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[How To] Set up wireless bridge (Ubiquiti bridge to Billion router)
2017-12-08, 13:33
Post: #11
RE: [How To] Set up wireless bridge (Ubiquiti bridge to Billion router)

Yes, the habit of clients (devices) hanging onto one WAP when there's a nearer one is often called the 'bug light' syndrome (as in bugs flying round a lamp). I remember seeing a prototype WAP back in 1997 (at an event down at the BT research labs) and talking with the team who had built it. I was very excited by the idea, but it was thought of as being a stand-alone unit to sit above a cluster of desks in an office (as opposed to lots of them forming a network where clients could seamlessly roam between them and maintain a connection; that was never 'designed into' the system and thus the decision to roam to another access point is entirely left up to the portable device (and some do it well, whilst others act like bugs round a lamp. The same applies to connection rates; these should drop as you walk further away, or increase as you get closer, but many devices don't do that correctly (older ones stayed at the initial rate, then as you walked away from the WAP, it eventually dropped out and reconnected at a slower rate).

Contrast that roaming process with the first digital mobile phone system (GSM) whereby the phone notes the 4 strongest sites (and their levels) then as one starts to get stronger than the rest, it 'proposes' to the network that it should change to that site, and the network 'arranges' everything prior to the changeover; it is extremely well orchestrated as seamless roaming between base sites (handovers) was designed in, right from the start.

Back to our home networks and though things are improving (in terms of 'roaming' it is very nice if you can serve the entire building from a single WAP, but that is not always possible. The trouble is that every building is different, so you could take two identically sized buildings and find that one can be served by a single WAP, whereas the other needs 3 or 4 WAPs. This is because the materials from which the buildings are constructed vary considerably (in terms of their transparency to 2400 MHz radio signals). My neighbour's single story house looks ideal for serving by a single, centrally sited WAP, but the internal dividing walls are likely built from bricks which have a high iron content, so with her wireless router at one end of the house, there was nothing at the other end (and it is not a huge property). I have a mixture of stone walls and engineering brick walls, but I can serve both floors from a single WAP.

One last point is that the only way I could do the above (a single UAP-AC-LR serving the entire house) was by spending a while to find the best location for it. To do that, I simply affixed the WAP to a long piece of wood (about 40 mm x 40 mm x 3 m) then propped it against the wall (in a potential location for the WAP) then wandered round the building to see what sort of signal levels I was getting in the various rooms. In my case, it was quite critical as moving it a short distance (other wall across a small hall) made the difference between being able to use one WAP or needing to use two WAPs.

On that subject, whenever I get asked to install WAPs (in a home environment; business and hotels have different requirements due to the higher density of users) I have to explain to the customer that surveying for best WAP position is a critically important (and quite time-consuming) part of the job. This can be quite tricky, as the customer typically assumes that because I am supposed to know about such things, I should be able to just walk in and pretty much immediately mark crosses on the walls (or ceilings) to define where the electricians need to run the cat5 cables to, then later come back, install the WAP (or WAPs) and magically make it all work. Okay, there is some truth in that I do now have a good feel for such things, but it still needs me to place a wireless device (and old WAP) on a long post and check whether the location is of any merit, as without doing that, you have no idea what the coverage will be like (due to the differences in building materials used) so that is the key thing to do first.

The good news is that where older enterprise WAPs were quite heavy (my old Cisco 1252 is probably about 2.5 Kg) and thus the result of one (attached to a long plank) falling would result in a hospital visit (and a lot of damage to the house) things like the Ubiquiti are very light, so attaching one to a plank and propping the plank against the wall is a far safer business than it used to be! In fact, I have even wedged them against a ceiling by using a piece of foam behind it (to protect the ceiling) and a cushion below it (to protect and 'grip' the face of the WAP) and that permits me to find out coverage from a centre of ceiling position (I've even strapped one to a light fitting, just to test coverage). It's still a little precarious, but at least the result of it all falling down is far less dangerous than it used to be (though obviously, I do keep other folks out of the room whilst it is all propped up there).

Bri Smile

KDS/1 (music) + ADSM (AV) -> KK/1 -> 350A + miniDSP time & phase aligned 345 rear sub
KDS Renew -> Homebrew fixed attenuator -> 2250/D -> 212 and Sizmik front sub (bedroom)
MDSI -> 104C (awaiting installation in my kitchen)
MDSI -> Shahinian Arc (installed at my mum's house)
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