Unifi AP users - to controller or not to controller

Hi all-

Apologies for the hyper specific question, but I know a lot (some?) people here also use Ubiquiti Unifi access points like the ones we run at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. I'm hoping a similar installation at another co working space may lend clues.

We have a simple network with four APs providing wireless service. A Sonic Wall creates the network and hands out IPs.

We've had issues every so often, but seems more frequent now, where the APs go offline for a few minutes. Eventually the APs come back and are adopted again. During the outages there's no drop in Wifi signal but the connectivity to the internet disappears.

We don't have a permanent controller and don't use any of the features that require one. Could the lack of controller be the problem? Other ideas?

I've been searching the Ubiquiti forums until my fingers bleed and have yet to find any good answers, so I appreciate any insights.

-bryan

+1 805 712 0311
@bryanboyer

Specific questions are the best kind of questions :slight_smile:

We’ve been using Unifi APs for over 18 months and we’ve not experienced problems like that. If you’ve not already posted to the Ubiquiti forums I’d encourage you to post there as well.

From what you’ve described it sounds most likely that the problem is with your Sonic Wall - could it have run out of IP addresses, be restarting at that time or upgrading it’s firmware? The only time I can think of our APs behaving anything like that is during a firmware upgrade but I think that’s only possible when they are connected to a controller.

We’ve had a controller almost the entire time we’ve had the APs, initially on a local MacMini and now on a super cheap Amazon EC2 micro instance. While it’s great that the APs don’t depend on the controller being available (I failed to notice when the Mac Mini was turned off for a week) they do perform better when it is. That’s even clearer now that more recent firmware supports seamless roaming between APs as people move around the space.

So, while I’m not sure it will directly solve your problem, I would recommend getting a controller set up and making sure the firmware is up to date on all your APs.

Hope this is some help.

Jon

···

On 20 May 2015 at 22:56, Bryan Boyer [email protected] wrote:

Hi all-

Apologies for the hyper specific question, but I know a lot (some?) people here also use Ubiquiti Unifi access points like the ones we run at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. I’m hoping a similar installation at another co working space may lend clues.

We have a simple network with four APs providing wireless service. A Sonic Wall creates the network and hands out IPs.

We’ve had issues every so often, but seems more frequent now, where the APs go offline for a few minutes. Eventually the APs come back and are adopted again. During the outages there’s no drop in Wifi signal but the connectivity to the internet disappears.

We don’t have a permanent controller and don’t use any of the features that require one. Could the lack of controller be the problem? Other ideas?

I’ve been searching the Ubiquiti forums until my fingers bleed and have yet to find any good answers, so I appreciate any insights.

-bryan

+1 805 712 0311

@bryanboyer

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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Jonathan Markwell

Lessons learned building better workplaces: http://jonathanmarkwell.com

Work better in Brighton: http://theskiff.org

Coworking community with workspace in North Laine.

Find your coworking community: http://worksnug.com

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Ship your digital product: http://coderfounders.com

Coaching for businesses that want to make money while they sleep.

+44 (0)7766 021 485
skype: jlmarkwell | twitter: http://twitter.com/jot

We had something similar happening with our Unifi APs: the ISP connectivity dropped but WiFi just fine for ~3 to 10min. And then everything was cool again for the day. Thought it was the ISP at first because of the regularity and because the network stayed up. After some troubleshooting we figured out that the controller was the issue. In our case, the software was out of date and we had it hosted on a remote machine (free tech support requires compromises), but keeping it updated and on site has resolved the issue.

We still have a hiccup on occasion, but it is not nearly as consistent and a ~monthly AP reboot cycle sorts it out. We will likely just automate the reboot cycle.

Good luck!

Yea, we had that same problem here at The Factory (workthefactory.com). There’s some discussion that happened earlier over at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/coworking/e8lywtX02h8 as well.

I was a huge fan of Ubiquiti until I started experiencing this problem and ended up switching to http://meraki.cisco.com. I wasn’t able to narrow down the problem but most people end up rebooting on a schedule (which seems lame).

···

Aaron Schaap

The Factory - www.workthefactory.com

@schaapy and @coFactory

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 6:00:39 PM UTC-4, Bryan Boyer wrote:

Hi all-

Apologies for the hyper specific question, but I know a lot (some?) people here also use Ubiquiti Unifi access points like the ones we run at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. I’m hoping a similar installation at another co working space may lend clues.

We have a simple network with four APs providing wireless service. A Sonic Wall creates the network and hands out IPs.

We’ve had issues every so often, but seems more frequent now, where the APs go offline for a few minutes. Eventually the APs come back and are adopted again. During the outages there’s no drop in Wifi signal but the connectivity to the internet disappears.

We don’t have a permanent controller and don’t use any of the features that require one. Could the lack of controller be the problem? Other ideas?

I’ve been searching the Ubiquiti forums until my fingers bleed and have yet to find any good answers, so I appreciate any insights.

-bryan

+1 805 712 0311

@bryanboyer

Thanks, Jonathan, Tim, Aaron. We’re going to try an onsite controller and see if that helps…

Tim, to answer your questions:

  • Don’t think Sonic Wall is running out of IPs. We usually have around 20-40 people, so even with multiple devices each, we have plenty of room on the internal network.

  • Not sure if the Sonic Wall is restarting this regularly, but I will check logs. Do you (or anyone else) have recommendations for some sort of connectivity uptime monitor? I’d like to run something on a wired connection to see if/when the connection to the internet drops. We’re using FIOS.

best regards,

-bryan

···

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 6:00:39 PM UTC-4, Bryan Boyer wrote:

Hi all-

Apologies for the hyper specific question, but I know a lot (some?) people here also use Ubiquiti Unifi access points like the ones we run at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. I’m hoping a similar installation at another co working space may lend clues.

We have a simple network with four APs providing wireless service. A Sonic Wall creates the network and hands out IPs.

We’ve had issues every so often, but seems more frequent now, where the APs go offline for a few minutes. Eventually the APs come back and are adopted again. During the outages there’s no drop in Wifi signal but the connectivity to the internet disappears.

We don’t have a permanent controller and don’t use any of the features that require one. Could the lack of controller be the problem? Other ideas?

I’ve been searching the Ubiquiti forums until my fingers bleed and have yet to find any good answers, so I appreciate any insights.

-bryan

+1 805 712 0311

@bryanboyer

I’m about to go the opposite direction as Aaron did. In the next week or so I’ll be swapping out my Meraki APs for Ubiquiti. I’ve had issues with the Meraki cloud controller not being accessible and, despite being configured otherwise, the APs prevent anyone from getting on WiFi when that happens.

Back to the UniFi question, I’d like to know what model of the UniFi APs you’re using to see if the problem is on a specific model or if it’s across their entire product line.

As a way of troubleshooting situations where WiFi is up but Internet connectivity appears to be down, I have our music system connected to the Internet via ethernet cable. This lets me do a quick check when someone asks if the internet is down. If I can hear music, the problem isn’t with our router, modem, or our ISP. That narrows it down to WiFi or their machine.

Glen Ferguson

Phone: 301-732-5165

Email: [email protected]

Website: http://coworkfrederick.com

Address: 122 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701

···

On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 8:43 AM, Aaron Schaap [email protected] wrote:

Yea, we had that same problem here at The Factory (workthefactory.com). There’s some discussion that happened earlier over at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/coworking/e8lywtX02h8 as well.

I was a huge fan of Ubiquiti until I started experiencing this problem and ended up switching to http://meraki.cisco.com. I wasn’t able to narrow down the problem but most people end up rebooting on a schedule (which seems lame).


Aaron Schaap

The Factory - www.workthefactory.com

@schaapy and @coFactory

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 6:00:39 PM UTC-4, Bryan Boyer wrote:

Hi all-

Apologies for the hyper specific question, but I know a lot (some?) people here also use Ubiquiti Unifi access points like the ones we run at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. I’m hoping a similar installation at another co working space may lend clues.

We have a simple network with four APs providing wireless service. A Sonic Wall creates the network and hands out IPs.

We’ve had issues every so often, but seems more frequent now, where the APs go offline for a few minutes. Eventually the APs come back and are adopted again. During the outages there’s no drop in Wifi signal but the connectivity to the internet disappears.

We don’t have a permanent controller and don’t use any of the features that require one. Could the lack of controller be the problem? Other ideas?

I’ve been searching the Ubiquiti forums until my fingers bleed and have yet to find any good answers, so I appreciate any insights.

-bryan

+1 805 712 0311

@bryanboyer

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

I am really a fan for the Unifi AP and we use at coSfera (http://www.cosfera.es) since the very beginning. First with a pfsense, then with a Mikrotik as router. First with a physical machine, now with an EC2 Amazon instance as controller.

The problems we have experienced with the APs that caused our wifi go down were caused mainly by my own laptop being a controller (so everytime the laptop gets connected to the internet the APs were provisioning), POE cables failing (we switch cables and everything went ok), two many devices per AP (more than 30 and you’ll begin to experience problems) and router running out of memory (caused by a captive portal, so we switched to the mikrotik).

Hope its help!

···

El jueves, 21 de mayo de 2015, 15:20:19 (UTC+2), Glen Ferguson escribió:

I’m about to go the opposite direction as Aaron did. In the next week or so I’ll be swapping out my Meraki APs for Ubiquiti. I’ve had issues with the Meraki cloud controller not being accessible and, despite being configured otherwise, the APs prevent anyone from getting on WiFi when that happens.

Back to the UniFi question, I’d like to know what model of the UniFi APs you’re using to see if the problem is on a specific model or if it’s across their entire product line.

As a way of troubleshooting situations where WiFi is up but Internet connectivity appears to be down, I have our music system connected to the Internet via ethernet cable. This lets me do a quick check when someone asks if the internet is down. If I can hear music, the problem isn’t with our router, modem, or our ISP. That narrows it down to WiFi or their machine.

Glen Ferguson

Phone: 301-732-5165

Email: [email protected]

Website: http://coworkfrederick.com

Address: 122 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701

On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 8:43 AM, Aaron Schaap [email protected] wrote:

Yea, we had that same problem here at The Factory (workthefactory.com). There’s some discussion that happened earlier over at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/coworking/e8lywtX02h8 as well.

I was a huge fan of Ubiquiti until I started experiencing this problem and ended up switching to http://meraki.cisco.com. I wasn’t able to narrow down the problem but most people end up rebooting on a schedule (which seems lame).


Aaron Schaap

The Factory - www.workthefactory.com

@schaapy and @coFactory

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 6:00:39 PM UTC-4, Bryan Boyer wrote:

Hi all-

Apologies for the hyper specific question, but I know a lot (some?) people here also use Ubiquiti Unifi access points like the ones we run at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. I’m hoping a similar installation at another co working space may lend clues.

We have a simple network with four APs providing wireless service. A Sonic Wall creates the network and hands out IPs.

We’ve had issues every so often, but seems more frequent now, where the APs go offline for a few minutes. Eventually the APs come back and are adopted again. During the outages there’s no drop in Wifi signal but the connectivity to the internet disappears.

We don’t have a permanent controller and don’t use any of the features that require one. Could the lack of controller be the problem? Other ideas?

I’ve been searching the Ubiquiti forums until my fingers bleed and have yet to find any good answers, so I appreciate any insights.

-bryan

+1 805 712 0311

@bryanboyer

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

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Glen, smart move with the music on wired connection to suss out where the issues are. To your question, we only have AP Pros, so that’s where the issue has been.

Miguel, you’re making me think maybe we have too many devices on one AP. I figured that the AP would refuse new devices but allow all of the current ones to continue. But if you’re suggesting that the AP gets overloaded and freaks out, that could be our issue.

-bryan

···

+1 805 712 0311 (NYC, usually)
@bryanboyer

On May 24, 2015, at 5:59 AM, Miguel Calero [email protected] wrote:

I am really a fan for the Unifi AP and we use at coSfera (http://www.cosfera.es) since the very beginning. First with a pfsense, then with a Mikrotik as router. First with a physical machine, now with an EC2 Amazon instance as controller.

The problems we have experienced with the APs that caused our wifi go down were caused mainly by my own laptop being a controller (so everytime the laptop gets connected to the internet the APs were provisioning), POE cables failing (we switch cables and everything went ok), two many devices per AP (more than 30 and you’ll begin to experience problems) and router running out of memory (caused by a captive portal, so we switched to the mikrotik).

Hope its help!

El jueves, 21 de mayo de 2015, 15:20:19 (UTC+2), Glen Ferguson escribió:

I’m about to go the opposite direction as Aaron did. In the next week or so I’ll be swapping out my Meraki APs for Ubiquiti. I’ve had issues with the Meraki cloud controller not being accessible and, despite being configured otherwise, the APs prevent anyone from getting on WiFi when that happens.

Back to the UniFi question, I’d like to know what model of the UniFi APs you’re using to see if the problem is on a specific model or if it’s across their entire product line.

As a way of troubleshooting situations where WiFi is up but Internet connectivity appears to be down, I have our music system connected to the Internet via ethernet cable. This lets me do a quick check when someone asks if the internet is down. If I can hear music, the problem isn’t with our router, modem, or our ISP. That narrows it down to WiFi or their machine.

Glen Ferguson

Phone: 301-732-5165

Email: gl…@coworkfrederick.com

Website: http://coworkfrederick.com

Address: 122 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701

On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 8:43 AM, Aaron Schaap <aa…@elevatorup.com> wrote:

Yea, we had that same problem here at The Factory (workthefactory.com). There’s some discussion that happened earlier over at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/coworking/e8lywtX02h8 as well.

I was a huge fan of Ubiquiti until I started experiencing this problem and ended up switching to http://meraki.cisco.com. I wasn’t able to narrow down the problem but most people end up rebooting on a schedule (which seems lame).


Aaron Schaap

The Factory - www.workthefactory.com

@schaapy and @coFactory

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 6:00:39 PM UTC-4, Bryan Boyer wrote:

Hi all-

Apologies for the hyper specific question, but I know a lot (some?) people here also use Ubiquiti Unifi access points like the ones we run at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. I’m hoping a similar installation at another co working space may lend clues.

We have a simple network with four APs providing wireless service. A Sonic Wall creates the network and hands out IPs.

We’ve had issues every so often, but seems more frequent now, where the APs go offline for a few minutes. Eventually the APs come back and are adopted again. During the outages there’s no drop in Wifi signal but the connectivity to the internet disappears.

We don’t have a permanent controller and don’t use any of the features that require one. Could the lack of controller be the problem? Other ideas?

I’ve been searching the Ubiquiti forums until my fingers bleed and have yet to find any good answers, so I appreciate any insights.

-bryan

+1 805 712 0311
@bryanboyer


Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.
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Great observations Miguel!

A few more details about our setup which might also contribute to us not having the issues others describe:

  • We have 6 Unifi UAP-PROs

  • They comfortably serve ~100 devices in total per day.

  • I don’t think we’ve ever had more than 30 clients on one AP in a day - usually it’s under 20 per AP.

  • The size of our space is ~2,900 sq ft

  • Here’s a screenshot from our controller showing the locations of our APs:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0fpc6k0875xs31e/Screenshot%202015-05-24%2017.38.01.png?dl=0

Two of the best features of these APs are:

  1. They are relatively cheap

  2. You can’t have too many - they regulate their own power levels and channels so they don’t interfere with each other.

As a rule of thumb I’m thinking a minimum of one AP for every 10 desks plus one for every 2 meeting rooms.

Jon

PS You might notice from the screenshot that one of our APs is currently offline. It turns out it’s been accidentally unplugged. There’s so much redundancy in our network that we’d not noticed for a week - the logs show it went offline on 15th May.

···

On 24 May 2015 at 17:15, Bryan Boyer [email protected] wrote:

Glen, smart move with the music on wired connection to suss out where the issues are. To your question, we only have AP Pros, so that’s where the issue has been.

Miguel, you’re making me think maybe we have too many devices on one AP. I figured that the AP would refuse new devices but allow all of the current ones to continue. But if you’re suggesting that the AP gets overloaded and freaks out, that could be our issue.

-bryan


+1 805 712 0311 (NYC, usually)
@bryanboyer

On May 24, 2015, at 5:59 AM, Miguel Calero [email protected] wrote:

I am really a fan for the Unifi AP and we use at coSfera (http://www.cosfera.es) since the very beginning. First with a pfsense, then with a Mikrotik as router. First with a physical machine, now with an EC2 Amazon instance as controller.

The problems we have experienced with the APs that caused our wifi go down were caused mainly by my own laptop being a controller (so everytime the laptop gets connected to the internet the APs were provisioning), POE cables failing (we switch cables and everything went ok), two many devices per AP (more than 30 and you’ll begin to experience problems) and router running out of memory (caused by a captive portal, so we switched to the mikrotik).

Hope its help!

El jueves, 21 de mayo de 2015, 15:20:19 (UTC+2), Glen Ferguson escribió:

I’m about to go the opposite direction as Aaron did. In the next week or so I’ll be swapping out my Meraki APs for Ubiquiti. I’ve had issues with the Meraki cloud controller not being accessible and, despite being configured otherwise, the APs prevent anyone from getting on WiFi when that happens.

Back to the UniFi question, I’d like to know what model of the UniFi APs you’re using to see if the problem is on a specific model or if it’s across their entire product line.

As a way of troubleshooting situations where WiFi is up but Internet connectivity appears to be down, I have our music system connected to the Internet via ethernet cable. This lets me do a quick check when someone asks if the internet is down. If I can hear music, the problem isn’t with our router, modem, or our ISP. That narrows it down to WiFi or their machine.

Glen Ferguson

Phone: 301-732-5165

Email: gl…@coworkfrederick.com

Website: http://coworkfrederick.com

Address: 122 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701

On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 8:43 AM, Aaron Schaap <aa…@elevatorup.com> wrote:

Yea, we had that same problem here at The Factory (workthefactory.com). There’s some discussion that happened earlier over at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/coworking/e8lywtX02h8 as well.

I was a huge fan of Ubiquiti until I started experiencing this problem and ended up switching to http://meraki.cisco.com. I wasn’t able to narrow down the problem but most people end up rebooting on a schedule (which seems lame).


Aaron Schaap

The Factory - www.workthefactory.com

@schaapy and @coFactory

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 6:00:39 PM UTC-4, Bryan Boyer wrote:

Hi all-

Apologies for the hyper specific question, but I know a lot (some?) people here also use Ubiquiti Unifi access points like the ones we run at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. I’m hoping a similar installation at another co working space may lend clues.

We have a simple network with four APs providing wireless service. A Sonic Wall creates the network and hands out IPs.

We’ve had issues every so often, but seems more frequent now, where the APs go offline for a few minutes. Eventually the APs come back and are adopted again. During the outages there’s no drop in Wifi signal but the connectivity to the internet disappears.

We don’t have a permanent controller and don’t use any of the features that require one. Could the lack of controller be the problem? Other ideas?

I’ve been searching the Ubiquiti forums until my fingers bleed and have yet to find any good answers, so I appreciate any insights.

-bryan

+1 805 712 0311
@bryanboyer


Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com

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Jonathan Markwell

Lessons learned building better workplaces: http://jonathanmarkwell.com

Work better in Brighton: http://theskiff.org

Coworking community with workspace in North Laine.

Find your coworking community: http://worksnug.com

Worldwide workspace directory that puts communities first.

Ship your digital product: http://coderfounders.com

Coaching for businesses that want to make money while they sleep.

+44 (0)7766 021 485
skype: jlmarkwell | twitter: http://twitter.com/jot