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  • The only place I found that a LR AP worked well was in our warehouse.  It has 40 foot ceilings and a regular AP ceiling mounted had terrible coverage.  We swapped it for an LR model and the coverage was much better.  The regular AP could hear well at that height, but could not transmit far enough on regular power.  In this case the LR fixed the problem.

    Only in rare circumstances is the LR AP the answer.

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    • I agree with you 100% on matching client Tx power to AP Tx power, there seems to be many people that do not understand/do not think about this. WiFi needs reliable *2-way* communication to work effectively, as you've stated.

      As for the LR-APs, I see no point to them and never use them for the exact reasons you described above. I never understood why UBNT even makes the LRs, perhaps just to make a little extra money off of the uninformed.

      I'm interested to hear others' take on this

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    • Your are correct in what you stated. The only time I would find a use for a Long Range AP is when I have very few clients but need to cover as much area as possible and there is very little to cause interference (such as walls or wifi networks) which obviously doesn't happen very much in the city

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    • The original UAP-LR was just a loudmouth with normal ears. The new UAP-AC-LR has a better receive antenna, so it can pick up weak signals better. Turn its power down to Medium or Low, and you will still have better reception than the UAP-AC-LITE or the UAP-AC-PRO, or even the old UAP-LR.

      I tell people to think of WiFi as two people at opposite ends of a football field. One person, the access point, is speaking into a bullhorn, the other person, the client device, is speaking in a normal voice. If the bullhorn person cannot hear that low voice coming back, then there is NO wireless conversation, no matter how strongly the client device hears the access point.

      Gregg

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    • greggmh123 wrote:

      The original UAP-LR was just a loudmouth with normal ears. The new UAP-AC-LR has a better receive antenna, so it can pick up weak signals better. Turn its power down to Medium or Low, and you will still have better reception than the UAP-AC-LITE or the UAP-AC-PRO, or even the old UAP-LR.

      Higher-gain antennas/higher receive sensitivity can be a double-edged sword though, yes it will receive weak client signals better, but it will also receive more unwanted 'noise' at the same time
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    • I have particular client where a UAP-AC-LR may work, only because running cable downstairs in the home is prohibitive. A base UAP can easily be seen by the laptop, but does not work well.

      Otherwise, I prefer multiple APs on low power.

      Gregg

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    • Your current problem is going to be all the iOS clients in that coffee shop - Apple has managed to create a crap WiFi client that doesn't like to roam and is super picky/proprietary. The "minimum AP's necessary" is a design choice caused by high per-AP pricing. When you go for a resilient and well distributed system, and spend $250/AP instead of $1000/AP, you get much better results. There is a reason cellular service works as well as it does!

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    • Could you expound on the crappy Apple WiFi client properties?  I get the gist, but would really appreciate some more technical detail, or examples, if you have them.

      BTW, I'm glad to hear my studies were time-well-spent.

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    • calebchristopher wrote:

      Could you expound on the crappy Apple WiFi client properties?  I get the gist, but would really appreciate some more technical detail, or examples, if you have them.

      BTW, I'm glad to hear my studies were time-well-spent.

      Google "ios wifi issues" and have at.

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    • Good info from Cisco:

      "... the IOS 8 roaming algorithm logic may be summarized as follows: "associate to 5 GHz if you can. Stay there until the signal gets bad, and then move to another BSSID if it is really better". This type of algorithm, commonly categorized as "generation 2" (partly sticky), is typically designed for non-real-time applications, with a roaming frequency expected to be low. It is not designed for real-time applications and frequent roaming. Building your cell design as recommended above will help to improve the roaming performances. However, these performances are unlikely to equate those of devices implementing generation 3 to generation 5 roaming algorithms, unless you can follow strictly the recommendations above. Do not recommend to your customers to use IOS 8 for business-critical real-time applications if frequent roaming is expected, and if the network was not optimized specifically to offer efficient roaming performances."

      Tuning Your Network Design for IOS 8 Roaming Performances

      Designing your network to offer optimal roaming conditions to IOS 8 devices implies creating several conditions:Design your network for 802.11a. Set the SSID to 802.11a-only, and enable 802.11k to optimize next AP discovery time.Create RF conditions that match the IOS 8 device logic. When your device gets to a point in the cell where the AP signal falls below –70 dBm, the next AP should be heard at –62 dBm or better. This implies deploying a high performance network, with one AP for every 2500 sqft (250 sqm) area on average. The AP power should be set to a value comparable to IOS 8 devices average power for the 5 GHz band. A good value is 10 to 11 dBm for networks targeted at phones (tablets have higher transmit power capabilities), or power level 3 for the A regulatory domain. The IOS 8 roaming logic implies creating a cell edge at higher level than usual VoWiFI recommendations.As much as possible, try to design roaming paths that are efficient. In the following example, APs are positioned strategically to take advantage of the environment and build AP neighborhood based on the roaming path. When the iPhone 6 moves from position A to position B, APs 1 and 2 can be heard. However, AP A does not hear AP 3. As a consequence, when the iPhone 6 requests a list of neighbors from AP 1, AP 1 provides AP 2 information, but not AP 3. This allows the iPhone 6 to only get a limited list of channels to scan, and to discover AP 2 easily. These conditions cannot always be created, but try to design your network so that the IOS 8 device always learn from its current AP the channel of the next AP users are likely to associate to while roaming. If possible, limit the number of APs that can be heard from each AP, so that each AP “802.11k neighborhood” only contains APs that are on the roaming path.

      Designing your network to offer optimal roaming conditions to IOS 8 devices implies creating several conditions:

      Design your network for 802.11a. Set the SSID to 802.11a-only, and enable 802.11k to optimize next AP discovery time.Create RF conditions that match the IOS 8 device logic. When your device gets to a point in the cell where the AP signal falls below –70 dBm, the next AP should be heard at –62 dBm or better. This implies deploying a high performance network, with one AP for every 2500 sqft (250 sqm) area on average. The AP power should be set to a value comparable to IOS 8 devices average power for the 5 GHz band. A good value is 10 to 11 dBm for networks targeted at phones (tablets have higher transmit power capabilities), or power level 3 for the A regulatory domain. The IOS 8 roaming logic implies creating a cell edge at higher level than usual VoWiFI recommendations.As much as possible, try to design roaming paths that are efficient. In the following example, APs are positioned strategically to take advantage of the environment and build AP neighborhood based on the roaming path. When the iPhone 6 moves from position A to position B, APs 1 and 2 can be heard. However, AP A does not hear AP 3. As a consequence, when the iPhone 6 requests a list of neighbors from AP 1, AP 1 provides AP 2 information, but not AP 3. This allows the iPhone 6 to only get a limited list of channels to scan, and to discover AP 2 easily. These conditions cannot always be created, but try to design your network so that the IOS 8 device always learn from its current AP the channel of the next AP users are likely to associate to while roaming. If possible, limit the number of APs that can be heard from each AP, so that each AP “802.11k neighborhood” only contains APs that are on the roaming path.

      Design your network for 802.11a. Set the SSID to 802.11a-only, and enable 802.11k to optimize next AP discovery time.

      Create RF conditions that match the IOS 8 device logic. When your device gets to a point in the cell where the AP signal falls below –70 dBm, the next AP should be heard at –62 dBm or better. This implies deploying a high performance network, with one AP for every 2500 sqft (250 sqm) area on average. The AP power should be set to a value comparable to IOS 8 devices average power for the 5 GHz band. A good value is 10 to 11 dBm for networks targeted at phones (tablets have higher transmit power capabilities), or power level 3 for the A regulatory domain. The IOS 8 roaming logic implies creating a cell edge at higher level than usual VoWiFI recommendations.

      As much as possible, try to design roaming paths that are efficient. In the following example, APs are positioned strategically to take advantage of the environment and build AP neighborhood based on the roaming path. When the iPhone 6 moves from position A to position B, APs 1 and 2 can be heard. However, AP A does not hear AP 3. As a consequence, when the iPhone 6 requests a list of neighbors from AP 1, AP 1 provides AP 2 information, but not AP 3. This allows the iPhone 6 to only get a limited list of channels to scan, and to discover AP 2 easily. These conditions cannot always be created, but try to design your network so that the IOS 8 device always learn from its current AP the channel of the next AP users are likely to associate to while roaming. If possible, limit the number of APs that can be heard from each AP, so that each AP “802.11k neighborhood” only contains APs that are on the roaming path.

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    • The only place I found that a LR AP worked well was in our warehouse.  It has 40 foot ceilings and a regular AP ceiling mounted had terrible coverage.  We swapped it for an LR model and the coverage was much better.  The regular AP could hear well at that height, but could not transmit far enough on regular power.  In this case the LR fixed the problem.

      Only in rare circumstances is the LR AP the answer.

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    • Thanks for the info. Such an easy mistake to make - assuming that a strong signal from the AP means you have a solid connection. I made that mistake myself on my first few long range AP installs.

      One thing I like about our Unifi APs is that you can go into the controller and see the signal power of the connected clients. Very helpful in convincing management to purchase additional APs. 

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    • It's no surprise that people keep falling for it. "Oh my WiFi doesn't work... Wait... Bigger and better signal?" Then queue the "ooh" and "ahh" then wait for the disappointment to roll in.

      I worked for a place that made the same mistake and they refused to believe it. They kept figuring that it was configured wrong.

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    • As you've seen - an LR unit doesn't work well in most cases, for the exact reasons you've mentioned.  

      We've gone into more of a mobile world with tablets and phones that can hear the AP's just fine, but don't have the same transmit power themselves.  This is when more quiet AP's make more sense than fewer AP's that have better range. 

      Thankfully, the cost for AP's seems to be coming down, atleast by companies like Ubiquiti and open-mesh.  These are perfect for the typical deployment. I've also been told that the design of the latest LR units from ubiquiti are completely different and that it should be better for mobile devices now.  I haven't had a chance to test this myself but would still prefer the Unifi AP AC Lite unit instead and just deploy more of those for more density.

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    • iv used a couple LR outdoor units from ubiquiti and found that they are really great for punching threw the thicker brick walls in certain buildings in my locations 

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    • austin janey wrote:

      iv used a couple LR outdoor units from ubiquiti and found that they are really great for punching threw the thicker brick walls in certain buildings in my locations 

      What about the clients on the other side that have to punch back through those walls to the AP?

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    • What I've found on the few LR AP's I've gotten a hold of is that the antenna assembly is a more sensitive radio, better optimized antenna arrangement, or there is a signal amplifier inline with the antenna, not that the AP puts out more power. Most people forget that there is an fcc limit to the transmit power of an AP of 4 watts at the Antenna for AP<->client communications.

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    • great post OP.  I agree with your briefing. it's refreshing to read a more intelligent approach to IT per your post (as well as good question but I will let the other posters reply on that).

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    • UBNT will sell you an LR for any purpose you want but it was designed as a backhaul AP - so two LRs talking to EACH OTHER.  In that case the LR works and make sense as both devices can easily reach and talk to each other.

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    • Look at your environment one solution does not fit all.

      1. Can you think vertically and not horizontal. I did this were floors were able to pass the WIFI signal easily, but the walls could not. I developed the WAP solution vertically and not floor by floor. 

      2. Know the intended audience. If it is going to be public you may want to through some lower powered waps on lower channels for people using very cheap cell phones that might suffer from poorly speced antennas. 

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    • The thought process has definitely changed.  Some people are just not updated on it though.  Back in the 802.11b/g days, the best you could do on wifi was around 20 mbps.  Even on a weak signal, the speed was affected, but wasn't as noticeable, because, well, it wasn't that "fast" in the first place.  

      Now with the shift to 5Ghz, and faster, near gigabit speeds, any drop in signal takes a big toll on bandwidth, that with the explosion of clients that want/need to connect via WiFi, the planning and deployment process is very different than what it once was.

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    • Thank you for well written post.  It is also worth mentioning that not all APs are created equal.  There are tremendous differences in performance when comparing brand A and brand B.  RF works in mysteries ways and polarization can make a difference between happy customer and angry one.

      thanks again

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    • Just found this while searching for an image on signal propagation:  How to locate your Router (or AP) using physics.   Interesting reading.

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    • I just installed 12 AP Pro's, 1 Outdoor AP and two AP-Pro LR.  The long rang are in this is wide open area but narrow.  I will post back to let everyone know how they work.  I just kind of mapped everything out and decided on the LR for this specific area.  I agree though use the lowest power you can for the area you have.  My brother taught me that and Ubnt support will always tell you turn the power down it seems.  I always assumed more power the better.  But it is true it seems to work better with more AP's on lower power.

      I am still trying to figure out an ice arena coverage.  That one is driving me crazy.  3 outdoor AP's are on order for it.  Those might like the cold better than the HP MSM 460s we have.

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    • We have been using AP-LR's at our sites for over a year now and our clients haven't complained about their WiFi signals. Most of our sites have a single AP-LR that needs to reach a maximum of 15 users. Some of our larger sites, with upwards of 40-60 people in the building will have 2 to 3 AP-LRs and they have been consistent for us. The only time I have experienced issues was when there were multiple objects/walls in the way and the AP's were spread to far apart. 

      Great write-up!

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    • The following is how I explain it when someone tells me that their new super router can blow through walls.

      "You go stand in the back room, and take this BB gun with you. It represents your cell phone or laptop. Point it at the wall and try to shoot me through those five walls. I won't ever know that you tried, because your BB got stuck inside the first wall. Now, I will stand in the far room with my bazooka and shoot back. You will know that I am there, but it won't do you much good."

      Gregg

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    • When Someone starts bleeding from the ears that's when I would worry.... 

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    • The same analogy can work in the Audio/Visual sector too (and I've used it several times), especially in rooms with less-than-favourable acoustics.

      Your standard conference setup of 2 speakers on sticks at the front of the room is useless (this is the LRAP) - it's too loud for those at the front, but by the time you get to the back, the signal is barely any use at all.

      Take the same conference room, and connect neat, small speakers along each side of the room, use a lower volume overall, and everyone can hear everyone else, and everything else.  Job done.

      You're not overwhelming anything close by - you're not obliterating the soundwaves with such levels of output that it's interfering with anything in the vicinity - you've just got a nice, controlled usable system.

      As also stated, it should be borne in mind that as well as LRAPs having powerful tx but not so useful rx, APs that can cover a room of 200 people can invariably only usefully connect 10 of them to any amount of internets.  (Unless your wifis are Ruckus or the like!)

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    • I would look into a Ruckus Zone Director along with Ruckus APs. You can create multiple networks from different VLANs, Access Control Rules, Guest Networks, AD authentication. Pretty awesome devices

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    • Signal Polarization was another interesting topic.  Better APs definitely have a strong advantage there.  I don't know these days which manufacturers by default have antennas situated both vertically and horizontally, but the document I was originally reading indicated that the better ones have multiple antennas oriented differently and work to combine the best bits of each received transmission, which improves accuracy of received data from mobile devices which are being carried and rotated.  While that feature dedicates a bit more resources to receive the same data, if it helps receive the data once, rather than needing retransmission, it may well have improved overall throughput for multiple devices by just getting traffic through faster rather than trying to multitask and keep having devices retransmit.

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    • Munchkin_Ross wrote:

      The same analogy can work in the Audio/Visual sector too (and I've used it several times), especially in rooms with less-than-favourable acoustics.

      Your standard conference setup of 2 speakers on sticks at the front of the room is useless (this is the LRAP) - it's too loud for those at the front, but by the time you get to the back, the signal is barely any use at all.

      Take the same conference room, and connect neat, small speakers along each side of the room, use a lower volume overall, and everyone can hear everyone else, and everything else.  Job done.

      You're not overwhelming anything close by - you're not obliterating the soundwaves with such levels of output that it's interfering with anything in the vicinity - you've just got a nice, controlled usable system.

      As also stated, it should be borne in mind that as well as LRAPs having powerful tx but not so useful rx, APs that can cover a room of 200 people can invariably only usefully connect 10 of them to any amount of internets.  (Unless your wifis are Ruckus or the like!)

      I've used that very same type of analogy when explaining Wi-Fi.
      And I've also installed speakers in classrooms using the same idea.  You'd be amazed how many people are blown away by the difference of 2 speakers at the front of a room BLASTING NOISE vs small ceiling speakers at a lower level.

      I've tried to explain that's the same for our gym. where we installed very nice ceiling mounted speakers, but drama and music keeps wanting to blast everyone out with speakers on the stage.


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    • There are narrow use-cases where long range AP have their advantages.

      Most of my deployments, 99.99 do not employ them, since I prefer lowering transmit rates for stability in high density deployments. This has proven time and time again to be possibly the best way to approach the issue.

      I would like to clarify that 30 clients per "radio" is max i would go for and out of those 30 a third are active - so how many radios are in your AP for sending/receiving signal. 

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    • Pictuelle wrote:

      I would like to clarify that 30 clients per "radio" is max i would go for and out of those 30 a third are active - so how many radios are in your AP for sending/receiving signal. 

      Good point.  Do MIMO clients take up 2 or 3 radios at a time, though?  So if you know you'll have 3MIMO laptops all throughout a given area, your clients-per-radio numbers would have to change?

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    • jayson1775 wrote:

      I just installed 12 AP Pro's, 1 Outdoor AP and two AP-Pro LR.  The long rang are in this is wide open area but narrow.  I will post back to let everyone know how they work.  I just kind of mapped everything out and decided on the LR for this specific area.  I agree though use the lowest power you can for the area you have.  My brother taught me that and Ubnt support will always tell you turn the power down it seems.  I always assumed more power the better.  But it is true it seems to work better with more AP's on lower power.

      I am still trying to figure out an ice arena coverage.  That one is driving me crazy.  3 outdoor AP's are on order for it.  Those might like the cold better than the HP MSM 460s we have.

      How about that update?

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    • Your Link Budget will have problem coping with that when your AP's TX is too high. Your AP can't hear you even though your clients are shouting back at the AP. It will be like a one way communication more than a two way communication in that situation.

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    • I like the analogy of standing on opposite ends of a football field trying to have a conversation... they won't be able to hear each other and if you give one of them a megaphone, they will still not be able to have a two-way conversation.

      You're better off having AP's which are well suited to your average clients... You could use one exceptionally powerful antenna on a single AP.  You might also use several AP's with internal or very low power antenna's which are distributed properly for coverage and signal overlap.  Again, as you've mentioned being wary of your client's needs is the most important factor.

      If you have a warehouse with a bunch of devices using telnet sessions the first scenario may be great.  If you have a bunch of VoIP clients however you may be better served by the latter.  I always love how people say "I've got 5/5 bars but my WiFi is still slow, what's wrong with this thing?"  I then explain that your signal strength may be excellent between you and the access point but that doesn't mean the access points connection out to the internet is any good... the communication chain is only as good as the weakest segment.  It never ceases to amaze me how often this is completely misunderstood, even by fairly technical people... or those who I would have thought to be!

      Anyway, as far as your question I think it totally depends on the usage... Like I mentioned above, let's in say a warehouse full of mobile scanners running telnet sessions you use one AP with a monster antenna and they all can maintain a rock solid 2Mbps connection and not overload the AP then you'll likely be very happy with that throughput and likely saved yourself a fair bit of coin.  But in your coffee shop scenario, you've got the right approach for the intended clients and a single AP would likely suffer dearly with several dozen clients streaming video, etc.

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    • The problem here is all wi-fi clients are not the same, and unfortunately wi-fi equipment vendors tend to dumb down their advertising to such. I've also discovered that many corporate Network types don't understand it either. They are accustomed to providing and being required to provide the highest possible bandwidth to corporate users running laptops and tablets. 

      High density public environments will tend to be 90% or more smatphones, and that's conservative.

      High density public smartphone environments and corporate laptop / tablet environments have *LITTLE* in common when it comes to provisioning.wi-fi. The devices have different quirks and bandwidth utilization is totally different.

      In a high density public wi-fi environment you manage your capacity via per client bandwidth throttling. You maybe provision 1MB per client.....some locations give less. You don't need dedicated 50MBps access on your android for updating FB and texting.  Balancing broadcast power to client power is a bit of a non sequitur because you over ride this with aggressive RSSI settings. You balance your power settings to stop at the doors and not allow people to connect in the parking lot. Again, the clients are leeching off your dime, and increasingly I'm setting up dynamic capture portals that track how many times you are at the location, which part of the building you are in, and marketing gets sent to your phone accordingly. If your APs are turned up too high you'll run into interference with your other APs anyways, so the problem solves itself.

      In a corporate realm you crank up your AP's and try to deliver maximum bandwidth per client to get maximum SLA . Capacity per AP plummets compared to public wi-fi, the later of which you can get over a hundred clients per AP with even low end WAPs like Ubiquiti.

      Also, I'm increasingly finding supposedly higher end devices like laptops have more problems with wi-fi than low end smartphones. Smartphones are designed to try and connect to anything vibrating radio frequency electrons. Onboard wi-fi with laptops continues to be fussy, low powered, and erratic. 

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    • Corporate offices are entirely different beasts than coffee shops, bars and restraunts. With corporate you want to guarantee the highest speed to each client and make roaming around with their laptops as seamless as possible. With coffee shops, bars and entertainment places 99.9% of you clients will be using phones with the rare tablet user, they will rarely stay on site more than a few hours and you'll have a constant influx of people leaving and entering the broadcast zone. Most people in public places are just using their phones to update FB, twitter, etc. and you can throttle them to 2mb or less which prevents the occasional idiot from sucking up all your bandwidth to patch his phone or mass download porn.

      In my experience you can crank up the signal on 5ghz much further than 2.4ghz because of the way 5ghz get's absorbed much more than 2.4ghz.

      Cranking up 2.4ghz just means clients stay *stuck* to the device as they walk further and further out of range, and this is what kills WAPs more than anything. The constant renegotiation eats up the CPU's on the AP as the client walks out to the parking lot. With Ubiquiti in public places you'll want to adjust RSSI settings to chop these connections ASAP.  

      Also, you don't want clients connecting in next door businesses etc. Ideally you want coverage terminating at the door, or as close as possible. Yet another problem you typically don't have with corporate.

      My Ubiquiti LR's handle 50 simultaneous lightweight clients with no problems with a 2mb cap on each connection. They are hard limited much beyond that.


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    • Corporate offices are entirely different beasts than coffee shops, bars and restraunts.  With corporate you want to guarantee the highest speed to each client and make roaming around with their laptops as seamless as possible. With coffee shops, bars and entertainment places 99.9% of you clients will be using phones with the rare tablet user, they will rarely stay on site more than a few hours and you'll have a constant influx of people leaving and entering the broadcast zone.  Most people in public places are just using their phones to update FB, twitter, etc. and you can throttle them to 2mb or less which prevents the occasional idiot from sucking up all your bandwidth to patch his phone or mass download porn.

      In my experience you can crank up the signal on 5ghz much further than 2.4ghz because of the way 5ghz get's absorbed much more than 2.4ghz.

      Cranking up 2.4ghz just means clients stay *stuck* to the device as they walk further and further out of range, and this is what kills WAPs more than anything. The constant renegotiation eats up the CPU's on the AP as the client walks out to the parking lot. With Ubiquiti in public places you'll want to adjust RSSI settings to chop these connections ASAP.  

      Also, you don't want clients connecting in next door businesses etc. Ideally you want coverage terminating at the door, or as close as possible. Yet another problem you typically don't have with corporate.

      My Ubiquiti LR's handle 50 simultaneous lightweight clients with no problems with a 2mb cap on each connection. They are hard limited much beyond that. 

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    • I wonder if anyone has ever actually looked at the specs of the UAP-AC-LR vs the UAP-AC-PRO.. The LR verison looks more of an oddly stripped down Pro model.

      1 antenna, 6.5w,  24 dBm (LR)
      vs
      3 antenna, 9w, 22dBm (Pro)

      Antennas are rated the same 3/6 dBi for both models.

      For a coffee shop, I'd be putting the in-wall units all over the place, about 8-10 feet off the ground, and turning the power /way/ down on them.

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    • greggmh123 wrote:

      I have particular client where a UAP-AC-LR may work, only because running cable downstairs in the home is prohibitive. A base UAP can easily be seen by the laptop, but does not work well.

      Otherwise, I prefer multiple APs on low power.

      Gregg

      Also, the LR makes it a little easier to create a Wireless Uplink.  Being there, in the process of doing that, exactly because of that "running cable downstairs" business in a finished, occupied home.

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    • Joel909 wrote:

      UBNT will sell you an LR for any purpose you want but it was designed as a backhaul AP - so two LRs talking to EACH OTHER.  In that case the LR works and make sense as both devices can easily reach and talk to each other.

      This.  They call it "Wireless Uplinks" and it works extremely well (at a pretty amazing range), plus you get a little bit of endpoint WiFi in the beam path.

      Otherwise, the LR is overpriced since you'll be turning the power DOWN a lot to let your endpoints talk back to the APs they can see.

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