Ubiquiti vs Homeplugs?


Ian

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I've currently got my Draytek router broadcasting WiFi @ 2.4Ghz, with a second access point at the other end of the house which is connected via a homeplug to the primary router. I wasn't a fan of homeplugs until recently, but modern ones seem to be very reliable and it's not possible for me to get a network cable from one end of the house to the other (until we re-decorate that is!).

Since moving the router to a new location (nearest the master socket), our desktop PCs are connecting to the rest of the network over homeplugs, as opposed to a gigabit connection to the router from our previous setup.

My question is aimed at people familiar with Ubiquiti - am I better off switching from using homeplugs to connect far away devices and a wifi access point, to a single long range Ubiquiti AP. I've not used Ubiquiti equipment before, but I've only heard good things about it. I see the range is quoted at something like 180m, so I'm assuming that it can probably handle the entirety of our house, even with the attenuation of walls, etc...
 
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V_R

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I've not used Ubiquiti equipment before, but I've only heard good things about it.
Same here, I've seen people raving about Ubiquiti. Sadly that's about the extent of my knowledge, sorry. :blush:

Interested in finding out though. :)
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Don't bother with homeplugs, they are dreadful, unless your circuits have recently been rewired. On old wiring, especially aluminium core mains cable, don't expect speeds of more than 5 Mbps which isn't really good for anything. If I could, I'd ban the use of homeplugs in the UK, purely because of how bad they are.

Definitely get proper Cat5e (at least) ethernet cabling.

Some points to consider about Ubiquiti access points:

Ubiquiti access points require a contactable server at all times, to act as a wireless controller.
If this server goes down or the access point fails to contact the server, the access point will stop passing traffic.
Personally, I use our Active Directory server for this, but you could just use a Raspberry Pi if you don't have a server.

Furthermore, Ubiquiti access points must be wall or ceiling mounted for optimal performance, they are not designed to be placed on the floor or on a desk. The shape of their antennas are optimized for wall or ceiling installation.

Finally, using the Ubiquiti access point with a managed switch unlocks the potential for multiple SSIDs. Ubiquiti access points support VLANs, so you can assign each SSID to a different VLAN.

With these points in mind, I can definitely recommend a Ubiquiti UniFi AP, they are very good quality units, they're basically enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, but affordable for consumers. You really can't go wrong with them, unless you don't know what you are doing.

My Ubiquiti UniFi UAP‑AC‑PRO

IMG_20161030_013840.jpg

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

Ian

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Thanks for the info Capt. Jack - I've found that Homeplugs work surprisingly well in our house, but of course they'll be far from as good as Ethernet cable (or good WiFi). The overall transfer speeds are very good, but they seem to cause interference and seem subject to latency spikes occasionally.

The router we're using can act as a Radius server, so I'll see if that can be used for authentication - as I can kill two birds with one stone. :)
 
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Captain Jack Sparrow

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Thanks for the info Capt. Jack - I've found that Homeplugs work surprisingly well in our house, but of course they'll be far from as good as Ethernet cable (or good WiFi). The overall transfer speeds are very good, but they seem to cause interference and seem subject to latency spikes occasionally.

The router we're using can act as a Radius server, so I'll see if that can be used for authentication - as I can kill two birds with one stone. :)
Yeah I don't see any reason why that won't work, WPA2-Enterprise is great... if it's done right.

We have several types of Wi-Fi authentication, user authentication (user enters their Active Directory username and password) and machine authentication (a certificate is deployed to all machines which automatically connects computers to our Wi-Fi without the need of a user account).

Even with user authentication, the use of your own certificate would massively increase the security of WPA2-Enterprise. Without that, anybody could set up a spoofed Wi-Fi network, along with a spoofed RADIUS server pretending to be yours and clients will willingfully give out their authentication details.

The use of your own certificate ensures that the RADIUS server you're connecting to really is your own, because clients will validate the certificate presented by the RADIUS server. If it's valid, the client supplies authentication details. If the certificate is invalid, then the client will forcefully end the handshake without supplying any authentication details.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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