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Ubiquiti Gurus - Campground wifi

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Ok so I'm throwing this one out there to get some ideas about Ubiquiti, because I've never used them. A friend of mine just opened an RV campground (40 pads, he already has long term guests), and another friend who is his camp manager just spilled to me that whatever he did to provide wifi just sucks ass, because she can't even get a reliable signal on her pad - which is right across the road (about 100') from the office. So I want to go to him with a plan, and being as it's a business and I don't want to be at his tech support beck and call over it, I know you guys rave about Ubiquiti so maybe you can help me put something together. I found out about this today, so I haven't had a chance to look under the hood, but she sent me a pic and I can already see the problem... It's just a patch antenna on top of the office. The grounds are about 13 acres, so a single AP was never going to work anyway since even if the AP is strong enough, the radios in people's devices won't be able to reach back.

I will obviously have to install a multi-AP mesh setup but there is another issue.. Power. There are only two {private) power/light poles.. One is about 500' from the office LOS, the other about 700' (and about 700' from the other pole). The two poles and office form a triangle around the grounds. There is nothing in the middle though, and even three won't be enough to close the distance to be usable off the perimeter. I think I would need at least 8 (maybe an even 10) to get solid coverage with less than 150' between APs (many RVs have an aluminum shell, so probably best to figure for indoor range too instead of LOS).

I don't even want to think about what it would cost to plant power poles and run cables.. So has anyone run these off solar/battery? It has to be cheaper to plant a 15' steel pole and install a solar panel and a couple batteries than full size poles. What would I have to figure as far as wattage? This is in Kansas, with no trees around so plenty of peak sun hours.

I have not really played with mesh, only multi-AP roaming. Would I be able to get away with OOB backhauling to only the two utility powered units via bridge? More? What's the rule of thumb as far as backhaul to satellite ratio when dealing with mesh?

How does centralized control work? I've worked with Omada before but again, never with Ubiquiti. In skimming the documentation the cloudkey can act as the controller? How about the edgerouter?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as I get farther into this.. The attached shows the property. Blue dots are where I have power available, red dots are where I am thinking additional APs would be needed.
 

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By the looks of it, Ubiquiti just so happens to have everything you need to do this.
From the Access Points, the long range antennas (airMax & airFiber) and even the solar to POE controller, they got it all.

I am myself looking into UI-gear, so any knowledge if this is too good to be true or reliable networking hardware is interesting.
 
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have a look at there unifi ufo access points, they are made just for that, sort of setup they mesh 2 so u have seemless coverage when moving from ap to ap u need 1 com set up as a controller for them i have used them quite a bit for schools and such, have had no hassels with Ubiquiti gear its good quality and seems to last
 
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Cloud key can act as controller. I recommend it instead of having a dedicated system for it. Way lower power usage when connected to a PoE switch, although it can be USB powered and ran off a battery pack.

As far as APs go they have tons of outdoor units too many to list lol.

Ubiquiti is solid stuff for a good price. So yeah that's why we like em here :)

LMK if you have any questions on setup and cloud key tips.

I currently have their Switch 8-PoE 80w, 2 AP-AC-LITES, AP-AC-LR, cloud key. My firewall is a Cisco Meraki MX64 , however.


Please note I do not work for them.
 
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I was thinking solar too when you mentioned only the three poles. But, something important you didn't mention, what's the budget? Unifi has some beam towers you can setup and shoot directly from the office to the poles, but $! I run a rack of unifi gear at home, with 3 x Mesh AP's in use, 10Gb core switch with a 48 port 1Gb strung off that, and a pfsense firewall, using the Gen 2 Plus Controller, as well as a handful of cameras.

Unifi has a large portfolio of products so best to narrow down requirements too. What's the line bandwidth coming in rated at? I assume by 40 "pads" you mean 40 x plots where individual campers could house, temporarily or perm? That would mean they could be a single person, or a family, right? So in theory, at least a family of 3 x per pad = 40 x 3 = 120. So, your max concurrent guesstimation of users online could be upwards of ~120, cell phones, laptops, netflix, RV's with Honda generators and TV's on retractable walls wanting to stream 4k? :) I think you are going to need some QoS with whatever you do!

You doing any type of Guest Portal for authentication? Is Wifi an included amenity on the site, or something that is a pay as you go basis?
 
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Knowing what he has into this place, I think I could get him to bite and still make some money if I keep it around $10k all in. I had a bit of sticker shock when I saw what those airfiber units cost. I had thought wireless due to the distance being too far for cat6, but I didnt take into account that cheaper bridges arent going to handle gigabit. Now Im thinking it would be cheaper just to trench fiber out to those poles for the backhaul.

Yes we are talking about 40 full service (electrical/water/sewer) RV pads. Right now there are 8 that are on monthly rent and have been there for 3-4 months so far.. lots of weeklys. They are also right near our racetrack, so they fill up on race weekends. And yes, plenty if couples with kids so yeah I'm guessing lots of devices. what is the capacity on these systems? How do you deal with high client density on mesh? More backhauls? More APs?

There IS plenty of backbone available at the office though. We have a fiber ISP here that offers gigabit symmetric, and there is 4 strand fiber to the building, so we can use load balancing for up to 4gbps symmetrical, so I'm not seeing a problem there.

He apparently does have a voucher system In place already. Not sure what hes using or how it's set up, but my proposal would have a basic rate (say, 2mbps) that's included in the rent, then a tiered premium system where they can pay for more speed if they need it.
 
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I've got someone going out to do a drone survey this weekend, I'll get some pics up as soon as I get them. As it stands now there are 3 rows going left to right on the picture. stopping at the tree line, to the south of the office. The field west of the office on the other side of the road is still empty but I just learned that there will be another half row in there next year.

I also went and drove around the property today (still didnt get to look at the existing setup, the manager was out), and I may not have to depend on solar after all except for one or two. The electrical pedestals all have an empty breaker slot (they're not metered), so I could attach poles to some of them and just add a circuit and put a handle lock on the breaker to keep it from getting turned off.

Another question.. If I use the Cloudkey for a controller, can I have it send me a push notification or email if say, an AP goes down, or if theres something affecting performance? I said I don't want to be constantly chasing bugs, but I wouldnt mind being proactive if it could self monitor for problems
 
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You can get updates with email. And then set up push on your mobile device for that. They got an app but I don't use it.
 
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Ok so I'm throwing this one out there to get some ideas about Ubiquiti, because I've never used them. A friend of mine just opened an RV campground (40 pads, he already has long term guests), and another friend who is his camp manager just spilled to me that whatever he did to provide wifi just sucks ass, because she can't even get a reliable signal on her pad - which is right across the road (about 100') from the office. So I want to go to him with a plan, and being as it's a business and I don't want to be at his tech support beck and call over it, I know you guys rave about Ubiquiti so maybe you can help me put something together. I found out about this today, so I haven't had a chance to look under the hood, but she sent me a pic and I can already see the problem... It's just a patch antenna on top of the office. The grounds are about 13 acres, so a single AP was never going to work anyway since even if the AP is strong enough, the radios in people's devices won't be able to reach back.

I will obviously have to install a multi-AP mesh setup but there is another issue.. Power. There are only two {private) power/light poles.. One is about 500' from the office LOS, the other about 700' (and about 700' from the other pole). The two poles and office form a triangle around the grounds. There is nothing in the middle though, and even three won't be enough to close the distance to be usable off the perimeter. I think I would need at least 8 (maybe an even 10) to get solid coverage with less than 150' between APs (many RVs have an aluminum shell, so probably best to figure for indoor range too instead of LOS).

I don't even want to think about what it would cost to plant power poles and run cables.. So has anyone run these off solar/battery? It has to be cheaper to plant a 15' steel pole and install a solar panel and a couple batteries than full size poles. What would I have to figure as far as wattage? This is in Kansas, with no trees around so plenty of peak sun hours.

I have not really played with mesh, only multi-AP roaming. Would I be able to get away with OOB backhauling to only the two utility powered units via bridge? More? What's the rule of thumb as far as backhaul to satellite ratio when dealing with mesh?

How does centralized control work? I've worked with Omada before but again, never with Ubiquiti. In skimming the documentation the cloudkey can act as the controller? How about the edgerouter?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as I get farther into this.. The attached shows the property. Blue dots are where I have power available, red dots are where I am thinking additional APs would be needed.
See if you can set up a Voronoi diagram, with approximate ranges, to create a coverage map that would allow you to install a minimum amount of solar-powered repeaters. My hunch is that you could get pretty good coverage from high powered repeaters/sites near the electricity supply and supplement that with fewer lower powered solar sites.

It's hard to get a sense of scale from the map, but you might also have the flexibility of going POE for some devices.

Doe the RV plots themselves have access to power? I'm not familiar with RV sites, but wouldn't the plots themselves also give you power options?
 
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See if you can set up a Voronoi diagram, with approximate ranges, to create a coverage map that would allow you to install a minimum amount of solar-powered repeaters.
I have no idea what that is lol..

My hunch is that you could get pretty good coverage from high powered repeaters/sites near the electricity supply and supplement that with fewer lower powered solar sites.
High powered APs aren't going address the issue of low powered radios in clients. They'll see a great signal from the AP but won't be able to talk back.

It's hard to get a sense of scale from the map, but you might also have the flexibility of going POE for some devices.
PoE is not gonna happen. I can't be trenching all over the grounds to install cable. The perimeter is the best location for the backhaul sites, but even that will exceed the max distance for ethernet by far. Given the huge cost of gigabit wireless equipment, I've revised my plans to trench fiber out to the backhaul sites. I may end up doing one or two down the center access road depending on how deep the utilities are buried.

Do the RV plots themselves have access to power? I'm not familiar with RV sites, but wouldn't the plots themselves also give you power options?
Yes, there is a pedestal at every pad. A few posts ago I said that I would be able to use them instead of solar, because they have an empty breaker spot where I could add a circuit. I originally discounted that idea because there is a chance that a guest could trip the breaker using the 20A outlet, or a kid could turn it off, but since I can add a dedicated breaker, I know they make handle locks to keep the breaker from being turned off.
 
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I have no idea what that is lol..
High powered APs aren't going address the issue of low powered radios in clients. They'll see a great signal from the AP but won't be able to talk back.
I was thinking more to be able to communicate with the smaller client repeaters than the device clients themselves.

A Voronoi diagram is a way of generating a coverage map. Choose your device sites, link them with line segments, find the perpendicular bisectors and connect it all together to create wifi-coverage cells. You just have to take into account the effective range of the clients when determining whether a cell can provide full coverage. If it can't, then add another site.
There are algorithms to do that, but it's a little more complicated to just be able to explain in a post here.

If you're looking to do it for a lot cheaper, Xiaomi makes some pretty good stuff, though it doesn't have the capabilities of Ubiquiti hardware. I don't think it'd be suitable for your current projects, but when working on something smaller or for yourself, it might be worth exploring.

Another idea, though i have no idea how feasible it'd be, would be to look at powerline.

Here's an old TPU post with someone trying to do the same thing as you that might be useful: https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/wifi-in-the-rv-park.181083/

Depending on size of your grounds, you might be able to get away with just using something like this placed around a few of the RVs pointing at your Wifi AP's that have a hard-wired connection.
 
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Yeah, for this job I'm not willing to propose cheap and have it bite me in the ass down the road when it comes to supporting it - I've been to that movie before lol! The guy's got the money to do it right. Powerline wont work either (not that I'd trust it for this anyway, it is seriously more trouble than its worth even in a residential setting) because there are 5 different transformers serving the pads and office. I've used those enGenius PtP/MP bridges a lot in the past though, and I like them, but they are N and only support up to 300Mbit (real world is closer to 200), so they're not going to cut it with the kind of load the network could see. I've estimated it will cost about $3,000 for the amount of armored fiber that I need, plus a couple hundred to rent a Ditch Witch and a days work to trench it in to 6 backhaul sites. That's half what it would cost to set up 3 sites with airFiber
 
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I was thinking more to be able to communicate with the smaller client repeaters than the device clients themselves.

A Voronoi diagram is a way of generating a coverage map. Choose your device sites, link them with line segments, find the perpendicular bisectors and connect it all together to create wifi-coverage cells. You just have to take into account the effective range of the clients when determining whether a cell can provide full coverage. If it can't, then add another site.
There are algorithms to do that, but it's a little more complicated to just be able to explain in a post here.

If you're looking to do it for a lot cheaper, Xiaomi makes some pretty good stuff, though it doesn't have the capabilities of Ubiquiti hardware. I don't think it'd be suitable for your current projects, but when working on something smaller or for yourself, it might be worth exploring.

Another idea, though i have no idea how feasible it'd be, would be to look at powerline.

Here's an old TPU post with someone trying to do the same thing as you that might be useful: https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/wifi-in-the-rv-park.181083/

Depending on size of your grounds, you might be able to get away with just using something like this placed around a few of the RVs pointing at your Wifi AP's that have a hard-wired connection.
LOL you linked that thread.. I think waaay differently these days about that brand.... ha ha.

Ubiquiti has a lot better stuff for the price.
 
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