My Deployment Experience with Ubiquiti Networks

I was the fortunate winner of the vBrownBag year-end contest and won Ubiquiti Networks gear. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get, but wow, was I surprised!

I’ve been wanting to pick up Ubiquiti gear for some time now – I was running an older Meraki deployment from my Cisco days, which has served me well. However, the MR18 was definitely showing its age from a channel utilization perspective.

I *finally* got a chance to sit down yesterday and start deploying out a simple design for now while also learning about Ubiquiti Networks gear.

I also jumped into this without reading much documentation and quite frankly, understanding of how the Ubiquiti model works. I wanted to see how easy it was to deploy based on my past network experience.

From a top-level topology perspective, I decided to lay out the deployment as such, pretty straight-forward.

Deployment Steps

  1. I first created an account on Ubnt.com, fairly straightforward and showed a demo controller. 
  2. I was a little confused on which step I should take next – do I need to set up the USG first or the Cloud Key? Well, I kind of did both, which was fine.
  3. I plugged in the USG and allowed the default DHCP settings while just setting up a hardwired connection from my laptop. 
  4. From here, I was able to start a setup wizard on the USG. Very straightforward while setting some initial defaults.
  5. I did initially set it up with a local Controller (not the Cloud Key) but was able to move over the USG pretty seamlessly.  
  6. From there, I started adding in the AP and the Switch. Adoption was easy, just a click of the button.
  7. I upgraded to the latest code and voila, complete with my initial basic setup!

Experience and Testing so far

  1. The deployment was very easy in my opinion and the usability is even easier, maybe even too easy? You can tell Ubiquiti spent a lot of time on the visuals of the UniFi dashboard along with what typical administrators would be configuring.
  2. I think the hardest part was the ramifications of the SSID channel and key change – had to reprogram quite a bit of devices!
  3. I’ve had wireless congestion issues in the past on 11B/G spectrum, so it was great to see some of their insights/stats on congestion. Again, changing the radio channel was very easy. 

Now, for my very scientific (sarcasm) test – before and after wireless speeds.

From my office where all of my gear is, I did a before and after throughput test on my iPhone.

While it’s not an apples to apples comparison as it relates to the gear (I realize the Ubiquiti gear is much newer), I’ve improved my downstream throughput by 2x which is outstanding.

I’m very satisfied with the quality of the Ubiquiti Networks gear and I can tell how it’s caught on in the industry. I plan on adding another 8 port switch and also another AP down the road. I’ll be also carving up VLANs and different networks based on use case. I’m interested to see what else can be done from the USG, looks like I can even configure terminal access.

Thanks!

-Daniel

4 thoughts on “My Deployment Experience with Ubiquiti Networks”

  1. I discovered Unifi about 15 months ago and have moved our whole home network over, (USG, Pro, 1xUAP HD, 2x UAP Pro, 1x Lite, 1 48 port Non POE switch, 3x 8 port switches (2xPOE 1 non POE).
    Best decision I ever made, the whole family have become used to fast, trouble free and reliable wifi.

  2. I call foul on the speed test! 🙂

    The Ubnt one was at 1:11am when sensible people are asleep and not streaming Netflix or Hulu. Only crazy people like us are up at that time so the network should have been much quieter! :-p

    Thanks Daniel, nice write up! I’m looking at moving from my Meraki+ network to Ubiquiti too, so it’s great to see the process before I go shopping.

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