Help needed - someone with ubiquiti skills

Adam M

Active Member
Hi all,

I’m wondering if anyone knows of a company who can come and visit my house to optimize my wifi across my house.

I have around ten access points across the property and an entire ubiquiti set up.

there are a lot of variables that require someone with knowledge to get the best out of the set up.

the trouble is, all the typical adverts I see are aimed at selling hardware - I don’t want to buy things I don’t need, I want someone with seriously high knowledge and tech skills, and signal meters to walk round and tinker with whatever they can to make it better and more consistent.

my issues relate to hanging on to the wrong access point in places and what I imagine to be too low network speeds.

4 people use the house but there are 100 wifi clients.

maximum internet speeds are 150mbps, all access points should support at least double that but officially a lot more.

net connection is 900mb fttp but my hardwired pc often gets a fraction of that.

can anyone recommend someone who knows what they are doing?
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
10 access points is A LOT for any domestic premises. Is there a reason why you have so many? How big is the property? I have installed a lot of BIG domestic properties and have never come close to installing 10. Anyway I do know a company that maybe able to support you, but this kind of work doesn't come cheap, you would be looking at least £450 a day and that would be a at least 2 days work. Just a heads up.

I ask about numbers of APs as often with wifi, less is more and more is too many. If you want to ping me an IM happy to discuss your system with you, as there is probably much you can do yourself without getting a consultant in.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
if your hardwired PC isn't getting full speed then I suggest getting that resolved first. Its either your internet connect or your router.

And I presume most of your clients are very low requirement IoT type devices ?
 

Adam M

Active Member
You presume correctly. Very low bandwidth demand if any.

pc gets 750ish out of 900 - it’s not terrible!

router is a UDM.
 

Adam M

Active Member
6 Internal access points are AC pros, I would expect more than 150mbps from them but I suppose they could be balanced to share the available bandwidth.

or perhaps my iPhone 12 Pro isn’t capable of taking more than 150?
 

Adam M

Active Member
It is a big house but the issue is all the walls are either single or double skin concrete block including internal, the floors are also concrete hollow core - meaning wifi signal in one room doesn’t bleed into any other.
 

inkinoo

Distinguished Member
I doubt there are many who do that type thing in a home environment. I know we use a company at work to do site surveys and make recommendations that our internal teams implement. Probably a niche that someone should service as demand is going to go up.
 

Adam M

Active Member
Managed to get 250mbps in daughters room today, which I think is the most I've seen, but still on -48db signal strength.

This is despite being 1m from the access point (inside the 1st floor ceiling which is not hollow-core, between the joists above the plasterboard).
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I think that you actually need to start by turning OFF some of your APs. My guess is you are getting a lot of interference especially on 2.4G. It may sound crazy but unless you have a lot of steel in youe walls, concrete wont attenuate as much as you think unless you have 1m thick walls
 

Adam M

Active Member
Hollow core floor is steel reinforced.

the internal walls are 9” thick, according to specs I’ve read the walls I have can cost 40db of signal strength.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
@mushii is your expert on this forum and he can certainly help in that respect.

A couple of things you could try yourself is to understand if there is an underlying issue or not.

So for example on 5GHz network what bandwidth are you setting as anything below 80MHz won't get much more than 100-150Mbps depending. However, increasing the channel bandwidth means the potential of more intereference from each AP.

Your PC also should max your connection out assuming it can keep up with that speed. Some can't believe it or not, particularly old models. This is due to the way that some speedtests work so try a few like fast.com and dslreports.com to get a variation on a theme.

Have you considered unplugging all but one AP to see if the issue is still there, that would eliminate interference from other ones, particularly as change the channel bandwidth.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I’ve read the walls I have can cost 40db of signal strength.
Theory is fine but you need to actually measure what you are seeing. You only effectively have 3 channels with 2.4g to play with 1, 6, 11 with 10 APs that means that you are most likely going to have overlap and that means interference. As I have said, start with a map of where all your APs are. Then turn off all of your peripheral APs and start with some core ones. Start by seeing how far those signals extend both horizontally and vertically. Once you know your extents then you can look at radio power. After that you can start adding turned off APs, one at a time and see how they behave. Honestly with 10 APs this will be a lot of measurement, trial and error. But you need drawings to start with.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
How are the "backhaul" links between the AP's and the rest of the (wired) network established?
How are you measuring the "speed?"
Do the AP's all advertise the same SSID name or are they different?

FYI - in Wi-Fi, it is the client devices, not "the system," that decide if/when to roam between AP's. Some clients need signalling conditions to get pretty grotty before they initiate a roaming assessment - "In the business" we call it the "sticky client" problem. iSomethings used to be notorious for it.)
 
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Adam M

Active Member
Thanks guys - very helpful.

FYI, there are only 6 access points inside the house.

3 in the ground floor ceilings, 3 in the first floor ceilings.

The other four access points cover are easier to separate - one in the front garden, one in the back garden, one in the metal framed garage and one in a out building at the bottom of the garden.

I'm not best pleased with the outdoor ones, as I expected more from the hype these received, but they do the job for music selection through sonos which is all they are used for.

The internal signal falls off a cliff as you walk outside into the backgarden as the sliding door frames are metal and it seems to have a faraday cage effect.

In essence, at this stage, it's inside the house that matters to me.

For speedtesting I am using the ubiquiti wifiman app. For speed testing on the hard wired pcs I am using ookla speedtest.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
None of the building you describe is unique and as mushii says I am inclined to think more about channel interference. I assume you have tested each AP one individually with the other turned off ? And assume you are using ethernet for backhaul ?

If you have then the next step is to map out the house into zones and go round and turn down the AP signal strength so that it just covers that zone.

As already mentioned, stick to channels 1,6 and 11.
 

Adam M

Active Member
I actually havent tested each one individually, but that's clearly the way to go.

The channels you mention are related to the 2.4GHz band, surely with enough access points, would I not be better turning off the 2.4 (where possible) and relying on 5, which is known to struggle to get through walls and hence would be more insular and less susceptible to interference since the nearest neighbouring access point would be behind concrete?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Indeed - if you can run 5GHz only, then you can simply avoid the scarcity of channels in the 2.4GHz waveband. It's usually little more than couple of clicks to turn off 2.4GHz.

Co-channel interference is still a "thing" in the 5GHz waveband, but with more channels available, (and greater attenuation of signals,) it's less of a challenge to devise a channel plan that avoids it.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I have metal door frames and cobalt coated glass (both layers) and it doesnt attenuate the signal that badly. On the other hand going through a metal radiator really does hammer the signal. Again not sure why you are not happy with the outdoor APs I have installed loads this summer and can easily get 100 - 200m range losing only a few dB of signal. I can pick my single back garden AP up 150m along the road. Its more than good enough for me to stream 4k movies in the back garden 20m away.

Personally would not recommend turning off 2.4G as most IOT devices, mobile phones, tablets, smart doorbells, smart speakers, Sky Q etc will connect to 2.4G as their primary (and sometimes only) connection. If you dont have IOT devices / SkyQ / Smart Speakers / Smart Doorbells etc by all means try it.

You need to assess your APs systematically and one at a time. APs will happily travel through 2 wood / plasterboard floor/ceilings with a small amount of attenuation. I can quite easily pick up my AP on the second floor, on the ground floor
 

Adam M

Active Member
IOT was my concern as I have several devices that are probably on 2.4 - ovens, washing machine, tumble dryer.

DOn't have sky Q and if I did it would be hard wired. Have sonos hard wired in a rack room and speaker wired to each ceiling.

I think I could mostly get away with turning off 2.4, but I am reluctant.

The outdoor APs are different issue, I think there's a set up error with those.

I have direct line of sight to the back garden one - no more than 25m away and I get 30mbps according to wifiman. These are both UAP-AC-M-PROs. The front garden one is similarly poor.

I had to install them as outside the house, none of the wifi leaks through. Walls are in some places a metre thick dense concrete block (not breeze block). The average wall thickness is 70cm. Trouble being the 25cm cavity includes 150mm of metal coated celotex which no signal seems to get past.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Yeah, you will find that most IoT still uses 2.4GHz. doesn't need the bandwidth, range and power are more important.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Just as a matter of point, even if you hard-wire Sky Q it still uses your wifi's 2.4G to talk to one another it only uses the wired network to pass AV data. You cant turn off 2.4G if you have SkyQ!!

As for your AC-M-Pros OMG!! those things are designed for outdoor venue level Wifi, not really for domestic. use. You should be flooding your neighbourhood with full-rate wifi using them. You seriously have a problem somewhere.

Lets start at the beginning. What are these devices cabled back to (switch) and are they all on DHCP or static / reserved IPs? What is being used to manage them all ?
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Just as a matter of point, even if you hard-wire Sky Q it still uses your wifi's 2.4G to talk to one another it only uses the wired network to pass AV data. You cant turn off 2.4G if you have SkyQ!!

Are you certain? That doesn't make sense, if you set it hardwired and don't ever give it your WiFi password how would it use your WiFi network?

It can use its own mesh network even hardwired but you can disable that by going into the hidden setup menu. Are you not referring to the mesh network which behaves as you describe. Otherwise it's just IP traffic routing over your network.

IOT was my concern as I have several devices that are probably on 2.4 - ovens, washing machine, tumble dryer.

The beauty of Unifi is that you could just broadcast 2.4GHz on the APs you need it to be e.g. the ones closest to the IoT devices. I connect my IoT devices to one of two networks a slightly more trusted one and one that I don't trust at all. The latter is more akin a guest network.


Separately have you checked the channel bandwidth setting yet?
 

Adam M

Active Member
Must agree with ChuckMountain re sky Q. I have had to fix so many friends' sky Q set ups and 99% of the time the issue has been poor wifi. Hard wiring them always fixes the issue, but I do believe the master box needs an initial wifi connection which you then disable. It remembers your former SSID and often increments its name by a number or character when it creates its own sky Q mesh. Even after you disable it you can see the name in the software that resembles your own network.

Back to my situation though I do not have sky Q so we can ignore that.

Every network component within my set up is Ubiquiti.

All internal access points are directly plugged in to my main 48 port PoE switch. The external ones are plugged into daisy chained 8 port switches also ultimately into that same 48 port.

The 48 port is connected directly to a UDM by an SFP+ connection.

All internal wiring is cat 6.
 

Adam M

Active Member
The danger of asking me about settings is that I rapidly get out of my depth.

I don't believe the settings have been tinkered with from factory.

It's partially why I was hoping to find someone who knows how to set these things up and can have a look around the system.

The trouble I have is that every local company I've spoken to is not inspiring confidence. They all suggest a mesh set up which I fail to understand since that requires use of bandwidth for radio communication between nodes. I have a hard wired radial set up so I'm not sure how a mesh would be superior.

I don't know enough to challenge these people on their logic but think I do know enough to know they aren't filling me with confidence about their technical understanding.
 

Adam M

Active Member
on a side note I just logged in to the outdoor wifi and saw that 2.4 band was on channel 11, but then underneath it said 11 was disabled.

likewise 5GHz was on 36 but channel 36 was disabled.

I changed 2.4 to channel 6 and 5 to channel 40 to see if it makes a difference (I'm not currently at home). After the change there was no listening of any disabled channels then it reverted back to the same disabled channels being selected.

I have since requested a scan under the RF environment setting and now no channels are listed as disabled.
 
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