Solved Add an access point or set up a new Wifi with 2 or 3 AP's

Custom built pc / Ga-z97x-ud3h
January 5, 2018 at 14:11:03
Specs: Windows 7 Pro 64bit, G-Skill 16GB (4x4) DDR3 2133
I work in a retail lighting store that is large (300' length), there has been a Wifi and it has been upgraded a few times but probably due to the metal/concrete roof and all of the power runs for lighting all of the fixtures, the Wifi has never been great. The sales people have been using old gen2 iPads for stock checks and quote/order generating but the spotty Wifi makes this inconsistent. I do not generally deal with the networking in the store but was asked for some solutions. I recommended an Android based tablet as a better price point and more modern Wifi capabilities since the software is web browser based and we purchased one to test with the current set up. The small Asus tablet is better with the Wifi and gets a good signal for almost 2/3 of the store from one end most of the way across but still has problems in the remaining area. A manager mentioned a repeater (extender) like he uses at home but I would prefer something better and tied in directly. At home I had added a Range Extended set up as a wireless access point and this works well for me but I think I need something more robust since the first tries with typical home type Wifi routers failed badly a few years ago when they set it up. My options as I see it are add a single AP near the one end of the store and get the info to integrate it with the existing set up or get 2 or 3 new dual band -ac AP's and set up a new Wifi, eventually disabling the old. I see what looks like a good crop of AP's that are in the very reasonable range ($60.-$130. each) but many are managed either from full time software or cloud based management full time. What I feel we really need is something that can be managed from a browser from any desktop in the building.
Orders are typically completed on one of the Windows 10 machines up front and the server handles the ordering system.
So the question is do I add or do I replace?
Are there any particular brands you have any experience with that will meet our needs?
These require full time management software: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...
Not ideal. Some were cloud based. Not really ideal either.
Others I have looked at https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...
The TP-Link uses software, the Linksys does not.
Recommendations, experience?

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#1
January 5, 2018 at 14:49:18
We swapped to Ubiquiti Unify AP's a couple years ago here at work. I like them a lot. They're pretty robust and are controlled via controller software that can be installed on any PC. We're slowly changing over the old AP Pro's for the new AP-AC's. I liked them so much I put one in at my house and installed the controller software on my gaming PC.

I can't speak to the other brands you linked having never tried them but if you haven't already checked out EnGenius equipment, give them a look too.

If you can, running a cable to the dead zone would provide your best connectivity. Personally, I prefer that over an extender.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#2
January 5, 2018 at 22:28:58
The Ubiquiti appears to need management software to be running full time, this means that it cannot be on client computers that are shut down daily so it will really need to be running on the server and may even need set up or at least attention anytime the server is rebooted (currently about once a week early Monday mornings).
I think we really need them to work together to some extent but can be managed from any machine only when needed and left autonomous the rest of the time. Logging in with a web browser to set up and then only when needed would be a better solution for us.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#3
January 6, 2018 at 08:43:32
✔ Best Answer
can be managed from any machine only when needed and left autonomous the rest of the time

My ubiquiti controller software, installed on this PC at home, isn't running. I actually have to start it by cilcking on the unifi icon on my desktop. Once I do that a little window opens and the controller is then running in the background and there's a button I have to click on to start the management interface. I click on the button "Launch a Browser to Manage the Network" and it opens up a web page with the following in the URL bar: https://localhost:8443/manage.

Assuming you use this equipment and software and install onto a PC with the following IP: 192.168.1.150 You would forward or enable http access on that PC and to connect remotely (from another PC in the same network) you would open your browser and connect to: https://192.168.1.150:8443

Of course if the controller PC is shutoff, it won't work. But the AP's themselves, once configured and joined to your network, don't actually require the controller to be on to work. The controller allows you to manage them.


Logging in with a web browser to set up and then only when needed would be a better solution for us.

This is how the ubiquit works.

It's worth noting that putting the controller software on a PC you reboot regularly won't matter much. Just restart the controller software after reboot (or automate that) and it'll always be available on the network from any other PC (assuming you forward or allow http access on the controller "server")

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#4
January 6, 2018 at 15:42:34
Curt: Thank you for clearing that up, the readily available information on selling sites, user reviews, and review sites did not make that clear. Otherwise they looked good so I will have to go back and look them over again.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#5
January 11, 2018 at 21:23:51
Update: It was decided that I would install the hardware set up and the people (company) who built our POS system and generally manage our network will remote into the server, install the software, and configure the Wifi, possibly including an isolated Guest network Wifi. We save 6+ hours billed time for the install and get the system we need for maybe 1 hour billed time. They are more comfortable that no one messes too much in the server. We decided to go with 4 AP's for more redundancy and overlap and no dead spots.
Thank you Curt for the information.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#6
January 12, 2018 at 08:35:20
I'm happy to have been of some help. I'm very pleased with the Ubiquiti equipment and I'm sure you'll find it easy enough to work with.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#7
January 17, 2018 at 21:35:22
Curt, an update:
Hardware arrived, I installed two AP's powered from a new POE switch spaced out in two directions from the centered front counter yesterday and early this morning they remoted into the server and installed and configured them for the new Wifi network. At this point this morning the signal was good through better than 70% of the store. Then I removed the old Sonicwall AP's and connected the other two AP's through the original wiring, went to the server, adopted, updated and easily got the other two running. They are positioned much further to the front and rear and now there is 100% full coverage over the entire store.
I did find the software intuitive to adopt and configure the 3rd and 4th units and the four of them together is just the right amount of overkill that we were looking for. I let them configure the initial installation because they have the experience with them and I have many other responsibilities to handle at work. Even with them doing that part I believe I still saved the business a lot over letting them come down and spending most of a day doing it and billing accordingly.
Overall, very happy and thank you for the recommendations.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

message edited by Fingers


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#8
January 18, 2018 at 06:50:28
My pleasure Fingers!

I've been very happy with that equipment so far and for small to medium sized business', it's good value with a low TCO and is easy to work with.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#9
January 18, 2018 at 21:03:10
Even the ancient Gen 2 iPads have no trouble anywhere in the store and the hand offs between areas is not noticeable at all. I would recommend this to anyone who asks. The nice thing is how easy it is to add units after it is set up so if you notice an area that does not have as good a coverage, adding one more is very simple.
As I said, we set up two initially and tested before disabling the old Wifi and using the power injectors and cable runs to plug in the 3rd and 4th unit and adopting them, updating them, and even labeling their alias' to be consistent with the original ones was very intuitive for anyone who has set up any AP's before. Now the coverage in a building that does not lend itself easily to Wifi has a good strong system that should be good for a good many years to come.
For any who want to know, we used four Ubiquity AP's "Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-PRO 802.11AC" and I do recommend them, especially in hard to Wifi buildings. The two I added were connected to the network via a POE Switch (8 port, 4 which are POE), small UPS, and two ready made Cat6 cables (30ft & 50ft), the others were later connected using existing POE injectors and wiring which were really too far apart for all of the metal and electrical wiring (metal and concrete roof, many electrical runs below it for powering a large lighting store on Long Island (NY)).
Thank You again Curt.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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