12 BaseStationXGs provide exceptional service at high density concert (ZZ Top)

by ‎07-13-2018 02:21 PM - edited ‎07-16-2018 01:21 PM

We recently deployed the new Basestation XGs at an outdoor concert that had over 10,000 attendees. At previous events, attendees had issues bringing tickets up on their phones via 4g data because of the sheer amount of connections that registered to nearby cell towers. This caused unnecessary delays for the thousands of people trying to check in through the security lines.  


Here is a birds eye view of the area to show the extreme density of users we will be serving.Stage.JPG


We are allowed to mount to the light poles on the outside, as well as the "front of house" structure in the middle of the seating. Fiber was buried between most of the poles. We had a few poles that needed 60ghz added so we used Siklu multihaul. We hope UBNT comes out with a 60ghz solution as we love the single pane of glass SDN capabilities of the Unifi controller.



As we looked at Wifi vendors, we decided whatever we deployed needed to meet several conditions.

1. IP67 outdoor rated enclosure + Aesthetically pleasing design

2. 802.11 AC Wave2 Mu-Mimo compatibility

3. High quality antennas with variable beamsteering capabilities.



Enter the BaseStationXG!IMG_20180627_143715.jpg


The XG easily checks off all of our requirements, and we were able to slash our quote significantly. At $1,499 MSRP we are WAY under our previous estimates from other vendors.


The XG touts 3: 4x4 MU-MIMO AC Wave 2 radios under the hood with 3 adjustable antennas that can be independently  switched from a 90degree pattern with 10dBi gain or 50 degree pattern with an incredible 15dBi gain on the fly.Antenna.JPG

 This flexibility was essential to us achieving success in a very complex RF design.


We mounted our AP's on the top of the poles. This helped us achieve as much downtilt as possible to limit the cell size of each AP. Combining downtilt with low power is key in a high density environment like this.IMG_20180629_215722.jpg


 We received many compliments for how cool they looked at night. The LEDs are fully adjustable, both intensity and color can be set to whatever value you want.



Here is a neat shot of the front of house equipment shelter. IMG_20180629_215036.jpg


IMG_20180629_215107.jpgCount the XGs!










Here is what our final design looked like from the Unifi Controller.Client count map.JPG

 A bit hard to tell from the picture, but the AP's near the seating all have between 108 to 153 clients attached. A nice balance.




client count.JPG


  If you click on the image you will see how well the unifi controller balanced the AP's. Using a combination of MinRSSI, Cell Size Tuning, and Minimum Data rates, we created a network that seamlessly handed off client devices from Basestation to Basestation. It takes several days to really nail everything down perfectly, but the end result is truely impressive. The larger concert that is coming this fall will be a true test of the XG. 160 concurrent clients is nothing for these guys.


Around 10k clients, 1,246 connected simultaneously passing 220mbps.  This concert was ZZtop performing so it drew more of an older crowd, I expect a much higher usage ratio at future events.





The XG BaseStations performed incredibly well for us, and we look forward to stress testing them more at the next event. I would highly recommend them for anyone looking to install WiFi for a high density event.


And of course, to handle that many clients you need to bring it all home to a very capable router! Like the BaseStation XG, the Unifi XG Gateway did not break a sweat.IMG_20180713_114926.jpg




{"location":{"title":"United States","placeId":"ChIJCzYy5IS16lQRQrfeQ5K5Oxw"},"addedProducts":[{"id":"unifi-security-gateway-xg","count":1}],"solved":"","numbers":"","description":"","mainImage":"165587i8E0CC57DAF1759F2"}

on ‎07-13-2018 03:00 PM

I applaud you on an excellent write up. That looks like an incredible location and a great venue to test the new XG's out! I can't wait to hear how it goes with the larger crowds you said should be coming. 

How were they connected? I thought they had only copper 10gb/1gb ports? Did you have fiber go to the poles and then fiber to ethernet adapter? 

What kind of data pipe feeds everything? I would think minumum 5Gbps from ISP. 

Looks like a lot of fun!

on ‎07-13-2018 04:36 PM



We connected and powered the XG's to Netonix switches with UBNT 1gig bidi SFP's. We have them all connected at 1gbps because thats all they need. The XG's have a second 10gig port if needed. I'm using 20mhz channel widths so I wont need anything over 1gbps.


We have a 1gbps fiber dedicated to this event. It is easily upgraded to 10gbps if needed. It looks like we will certainly need it for the larger event Man Happy 

on ‎07-13-2018 06:33 PM

Forgot to ping @UBNT-SNK to harass him about some 60ghz products Man Happy

on ‎07-13-2018 11:18 PM

Thanks for the answers to my questions. I honestly figured you would have much more bandwidth going than that but I tend to over subscribe just in case. It would be awesome to see the controller stats in action when you have a larger venue. 

on ‎07-13-2018 11:55 PM

@verisarioc for events with multiple 100's of visitors we seldom see accumulated bandwidth usage higher than 1Mbps per visitor.  And those are peaks, mostly it's even less.


Client connection counts at a single moment of time are usually between 1/10th and 1/3th of the visitor headcount .


Reasons behind that could be that

- Many users still use their cellular 4G connection

- Many users devices are in wifi eco mode

- Not everybody is (up)streaming and definitely not at the same time

- Potential bandwidth hogging downstream services (like Youtube or Netflix) are not commonly used by people going to such an event.

- Clients are mostly smartphones.  There are no Macbooks with synchronizing iCloud drive Dyson'ing all bandwidth like there's no tomorrow 


Even more, we had 500-people events in the past where we forgot to activate bandwidth throttling.

Some of these events we even didn't put the guest portal leaving the network wide open for anybody who wanted to connect.

We were lucky and there were no real complaints.


I feel there are more important issues to address for such events than just plain bandwidth.  The HD and XG range certainly contributes to a successful deployment.


With a project like this, just good equipment doesn't guarantee success.  This one looked like it was extremely well prepared.  Thanks for sharing!

on ‎07-14-2018 05:34 AM

Awesome deployment and write up  !!!



I have also clearly seen that cell phone broadband just quits with crowds.  They prioritize voice traffic and that quickly means no more data available.  We have venues with cell phone towers on site that stop passing data when they are at 1/8 capacity.  Any venue planning ticket sales or check-ins via web needs to be aware of this. 


We have also carefully looked at what each user ends up using at larger events.  Even tried unlimited data to see what would happen.  Agree with @EDPR that generally, people just don't use much.  Though we did catch a few people streaming videos (unrelated to the event).  Some in 4K.  



on ‎07-14-2018 06:02 AM

Some cell providers can install compact mobile basestations if they deem it's 'worth' it. 


They come in all kinds of flavors and sizes.  Under the right circumstances they can do a good job, but I doubt they're any interesting for members of this community commercial wise.

on ‎07-14-2018 07:51 AM


Some cell providers can install compact mobile basestations if they deem it's 'worth' it.


They come in all kinds of flavors and sizes. Under the right circumstances they can do a good job, but I doubt they're any interesting for members of this community commercial wise.


In the industry they are called COWs - Cell On Wheels  ;-)


Usually takes a lot of planning in advance due to licensing requirements...


Yes, very nice installation.   Always interesting to see user metrics to make future planning easier.


on ‎07-14-2018 11:34 PM

We call them COMBAT units (Compact Base Stations) - but I like the US naming better!


They come in all kinds of flavours from a simple trailer until medium trucks.   If we give them a day's notice and provide our own drop to the nearest NodeB it's mostly no problem to get them installed for an event.  Advanced planning doesn't seem to be necessary; perhaps because they are supplied and managed directly by the telco rather than 3rd parties? 


We don't use them too often as they kinda interfere with our own business of supplying temporary connections and access points.

on ‎07-16-2018 12:33 AM

Really nice install!


How have you planned regarding subnet sizes and VLAN's, what do you use as DHCP server etc?

on ‎07-16-2018 07:57 AM

As a patron of that venue during one of the concerts there with this setup (and a person who recognizes silly things like this), thanks! It worked great!


Cell signal normally is meh there anyways, so this was nice! Not to mention they did look pretty bad-ass.


Funny thing, though, is that I wasn't familiar with the new XG devices yet, so I didn't realize they were Unifi devices at first until my wife asked me which prompted me to look a little further.


Great write-up, too!



by Ubiquiti Employee
on ‎07-16-2018 11:30 AM

Awesome setup and fantastic story. Well done!

on ‎07-17-2018 11:49 AM

@Wifimax I notice you have both a USG Pro and a USG XG there, may I ask why you used both? 

on ‎07-18-2018 10:29 AM

How was the concert?  I love ZZ Top.

on ‎07-18-2018 10:35 AM



I was really new to the XG router lineup, so I had the pro racked right above it as a standby unit... Just in case Man Happy


Everything worked great though and the XG router was perfect.

on ‎07-19-2018 06:19 AM

That's great to see, I've been considering that unit as well but curious how it worked in the real world.  What do you run for security on the APs?  Are you doing open auth or some sort of WPA2 enterprise with a signup/accept page.  Historically I had an issue with android devices finding open wifi and all connecting at the same time then bogging it down, might not be as much of an issue with this unit and the min rssi.

on ‎07-21-2018 09:38 PM

Beautiful install!


I really want to get ahold of one of those xg and try them out.

‎07-24-2018 12:53 PM - edited ‎07-24-2018 12:55 PM

So, the XG Basestation is 5G only. How many clients are out there today that don't have 5G, only 2.4G built in? 

Is this a problem today? 


We currently thinking of creating a mobile event setup.

on ‎07-24-2018 01:07 PM


Correct there are 3 independent 5ghz radios. No 2.4ghz.


I can't think of any consumer devices that don't have 5ghz, we certainly did not get any complaints. I think some of these are still in the early access store, I highly recommend scooping them up.

on ‎07-24-2018 01:08 PM

In our most recent large venue ( https://community.ubnt.com/t5/UniFi-Stories/Very-large-outdoor-UniFi-installation-with-all-the-bells... ) we used 9 Base Stations plus a bunch of Mesh, Mesh Pro and some SHD UAPs to cover the 2.4GHX folks and fill in some areas.   Using bandsteering we saw most users working on 5GHz.


on ‎07-28-2018 08:40 PM

I know where this is exactly. Very interesting and cool to see this technology used at our events. I'll PM you soon.

on ‎09-02-2018 11:31 AM

Great write up. I think the BaseStationXG is going to be one of those really useful niche products for stuff like this. I agree that it would be fantastic to have a Ubiquiti 60GHz backhaul product for this type of scenario, because mesh sure as heck isn’t going to cut it, especially on WiFi bands, since you need all the channelization you can get. For a permanent venue install I would try to go under the seats if possible, but for a temporary setup or one where you have to come in from above, this is a great solution that really has no equivalent anywhere else in the market. Xirrus has the multi-AP arrays. Ruckus has adaptive antennas. Cisco has micro/macro, but this unit seems to combine the best of all these. 


Looking at the numbers posted, the load seems pretty consistent with and environment this size. I’d love it if you could get a distinction between active and associated clients (I suppose you could sort clients by 5-minute bandwidth usage and set a threshold.  In the grand scheme of things, we’re talking about 100-150 associated clients per AP, which is about 50 per radio, and each AP cranking about 20Mbps, which is not a heavy load by any stretch. I’m somewhat surprised the associated client to seat ratio was that low, however. When I plan for auditorium WiFi, I typically plan capacity for one associated device for every 3 seats, and internet backhaul of 125Kbps per associated client (you were around 175K, which may be a function of the type of content that was going over the network for this particular event). The real difficulty of this type of deployment is feeding and powering the APs. 


Im curious where this was, the map pin shows the middle of nowhere near Coffeyville, Kansas (I’m north a bit up in Clay Center), but I’m not aware of any large amphitheatres anywhere near there... was this a permanent install or just for the event? Would love to link up with you if you’re based here in the state. 




on ‎09-02-2018 12:17 PM

@EDPR bandwidth throttling in a large venue setup like this is not your friend. What ends up happening is that the throttling causes a bunch of TCP timeouts on the wired side, so ACKs don’t get back. your wireless clients end up chewing up a whole lot more airtime because there are extensive retries going on up at Layer 3, which won’t show up when doing a wireless traffic capture, since the 802.11 frames are being ACKed properly. Additionally, it can start beating up your switch stack links. It’s one of those utterly counterintuitive things about WiFi when you do it at scale. A good friend and colleague runs the WiFi at a large tent-like airport and has discovered all kinds of crazy things about doing it at scale (the kind of client and traffic numbers the Super Bowl puts up are what they call “a slow tuesday” around there), and they are able to turn this around and deliver a consistent 200Mbps to the clients. 


Also, don’t underestimate the value of having a really beefy DHCP server. It’s amazing how much trouble you can get into if your wired backend isn’t absolutely top shelf. The end goal is for your client devices to get onto the wireless medium, do their business, and get off, as quickly as possible. Airtime is finite. 


(And you can also cover a lot of RF sins with a big fat internet pipe on the backend) 

on ‎09-02-2018 09:14 PM

@IanB I haven't come across too many airports delivering more than 2Mbps per user, but once in a while you find one that sticks out.  Bangkok airports for example were a real eye opener with hitting towards 300Mbps without a problem.    Granted it was very early in the morning and not too many people in the waiting room.  Overkill for sure but nice nonetheless.


That tent-like you've mentioned is DIA?  Nice piece of architecture that is! 


IMG_6442.jpgBangkok airport

on ‎10-22-2018 02:07 PM

Yes I also want to know how you planned subnet sizes and VLAN:s. What DHCP server?

on ‎11-10-2018 12:38 PM



Hi mate great write up. Can I ask if you used a layer 2, or layer 3 network design? Route to the edge? And how you went about allocation of dhcp, and subnet sizing? Cheers 


Very nice setup! What cloudkey did you use with this many people?