add on.  


And I'd use the AC-Mesh for outdoor, not the nano or litebeams.  The AC-Mesh work just fine as normal APs - they don't have to be in a mesh (they are confusingly named IMHO).  The non pro AC-Mesh can take different antennas - there's a really nice directional antenna that's currently in the beta store that would be perfect to use with a wall mounted AC-Mesh pointed towards the playground. 

 

The AC-LR is a pretty capable AP.  The extra CPU power of the Pro can be nice, but the AC-LR is optimized on reception for mobile devices - phones and iPads so I'd still lean towards them. Especially if you put three or four of them in your building.  If you adjust the radio power on them so there's some contrast between the APs depending on the location of your clients, and even use the load balancing in the Unifi controller your clients should be pretty eavenly distributed and fairly easy for even AC-LRs to handle that kind of load. 

 


I appreciate the help, I'm just struggling with the layout


 Meh - don't overthink it.  Especially with the kind of building you seem to have Wifi is pretty forgiving.  I'd pick up at least three AC-LR APs and temporarily mount them and then measure!  

 

If you have a false ceiling, just zip tie them to the t-rail.  If you have drywall, use a long 1x2 or 2x4 and gently  brace the AP against the ceiling from the floor to hold it temporarily in place.  

 

Then measure!  Run around with an iPhone and iPad and check the signal strength.  Great article here:  http://www.sniffwifi.com/2015/09/using-discovery-software-illustrated.html 

 

However, don't just get hung up on chasing the "ideal" numbers!  On your test iPhone and iPad do what your clients will do. Visit web sites, stream video, use whatever applications they will be using.  Do they work?  Is performance acceptable?  Thats what really matters.  I've seen people waste lots of time chasing numbers when the real world performance didn't change in a noticeable way unless you benchmarked with some tool.  Waste of time.  

 

If you can leave them temporarily up while the building is occupied and they are in use, even better.  If they work fine where you mounted them, then convert to permanent.  If not, move them around and re-test.  You may need a fourth - another reason to stick with the AC-LR vs. the AC-Pro.  


If you do go to four, be prepared to disable 2GHz on the fourth one - your building is small enough and three APs with 2GHz should be enough for 2GHz coverage - most clients should be on 5GHz anyway.  

 

Good luck.  Breath deep, jump in and have at it.  Right now I think fear of the unkown for you is your greatest challenge.  I've been there and done that - and the best antidote to that is to stop speculating/worrying and just start testing things out.  Luckily the price point of UBNT gear makes this a fairly low risk approach.

When you receive a solution to your question/issue, don't forget to mark your thread as solved and to give kudo's to the people who have helped you out!

Having wifi problems? Take a look here first: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/221029967-UniFi-Debugging-Intermittent-Connectivity-Issues-on-your-UAP

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Member
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Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions

I'll answer what I can... 2) the controller does not need to be running 24 7 unless you want to use a captive portal. A cloud key is a controller in a box, and you do not need it to have cloud access, you would use it to run the controller without a computer. If your computer is running the controller, it can be setup for cloud access.

3/4) The beauty of Unifi is that once you create your network settings, new unifi devices brought on to the network ( wired in to a switch or wireless by only being powered by Poe but no wired network connection) , the network settings will be setup on the new unifi devices when you adopt it in the controller.

5) With basic internet access, speed of the APs probably won't be noticable to the use, and is more user apparent based upon the number of uses on the same AP. I would suggest more of smaller AP spread over the area you wished covered vrs LR or HD in a central area. In the room you plan on 30-50 connections I would suggest the pro. I haven't worked with LR as I opened for a Lite and 2 pros in my apartment(slight over kill..)
Senior Member
Posts: 2,560
Registered: ‎10-13-2012
Kudos: 674
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Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions

1. WiFi coverage and speeds always depend on the building, the walls and where you place the APs. This must be assessed case-by-case.

For your home you could get away with a single AC-LR in the middle provided that there are not strong concerete floors in between, else consider 2 or 3 APs - get one AC-LR and test with it, then decide from there.

For the school you would need to provide a floorplan.

 

2. At home you do not need to have the controller up and running, in fact you do not need it at all if you are fine with basic settings and setup by iOS or Android app. For remote access, however, you do require a running controller - locally or "in the cloud" (leaving SSH to APs and direct work on Linux circumventing the UniFi system aside).

 

3/4: The UniFi system conveniently takes care of that.

 

5: You will not notice a speed difference if you a) do not have 3x3 MIMO devices and b) your Internet access speed does not exceed 400 Mbit/s and you do not c) want to operate the UniFi guest portal with vouchers.

 

6. Post a floorplan and explain how many devices per room you expect, and what they will be doing. In your case go for a number of AC-Lite APs depending on the room layout.

 

7. The USG is easy to operate, that is what it is made for. No clue what Cujo is or does.

SuperUser
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Registered: ‎01-10-2012
Kudos: 3768
Solutions: 348

Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions


NoDoze24 wrote:

 

  1. Between the Lite/LR/Pro versions, is there a typical square footage each device covers in a typical building with wood/steel framing and gypsum board walls?  

Others answered your other questins, but I just want to further point out that the area the APs can cover is irrelevant.  

 

To have a conversation, whether it's humans speaking audibly to each other or two devices "talking" to each other via radio waves both sides have to be able to hear each other in order for a conversation to happen.

 

If you and I are in a large field, far apart enough that you have to have a bullhorn so I can hear you, and I don't have a bull horn so you can't hear me then we aren't going to have much success communicating, no?

 

Think of the AP as the side with the bullhorn - it's not limited (within reason) by power and it has much better antennas than portable devices.  Portable devices have compromised antennas (looks are more important than having external antennas optimized for RF performance) and can't afford to transmit at high power or you kill battery life. 

 

If you can visualize the above, you will be WAY ahead at most people in trying to plan a decent wifi design.  I'd also take a look at this poster:  http://www.revolutionwifi.net/revolutionwifi/2016/6/grab-the-new-wi-fi-design-poster-today

 

Finally, what kind of clients you have and what they are going to be doing on Wifi will weigh heavily in which APs to pick.  If you have a guest network at your business, which you anticipate the vast majority of people will just be associated wtih it and get occasional emails and alerts that's one thing.  If you anticipate having classrooms of students on wireless devices streaming video that's an entirely different use case (and coverage becomes irrelevant as you will need many APs to shoulder the load).

 

For what you have identified, personally I would standardize on the AC-LR - its a very nice AP that has an antenna optimized to hear mobile devices (the source of the "LR" designation).  

 

That Revolution Wifi site has an excellent capacity planner. Indeed UBNT teamed up with Andrew to create it - more here.  There's also an excellent video at the bottom of that thread that would be well worth watching as well.

 

It might seem a little overwhelming at first to get a handle on some of these wifi basics, but the payoff will be well worth it.  It really removes the guesswork, will help you design a much better solution and ultimatey save you time and money.  Who doesn't like that?!?

When you receive a solution to your question/issue, don't forget to mark your thread as solved and to give kudo's to the people who have helped you out!

Having wifi problems? Take a look here first: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/221029967-UniFi-Debugging-Intermittent-Connectivity-Issues-on-your-UAP
New Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-12-2017

Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions

Thank you for the advice so far.  Please see below for the floor plan of the commercial building.  

 

Concerning the home installation, my other issue is these devices will be wall mounted to the existing ethernet ports, will this cause coverage issues as I do not have access to ceiling mount any of the devices in my home.  If this is an issue, are the Orbi or Velop a better solution?

 

Regarding the firewall, Cujo is shown in the link below.  It is much easier to setup than the USG, contains additional features, push notifications if an unknown device is attempting to access your network, and parental controls.   I like to stick with one brand of devices but it seems the Cujo would out perform the USG, allow for a simpler install,   and provide additional features that are easy to use and access.

Lastly, I've read that the guest network can greatly reduce speeds for all devices.  I plan to install a guest network both at my home and business but I plan to only allow temporary guests to access this network while visiting each site and don't plan for there ever to be more than 2-5 devices connected to the guest network at one time.  Does having the guest network active slow down the wireless speeds, or will it only slow down the network where there are many devices connected to the guest network.  If this slows the guest network, does one of the Lite/LR/Pro versions handle the guest network better?

 

 

image.png

 

Thanks again!!

 

 

SuperUser
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Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions

[ Edited ]

The in wall are designed for wall mounting.  The UFO shaped APs are designed to be mounted on the ceiling for best results, but can be wall mounted.  How bad it affects their performance depends - it's best to get a couple and do some testing.  If you are in modern construction with drywall, a couple of APs can cover a lot of area even with 5GHz.  Two APs on the same channel can be worse than weak coverage and when people go crazy and add four our more APs and leave 2GHz enabled and banging away on medium or high power and get poor performance or bad client roaming then wonder why with more APs things are performing worse... well, there you go.  

 

Wired Unifi APs, even not optimally mounted, and properly tuned will almost always perform better than Orbi, Velop or Amplifi (UBNT's version of Orbi and the like).  If you don't think you have the technical chops to tune the APs or aren't looking forward to it, then a more plug and play solution like Orbi or Amplifi may function better long term at your home.  

 

Unifi will work just fine with Cujo - nice looking solution, especially since it's subscription free.

 

There used to be some bugs with guest networks and the firmware but I'm pretty sure they are resolved by now.  I have guest networks at a couple of locations and get great throughput on the non-guest networks.  There is some default traffic shaping on the guest networks (and you can customize it further) - I've never had complaints from it.  The guest network works the same on all APs, especially with only a couple of users.  If you had heavy use of the guest network then the extra CPUs in the AC-Pro and AC-HD/AC-SHDs would come more into play - but we are talking clients in the hundreds.

 

So far, the AC-LR is perfect for you, at least as far as guests go.  

 

How many and what kind of clients on the non-guest networks?  How active are they going to be?  How many neighbors at your office?  

 

As for your office, unless you come back with some really high or heavy use client numbers I'd start by temporarily mounting three AC-LR in these spots where I placed blue dots.  Since none of the rooms are labeled, if there are any rooms where there are constant concentrations of wifi clients I'd prioritize putting APs in there while still maintaining some spacing from the other APs.  Unifi APs are omnidirectional so you don't want to put them in a corner like the one red dot I placed.  

large.png

 

 

 

Then walk your building.  Use clients that will be on your wifi and surf the net and use other applications that your wifi users will be using.  If you get decent performance everywhere, then you are good to go.  If not, try moving one or more AP around to see how the coverage shifts.  It may take more APs and you may be able to get away with two depending on your building construction, the amount of clients, etc.  It just depends which is why temporarily mounting and then seeing how things work is way better than any guesses we can give you in the forums here Man Happy

When you receive a solution to your question/issue, don't forget to mark your thread as solved and to give kudo's to the people who have helped you out!

Having wifi problems? Take a look here first: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/221029967-UniFi-Debugging-Intermittent-Connectivity-Issues-on-your-UAP
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Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions

[ Edited ]

So @EricE was referring to the UAP-AC-IW for your home.

 

Guest network: If you do not require "client isolation", then just use a SSID on its own VLAN and there will be no performance price to pay. Router and switch(es) must support VLANs for this as well, which is anyway recommended for commercial installations. Anway, the guest performance hit does not matter if your Internet speed is the bottleneck, which will be the case if it is below 200 Mbps download.

 

If the Cujo features have won your heart then go for it. Many nerds here, including me, prefer an EdgeRouter to the USG because of the additional features and also break out from the UniFi bubble.

 

As for AP placements here is my take: Use AC-Lite instead of AC-LR and invest the money saved into a 4th AP. Keep the AP near EF 1 as suggested by Eric, split up the AP in EF 3 in favour of one in EF 2 and one in EF 4, and move the corridor AP to the right into EF 5. Reasons: You want the APs where the people are, with at most one simple wall in between for what concerns the larger and/or relevant spaces. The 150 sf room at the bottom center, as well as the kitch, may require an AP as well if it is a relevant room.

New Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-12-2017

Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions

Thank you everyone in this thread for the assistance!  It proved very helpful for my home installation but now I'm onto the small school.  

 

The drawing helps BUT I forgot to mention there is a playground in the top center AND the left center of the drawing and teachers need decent, not great, wifi access outdoors.  I believe it would be too hard to get a CatV cable to the outside awning to put a AC Pro outside. 

 

Would I be able to cover both the interior of the school AND 2.4Ghz access at the playgrounds with 4-5 Pros or LRs?  Or do I need to add wall mounted nanobeam or litebeams?  

 

I appreciate the help, I'm just struggling with the layout to allow access to the front office, all classrooms, and Ipad App access from the playgrounds.   I believe I'll have 55 - 85 users a day on the network, spread throughout the schools and AP's, with the most common time of day having 40-55 devices, mostly Iphones and Ipads but a few computers, on the network.  Also, construction is typically framing and gypsum board walls, stone veneer on the exterior framed walls.

 

Any assistance is greatly appreciated!  I think the Pro's in the correct layout are the best due to the traffic but am not sure if I might be able to save money and use the LR's to cover more distance.

 

Thanks,

Cody

SuperUser
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Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions


NoDoze24 wrote:

 

Would I be able to cover both the interior of the school AND 2.4Ghz access at the playgrounds with 4-5 Pros or LRs?  Or do I need to add wall mounted nanobeam or litebeams?  


I'd start with the internal only APs and see if they cover.  If not, then you can always add on.  


And I'd use the AC-Mesh for outdoor, not the nano or litebeams.  The AC-Mesh work just fine as normal APs - they don't have to be in a mesh (they are confusingly named IMHO).  The non pro AC-Mesh can take different antennas - there's a really nice directional antenna that's currently in the beta store that would be perfect to use with a wall mounted AC-Mesh pointed towards the playground. 

 

The AC-LR is a pretty capable AP.  The extra CPU power of the Pro can be nice, but the AC-LR is optimized on reception for mobile devices - phones and iPads so I'd still lean towards them. Especially if you put three or four of them in your building.  If you adjust the radio power on them so there's some contrast between the APs depending on the location of your clients, and even use the load balancing in the Unifi controller your clients should be pretty eavenly distributed and fairly easy for even AC-LRs to handle that kind of load. 

 


I appreciate the help, I'm just struggling with the layout


 Meh - don't overthink it.  Especially with the kind of building you seem to have Wifi is pretty forgiving.  I'd pick up at least three AC-LR APs and temporarily mount them and then measure!  

 

If you have a false ceiling, just zip tie them to the t-rail.  If you have drywall, use a long 1x2 or 2x4 and gently  brace the AP against the ceiling from the floor to hold it temporarily in place.  

 

Then measure!  Run around with an iPhone and iPad and check the signal strength.  Great article here:  http://www.sniffwifi.com/2015/09/using-discovery-software-illustrated.html 

 

However, don't just get hung up on chasing the "ideal" numbers!  On your test iPhone and iPad do what your clients will do. Visit web sites, stream video, use whatever applications they will be using.  Do they work?  Is performance acceptable?  Thats what really matters.  I've seen people waste lots of time chasing numbers when the real world performance didn't change in a noticeable way unless you benchmarked with some tool.  Waste of time.  

 

If you can leave them temporarily up while the building is occupied and they are in use, even better.  If they work fine where you mounted them, then convert to permanent.  If not, move them around and re-test.  You may need a fourth - another reason to stick with the AC-LR vs. the AC-Pro.  


If you do go to four, be prepared to disable 2GHz on the fourth one - your building is small enough and three APs with 2GHz should be enough for 2GHz coverage - most clients should be on 5GHz anyway.  

 

Good luck.  Breath deep, jump in and have at it.  Right now I think fear of the unkown for you is your greatest challenge.  I've been there and done that - and the best antidote to that is to stop speculating/worrying and just start testing things out.  Luckily the price point of UBNT gear makes this a fairly low risk approach.

When you receive a solution to your question/issue, don't forget to mark your thread as solved and to give kudo's to the people who have helped you out!

Having wifi problems? Take a look here first: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/221029967-UniFi-Debugging-Intermittent-Connectivity-Issues-on-your-UAP
Senior Member
Posts: 2,560
Registered: ‎10-13-2012
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Solutions: 91

Re: AC-Pro/AC-LR New System Questions


ub40 wrote:

As for AP placements here is my take: Use AC-Lite instead of AC-LR and invest the money saved into a 4th AP. Keep the AP near EF 1 as suggested by Eric, split up the AP in EF 3 in favour of one in EF 2 and one in EF 4, and move the corridor AP to the right into EF 5. Reasons: You want the APs where the people are, with at most one simple wall in between for what concerns the larger and/or relevant spaces. The 150 sf room at the bottom center, as well as the kitch, may require an AP as well if it is a relevant room.


Get at least one AC-LR and test if it also works outside on the playground when placed inside like described by me above. If it does you ar done, if it doesn't then you will have to get one or two additional AC-M and mount them outside.

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