Ubiquiti Wireless Access Points – What are they & are they worth it?

Ubiquiti Networks

Will they work for you or your business?

We’ve said it time and time again, everyone’s circumstances and requirements are different, therefore no single solution will satisfy all. That being said, over the last year we have deployed a number of Ubiquiti wireless access points (UAP) across customer sites with positive results.

Not all customers have the luxury of raised ceilings or working through a home renovation which suits these types of deployments well, however that doesn’t always mean it can’t be done; Virani Tech have been able to install these devices in some of the most obscure places.

What are they?

The OEM manufacturer, has an increasing number of solutions for commercial and consumer use; to date, we have had the pleasure of working with the Unifi UAP Pro, Long Range (LR) and Lite versions. With deployments in some of our small business sites and for those of you who are moving into the smarthome space, deployment into a number of homes.

Ubiquiti’s UniFi system is a great solution offering superb availability to suit most deployment sizes across a vast span of open space but also between floors. With the simple deployment of the controller, either local or cloud, it provides a central management controller for all your WiFi needs.

For the majority of ViraniTech deployments we offer a cloud managed service to minimize the involvement and configuration requirements for our customers, whilst also being able to provide read-only controller access to end-users, which is easily accessible through any standard web browser. We have discovered in testing, Google’s Chrome to be the better tool, especially on OSX devices; Safari’s constant need to auto input username and passwords into tagged fields can become problematic when managing a large number of devices and sites.

Whats wrong with using WiFi extenders?

In short; nothing. WiFi Extenders and those providing data over power do provide a quick fix for the majority of people, however we have come across complaint whereby, users are presented with between 2 and 4 SSIDs in their home, directly impacting their devices ability to seamlessly roam across the home. Unbeknown to many, systems such as this, do have an impact on over all network performance. WiFi extenders use available wireless bandwidth to send and receive traffic to your master router or wireless source, then a significant other proportion for device connectivity via the Extender. In the worst case, this can result in up to 50% loss in performance; a situation where wireless Mesh technology such as this come into their own.

Are they any good?

Extensive testing has highlighted Unifi not only centralizes management, but provides the ever so important real-time status of all devices, allowing for centralized configuration deployment, seamless to the end user. It promotes simplicity, allowing administrators to deploy all upgrades, ensuring improved security of the access point with a click of a single button; something that is becoming increasingly important in this age where technology use and hardware attacks are on the rise.

Over the last 12 months we have concluded these devices to be extremely stable with very minimal post configuration required following their initial deployment. Devices are seen to migrate from one access point to the other and between wireless frequencies with no impact or notification to users.

Where devices were connected via 5GHz AC, our 2012 MacBook Pro was able to connect and transfer files at speeds of circa 867mbps. Whilst this was a crude test, is testament to the advances in wireless technology space. I’m pretty sure with a new AC card, these devices will pair at must higher speeds. It begs the question; will we need wired connections in 5 years; a conversation for another day.

How do each of the UAPs compare?

Lite LR (Gen 2) PRO
Dimensions 160 x 31.45 mm 175.7 x 43.2 mm 196.7 x 35 mm
Environment Indoor Indoor Indoor/Outdoor
2.4 GHz Speed 300 Mbps 450 Mbps 450 Mbps
5 GHz Speed 867 Mbps 867 Mbps 1300 Mbps
PoE Mode 24V Passive PoE 802.3af PoE/802.3at PoE+ 802.3af PoE/802.3at PoE+
Ports (1) 10/100/1000 Ethernet (1) 10/100/1000 Ethernet (2) 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Cost per Device (Rrp) £81 * £118 * £148 *

* Cloud and Localised controllers are available at additional cost. Costs provided do not cover installation and/or configuration.

Where can I get them?

Should you be interested in Ubiquiti’s wireless access points, they can be obtained from major technology retailers. However if you would life a little more advice or a completely managed service, please contact one of our team.