It's the Christmas holiday and I am back visiting my parents. Normally I don't have much maintenace to do because I would have installed software updates and made network changes remotely. But because my server had given up and for some reason my backup network port was closed (tuns out the router looses port forwarding settings when rebooted) I didn't have remote access for the last few months I just had to hope for the best. My server was replaced under warranty and I received a replacement just in time. I won't bore you with the maintenance bit except that I was very happy to see from the logs that the full system has been running just fine these last few months.
Upgrading to Unifi
Everybody always complains about WiFi coverage. It is always the same problem. People expect one WiFi router to cover the whole house and preferably the garden too. Off course that hardly ever works. Walls and the further you are from the source cause the signal to degrade. For some time I have wanted to install Ubuiqiti Unifi AC Long Range access points. I ordered a five pack because I will be using a couple for a different household (be aware that the 5-pack doesn't come with POE injectors).
I am not using the power of the Unifi system to its full potential. To do that you would connect all the wireless access points to a central switch. Because I have them in different buildings this would be too much trouble. Therefor one acts as a wireless repeater. This means you will only get half off the maximum device throughput. Since the theoratical max through put is 450Mbps and 867Mbps and the actual VDSL2 is 65Mbps you can see that it doesn't worry me that much. There are no devices that would be connected to the different access points which would benefit from the maximum throughput either.
Above you can see a heat map for the 5G signal. Even though it looks like you wouldn't get a signal in the two rooms at the top left and right of the map you actually have full bars on your devices. And you even get some decent signal some distance away from the house.
Above is a screenshot of a speedtest I ran while sitting in the top left room on the map. This measures the speed going through the whole system. So a total of 4km from Picton to the house and then through the AP to my phone. Not a bad result for the 65Mbps at the router in Picton,
Improvements for next time
There are a few things I would like to change. Currently I am repurposing my old ubuiqiti toughswitch so I have a managed POE switch at home. I would like to swap this out with a US-8-60W. This is a Unifi managed switch with a total of 8 ports and 4 off those ports are POE capable. Unfortunately they only just released this switch and it isn't available in New Zealand yet.
The other thing I might want to get is the Ubuiqiti cloud key. This is a small microcontroller running the unifi controller software. This eliminates the need for a dedicated server for the unifi system. But as long as a similar device isn't available for the aircontrol software (which is required to monitor the WISP) I will be running a server anyway.
Which leaves me to my final comment. If all these software packages would be wrapped in a docker container supported by ubuiqiti (so that updating is straight forward) I would be able to run this on a Synology NAS and again I won't require a dedicated server. Oh well, maybe one day.
George Timmermans, Research Toolmaker, Software Engineer and Tinkerer