looking to upgrade unibiqiti AC PRO access points.

antok86

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
8,252
family members house upgraded from cable internet to 1gb fiber. house is 2 stories and is wired with unifi /ubiquiti gear. running two AC PRO access points. currently getting around 150-200mpbs given the proximity to the AP. would upgrading to the AP HD make any difference in speed or the unifi 6 LR AP when it comes out?
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
1,815
Probably not, but maybe.

So there are two ways to increase speeds, go faster or go wider. Going faster requires you to be able to use higher MCS indexes, and the only way to do that is to increase SNR. AX does have a slight encoding advantage over AC, but overall it's going to be bound to the same limitations as anything RF. The easiest way to increase SNR is to simply move the AP closer to the device. A lot of people are predicting with the new Wifi6E bands you'll really want to have the AP in the same room in order to provide maximum benefit. Even a single wall could hamper the signal enough cause enough degradation to limit speeds. So the only real answer then is to use more dense deployments with more APs.

For going wider, there are two ways to accomplish that. Using more spatial streams, or increasing the channel width. Your AC PRO is already 3 x 3, but chances are good your clients are only 2 x 2. Unless the devices are desktops it's pretty unlikely you can do anything to get that 3rd channel, which should scale almost linear in bandwidth. The other way is increase the channel width. But going wider would have to mean 160mhz channels, and there isn't really enough spectrum to run 2 APs non overlapping with 160mhz channels on each. (This will change with 6E) That said you definitely need to look into your current configuration and see if you are using HT80 or HT40. If you're already using HT80 then there isn't much room for growth there.

The fact you're only getting 200mbps means that your AP placement isn't ideal as AC-PROs should get around ~500mbps with 2 x 2, HT80. The AP HD's are completely useless to you because the only thing they offer over an AC PRO is another spatial stream that you can't make use of. The unifi 6 APs will be useful if they have Wifi6E because then you could start using 160mhz channels. Without that however they are a meager upgrade over an AC PRO as well. Don't bother getting an LR unit of any type, because those are designed for range, not speed. The client is always the weak point in signal strength, so putting up a bigger AP isn't going to fix the client side.

The two solutions I can suggest are simply getting more APs and putting them in more rooms and using a proper reuse pattern for 80mhz channels in 5G. That usually also means turning off 2.4ghz on select APs so there isn't too much overlap. The other solution would be to get better wireless on the client side to take advantage of more streams, or possibly use APs in bridge mode as they'll be able to get max performance out of taking to each other. I'm going to assume that these are mobile clients otherwise the obvious solution is to simply run a wire to them. But if they are stationary even using another AC PRO in bridge mode, then using the nic port on it you should see a decent increase in speeds over whatever Wifi is in the device.
 

CookieFactory

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
327
I actually just replaced an AC PRO with a HD earlier this week. As a drop in replacement, my wireless speeds have gone from ~200 to 350 mbps out of a 500 mbps internet connection.
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
1,815
I actually just replaced an AC PRO with a HD earlier this week. As a drop in replacement, my wireless speeds have gone from ~200 to 350 mbps out of a 500 mbps internet connection.

Do you know if you were using 40 or 80 mhz channels before? I think the default for AC PROs are to use 40mhz channels, where the HD might be configured to use HT80 out of the box. That would explain the dramatic difference.
 

CookieFactory

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
327
Do you know if you were using 40 or 80 mhz channels before? I think the default for AC PROs are to use 40mhz channels, where the HD might be configured to use HT80 out of the box. That would explain the dramatic difference.

Both the previous AC Pro and the AC HD are set to VHT20 for 2.8 and VHT40 on 5 GHz. The AC PRO is still on my network (just moved to the basement) so I'm not just recalling the settings from memory. AFAIK it's as much an apples-to-apples comparison as one can get.
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
1,815
Both the previous AC Pro and the AC HD are set to VHT20 for 2.8 and VHT40 on 5 GHz. The AC PRO is still on my network (just moved to the basement) so I'm not just recalling the settings from memory. AFAIK it's as much an apples-to-apples comparison as one can get.

So then you have at least a 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 client then. It's not possible to hit ~350mbps using only HT40 on a 2 x 2 client.
 

antok86

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
8,252
Probably not, but maybe.

So there are two ways to increase speeds, go faster or go wider. Going faster requires you to be able to use higher MCS indexes, and the only way to do that is to increase SNR. AX does have a slight encoding advantage over AC, but overall it's going to be bound to the same limitations as anything RF. The easiest way to increase SNR is to simply move the AP closer to the device. A lot of people are predicting with the new Wifi6E bands you'll really want to have the AP in the same room in order to provide maximum benefit. Even a single wall could hamper the signal enough cause enough degradation to limit speeds. So the only real answer then is to use more dense deployments with more APs.

For going wider, there are two ways to accomplish that. Using more spatial streams, or increasing the channel width. Your AC PRO is already 3 x 3, but chances are good your clients are only 2 x 2. Unless the devices are desktops it's pretty unlikely you can do anything to get that 3rd channel, which should scale almost linear in bandwidth. The other way is increase the channel width. But going wider would have to mean 160mhz channels, and there isn't really enough spectrum to run 2 APs non overlapping with 160mhz channels on each. (This will change with 6E) That said you definitely need to look into your current configuration and see if you are using HT80 or HT40. If you're already using HT80 then there isn't much room for growth there.

The fact you're only getting 200mbps means that your AP placement isn't ideal as AC-PROs should get around ~500mbps with 2 x 2, HT80. The AP HD's are completely useless to you because the only thing they offer over an AC PRO is another spatial stream that you can't make use of. The unifi 6 APs will be useful if they have Wifi6E because then you could start using 160mhz channels. Without that however they are a meager upgrade over an AC PRO as well. Don't bother getting an LR unit of any type, because those are designed for range, not speed. The client is always the weak point in signal strength, so putting up a bigger AP isn't going to fix the client side.

The two solutions I can suggest are simply getting more APs and putting them in more rooms and using a proper reuse pattern for 80mhz channels in 5G. That usually also means turning off 2.4ghz on select APs so there isn't too much overlap. The other solution would be to get better wireless on the client side to take advantage of more streams, or possibly use APs in bridge mode as they'll be able to get max performance out of taking to each other. I'm going to assume that these are mobile clients otherwise the obvious solution is to simply run a wire to them. But if they are stationary even using another AC PRO in bridge mode, then using the nic port on it you should see a decent increase in speeds over whatever Wifi is in the device.
Would a good starting point other than changing to a less used Channel is to put on HT80 and low transmit power?
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
1,815
Would a good starting point other than changing to a less used Channel is to put on HT80 and low transmit power?


So if you have the Unifi controller, you should be able to see what channels are in use. If you click on a specific AP, click on Tools, you can run a 5G Scan. It should give you a nice pretty picture of exactly everything that is out there and it should graph utilization for each channel. The hardest part to understand is how all of the channels overlap. In 2.4ghz it's relatively simple because it's just 1 - 11. 5Ghz is all over the place. Thankfully there is an amazing resource from Ekahau that explains it very well:

https://www.ekahau.com/blog/channel-planning-best-practices-for-better-wi-fi/

If you do use 80Mhz channels, in order to have non overlapping you can use channel 40 on one device, channel 58 on another. There are a few other ones which show up on the 80mhz channel line. Note channel 122 may or may not be supported depending upon the device and firmware, so I would probably avoid using that unless you really need to. I do see on the 5Ghz scan in Unifi it shows exactly the same info, so Unifi should be very good to help you pick. Normally the APs will auto select a channel anyway, so they probably already scanned the band to see how much traffic was on a channel before picking it.

You shouldn't need to turn down transmit power, the APs really aren't blasting away that much even at full power. 5Ghz doesn't travel that well through materials and has a lot shorter range if there are objects in the way.
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
1,815
Yes, 3x3 (2020 16" Macbook Pro)

I would say that sounds like there is an issue with the AC Pro not working properly, where the AC HD does. 200mbps is pretty slow for a working 3 channel configuration. If you hold the Option key when you click on the wireless icon, it should give you full details on the drop down. I'm guessing you're only getting MCS6 so QAM64 long guard interval. It's certainly possible the diversity is slightly better on an AC HD, but it seems like something is probably just not working correctly between those two devices. Obviously in your case you are seeing a pretty significant uptick so it was definitely worth swapping it out, but in reality those two devices shouldn't be performing that much differently.
 
Top