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sporkme
drop the crantini and move it, sister
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-01
Morristown, NJ

[Equipment] Ubiquiti resources?

Hello all,

Quick intro since I haven't been on DSLR for ages. This forum has been favorited since it was created since I've worked with non-wireless ISPs for over a decade. In that time, I've not had an opportunity to do much with wireless except for a few PTP links. Much of this has to do with the places I work for being in NYC, which I'd thought was pretty much an RF sewer.

Fast forward to now and I'm working at a place that has started dipping their toes in the water as part of a "we're not going to lose any business we shouldn't lose" effort. In fact, just a few weeks after I'd met with the new owner, his buddy had setup 2 APs and 4 clients. We're doing lots of metro-e and trying out some Ubiquiti gear to hop over to buildings that aren't lit. So far we're using the M5 series (Rocket, Nanostation, Nanostation Loco). I'm becoming familiar with the limitations of the gear compared to say, Mikrotik (less features, but fairly simple setup). We don't need anything fancy, so UBNT looks like a good fit. 5GHz is still suprisingly clean.

So yes, questions...

Outside of the UBNT forums and docuwiki, where do you folks go for information about the gear and their tweaked linux OS? Even general wireless info would be helpful. I'm a bit rusty and 802.11n + ubnt special sauce is leaving me slightly confused at times. I really need to get handle on determining good vs. marginal signals, adjusting power levels (not a firm believer that MOAR POWER will fix bad antennal placement), and all the other nuances involved in PtMP setups like what channel width is best for lower speed links in a noisy environment, which per-client settings must be matched across all CPE and which can't... Oh boy, the list is getting long...

And what about shooting through windows? Everything is currently going through windows due to the rather "instantaneous" nature of the installs and the general... well, douchery of NYC property managers.

I just did a sort of configuration normalization across all the gear - setup snmp, verify saved passwords work, get an ssh key on them all for nagios to probe stuff that's not available via snmp, fire up graphing of pretty much any data I can pull, setup ntp, central logging, etc. etc. What I'm seeing is that our links are stable and fast enough to support the speeds we're selling, but I'd really like to see the numbers a bit higher. I've been looking at mounts, but not finding any simple way to stick a nanostation out on a window ledge (which is about as far as I'd want to push the issue). Any clever mounting ideas are welcome.

Wow, this is a giant post. Hopefully some of the friendly folks that were around last time I was here still visit.
--
with every mistake we must surely be learning


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
Welcome back..!

Most of the 'old timers' are gone, although a few of us are still here.

As to the UBNT gear, lots of discussion here about the equipment and such.

Just post what you need to know...!
--
»www.archive.org/details/Meatpies_1984


Hahausuck
Premium
join:2003-12-14
kudos:2
reply to sporkme
Good to see you back, sorry I don't have answers to your questions but I wanted to say welcome back.

There are a few of us old timers still on the board but not many. Most of us lurk now a days anyways.
--
"Saying something in another language that you don't think the other person understands is just saying that you're a pussy and are too afraid to say it in English." --Harddrive


Inssomniak
The Glitch
Premium
join:2005-04-06
Cayuga, ON
kudos:2
reply to sporkme
The built in spectrum analyser works well. Use it to find a good channel/width. We had one that gave us all kinds of noise problems, but using it we found that a 10mhz channel on 8 was our best bet and its worked perfect ever since.

Channel width is based on number of customers/rf environemnt/service plans/number of chans etc, often 5mhz with be fine for 20 users with a 512k plan.

If you are selling 6 meg plans, the Id be using 20mhz and make sure both chains are operational at the CPE end. haha
--
OptionsDSL Wireless Internet
»www.optionsdsl.ca

gunther_01
Premium
join:2004-03-29
Saybrook, IL
reply to sporkme
While not always perfect, keep signal to noise ratio's above 20 as far as signals go. And keep in mind the "noise" figure is an average in the GUI. It's not really -90 or less LOL. A quick Airview will show you some real numbers. In the "city" try to use higher gain antennas. I would def shy away from loco's. Nano's or preferably Bridges will work the best as your noise floors raise from newer Dual band WiFi routers (this goes for everyone though, and every location )
--
»www.wirelessdatanet.net


WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5
said by gunther_01:

I would def shy away from loco's. Nano's or preferably Bridges will work the best as your noise floors raise from newer Dual band WiFi routers

We've been playing with shields for the Locos when used for clients less than a mile away. Looks promising with a -70 dBm off-axis ambient noise floor.

jim_p_price7

join:2005-10-28
Henryetta, OK
said by WHT:

said by gunther_01:

I would def shy away from loco's. Nano's or preferably Bridges will work the best as your noise floors raise from newer Dual band WiFi routers

We've been playing with shields for the Locos when used for clients less than a mile away. Looks promising with a -70 dBm off-axis ambient noise floor.

Have you been making your own? Can you post a pic or two, I'd like to see what you've been working with.


WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Most are all temporary fixtures made with 1/4" foam board, aluminum foil, and hot glue.

The length and angle at "a'" is such that radiation in zone "A" would not be seen by antenna edge at "a".

jim_p_price7

join:2005-10-28
Henryetta, OK
Nice! Thanks! (Sorry for the hijack)


WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5
And I use the second use for Velcro (tm) to stick the shields on the back of the radio.


WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5
reply to sporkme


sporkme
drop the crantini and move it, sister
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-01
Morristown, NJ
reply to sporkme
Click for full size
5.8
Click for full size
5.1
Oh my. So in my usual field (unix sysadmin work), there are two general types of admins. "It works, don't touch it" guys and "It works, but it shouldn't, I need to figure this out". Both get into trouble. I learned all sorts of things the past week with the latter approach. The person that set this up took the former.

So things are generally OK, but it is way noisier than I thought. See attached airview capture from the 5.8 band. Most of that is "Boingo" on every damn channel, which sort of ticks me off.

We have two types of links to this building across the street - one should run at at least 25Mb/s as it feeds a switch for customers that we can run ethernet to. The rest are individual offices looking for from 5Mb/s to 10Mb/s. I can see a few of them eventually looking for more. We have 1Gb/s available on the AP side (cheap metro-e rocks).

So my narrowed down list of questions would be this:

-In a noisy environment, which wins, wider or narrower channels?
-I can't find a good description of how various clients at different link speeds impact each other. Do the slower clients just get less timeslots (we do have ubnt's flavor of tdma enabled)? Or better put, is it better to aim for the same link speed or just let the radios automatically do what they will?
-How much loss is incurred when shooting through a pane of glass (assuming no metallic film, etc.)?
-I can't find info on what the beam pattern looks like for any of this gear, but I generally suck at finding things on ubnt.com. Pointers?

The attached airview shots were done late at night. I assume they are worse during the day.
--
with every mistake we must surely be learning

raytaylor

join:2009-07-28
kudos:1
said by sporkme:

So my narrowed down list of questions would be this:

-In a noisy environment, which wins, wider or narrower channels?

Its really a case by case basis. Sometimes you can get a strong, thin band of noise in the middle of your channel, which will mean a 20mhz width will be better over a 10mhz channel. On other occasions it can be a low background noise spread over the band and so a 10mhz channel with a higher recieve signal will be better than a 20mhz channel.
When going from a 20mhz channel to a 10mhz, your recieve signal level doubles (+3dbm) which can be enough to overpower the noise.

said by sporkme:

-I can't find a good description of how various clients at different link speeds impact each other. Do the slower clients just get less timeslots (we do have ubnt's flavor of tdma enabled)? Or better put, is it better to aim for the same link speed or just let the radios automatically do what they will?

Try to get the same signal level and same speeds. If you have 10 clients at -60, and one further out at -80, the low signal client is going to slow down the other high signal ones.

said by sporkme:

-How much loss is incurred when shooting through a pane of glass (assuming no metallic film, etc.)?

I imagine there is specific radio-glass out there that specifies a db loss per mm of glass - but for standard home glass i am not sure. WHT might be able to answer that one.

-
said by sporkme:

I can't find info on what the beam pattern looks like for any of this gear, but I generally suck at finding things on ubnt.com. Pointers?

They are in the data sheets. You go to the product page, and on the left you will find the links to the data sheets for that product's range. Usually you will see the beam patterns in there.

-
said by sporkme:

The attached airview shots were done late at night. I assume they are worse during the day.

Usually much worse. I have a link 32km long with a couple of airgrids. Goes 20mbit at night, 9mbit during the day with people on their cordless phones etc.


sporkme
drop the crantini and move it, sister
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-01
Morristown, NJ
Thanks for the info. I didn't get email notification on that post, just saw it today, my apologies for the late reply.

This gives me some parameters to play around with. For now, I'm looking at relocating the stuff outside, even if that only gives us 3dB on each side, that's probably worth it.

I'm also looking at the 3.6GHz gear, might order a nanostation loco just to use as a spectrum analyzer before we do the paperwork. Although we do have legacy users within 150km, so we may not even be eligible for that.

I still haven't seen these installs in person, and no one is sure which antenna is on the AP - it could be totally wrong for close-in clients like this.
--
with every mistake we must surely be learning

gunther_01
Premium
join:2004-03-29
Saybrook, IL
reply to sporkme
I see you have two scans there. I hope your not planning on using UBNT products in the US in the lower bands.. They aren't (as of yet) legal to use in the lower bands.

Also, if your shooting through glass, you could be getting refractions from the glass, messing up your readings. No radio, likes to have something right in front of it, regardless of material. It plays with the SWR's
--
»www.wirelessdatanet.net


sporkme
drop the crantini and move it, sister
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-01
Morristown, NJ
said by gunther_01:

I see you have two scans there. I hope your not planning on using UBNT products in the US in the lower bands.. They aren't (as of yet) legal to use in the lower bands.

Also, if your shooting through glass, you could be getting refractions from the glass, messing up your readings. No radio, likes to have something right in front of it, regardless of material. It plays with the SWR's

I included the "empty" 5.1 for comparison.

I'm having a hard time quantifying what the loss through glass is, no one seems to agree. Again though, any ideas for mounting outside are more than welcome. All our customers are tenants, so we can't be drilling into the window frame or sill. I keep thinking that crazy as it sounds, there must be some kind of outdoor suction mount. I'd feel half-way OK with that if there was a safety tether. I found one suction mount, but it appears to be designed for indoor use.

We're also looking at the 3.6GHz gear. Pricing is about the same, licensing fees look reasonable, but we are in one of the exclusion zones that require permission (two legacy users in Long Island, and maybe two more in NJ). Haven't found a good guide on how to approach those folks and have no idea what our chances of getting approval from 2-4 different entities would be...
--
with every mistake we must surely be learning

Chele

join:2003-07-23
kudos:1
You are looking for ideas, not necessarily good ones

Mount the radio to a steel plate and use a magnet inside the dwelling. This should work for single pane windows. You would need a to install a block inside the sliding window to keep it someone from hitting the magnet and knocking the radio off the window. Then you could use flat Cat5 to power the radio. It's the kind they use to run CAT5 under carpets. I have never seen it used outdoors, but many people use indoor CAT5 outside anyways.

wolfcreek

join:2003-12-02
Pagosa Springs, CO
Ubiquiti has a suction cup mount for the nanostations »streakwave.com/Itemdesc.asp?ic=NS-WM It works quite well inside or out. I have mounted a radio inside a window that had the thermal blocking metalized film inside and it dropped the rssi about 25db. Have not compared with plain double pane glass but I would guess at least 10 db loss


superdog
I Need A Drink
Premium,MVM
join:2001-07-13
Lebanon, PA

1 recommendation

reply to sporkme
Hey!, How are you? I also kind of faded away. I still run my WISP but really haven't done anything with it in quite awhile. I must say I do miss some of the more "lively" discussions that we used to have on here.

I do lurk in the background though and still read a little here and there. It is good to see you are still kicking!
--
»www.wavecrazy.net


sporkme
drop the crantini and move it, sister
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-01
Morristown, NJ
Click for full size
Hey Tim, good to see you here! I hope by "not doing much" you mean "stuff is installed and just bringing in money while I drink".

Chele - I'm still mulling the magnet thing over, there's potential there. Most of these places have single pane glass.

wolfcreek - ordered that soon after you posted it.

I'm ramping up on this stuff pretty quickly.

Pics attached - one of the suction mount, another of a graph for that customer.

Here's a few things I've learned in the last few weeks:

-while I don't know what the exact numbers are, shooting through windows can take us from "good" to "marginal".
-my environment is noisy, but I see the nano m5s have something like a 45 degree angle of coverage, and that's way too wide for us.
-the suction cups do work.
-a spare nanobridge m5 will work in a pinch, and in doing so also demonstrate how much better rx + tx strength improves with a more directional antenna (-76 vs. -40, and that's with the power cranked down almost all the way on the cpe).
-an edict that "we can't mount outdoors" really sort of makes using this newfound knowledge hard.
-NYC property managers are petty little tyrants.

So my new quest is this - what's a very small "patch" or panel antenna that could be unobtrusively mounted outside, preferably with some kind of suction cup mount that allows or aiming. If I can get a beamwidth of say, less than 20 degrees in a panel that's under 6" square, I think I can work with the "no outdoors" provision (nearly invisible from the street works).

I know that technically a landlord probably can't prohibit such things, but this is NYC. OTARD or anything else means nothing. If they can't use the antenna against a tenant, they'll threaten them with something else. It's not a renter's market here - you'll pay $20 sq/ft and you'll like it. And as someone trying to sell a tenant something, we can't ask them to battle their landlord (although some try).
--
with every mistake we must surely be learning

aeronet

join:2002-04-05
San Juan, PR
i think a 18 db panel (usually 6"x6") with a BulletM5 would be great for you! This antenna has a 20 x 20 deg pattern... Install outside with BulletM5, run flat cat5 in... your done

»www.wlanmall.com/directional-sub···066.html