How to use Ubiquiti’s AirLink tool to plan wireless links

To properly select Ubiquiti gear for a point to point or point to multipoint link, this need to do proper planning.  Fortunately, Ubiquiti has a great tool that allows you to try different products in a real-world link simulation to select the right product for your application.

You can begin mapping out your service area using Ubiquiti’s Airlink tool here:

You can plan your backhaul links using this function:

This Youtube video produced shows the features of the Airlink software and how to use it for mapping.

Source: Blog

Updating PoE Standards on the UniFi Product line

Ubiquiti posted this recently and I thought it worth repeating.

UniFi Access Points have always been built to be powered by PoE – it’s convenient, easy to setup and scalable. When we first started producing UniFi nearly 7 years ago, 24v Passive PoE was the standard in the operator space so we opted to use 24v passive for our Enterprise lines (UniFi, EdgeMAX).

UniFi Access Points have always been built to be powered by PoE – it’s convenient, easy to setup and scalable. When we first started producing UniFi nearly 7 years ago, 24v Passive PoE was the standard in the operator space so we opted to use 24v passive for our Enterprise lines (UniFi, EdgeMAX).

Since then, 802.3af and 802.3at PoE technologies have become the standard, especially in the Enterprise space. The 802.3af/at standards provide a number of benefits over 24v passive that improve stability, allow for greater voltage, etc. (For more details on PoE methods/standards see our article on PoE here).

For this reason, we have been intentionally moving our products (UniFi APs, UniFi Switch, UniFi Video, etc.) toward the current standard for some time, and will continue to do so.

  • 802.3af+24V Support for UAP-AC-LR/UAP-AC-LITE
  • Removal of 24V Support from New Production of UniFi Switch Series

While we have produced many devices that support 802.3af/at, a couple of our Access Points (UAP-AC-LITE, UAP-AC-LR) continued supporting only 24V passive. Over the past several months (starting in September 2016) a number of customers have noted the appearance of some UAP-AC-LRs/UAP-AC-LITEs that have a sticker showing “802.3af Compatible” (see top-left of boxes in image below):

This reflects a hardware revision that has been made to make newer UAP-AC-LITEs and UAP-AC-LRs 802.3af compatible in addition to supporting 24V passive. Any device produced with datecode 1638 (September 2016) and up contains this revision and can be powered by any 802.3af power source like the UniFi Switch.

As a part of updating and improving our products, we will continue to transition away from 24V passive PoE and prioritizing standards. To this end, already-produced switch units with 24V PoE support will retain it, while all future production starting on July 1st 2017 will be 802.3af/at only (across all UniFi Switch models). As existing stock at distributors/resellers/etc. will remain 24V+802.3af stock for some time (until it sells out), this transition will be gradual, with our goal of simplifying UniFi PoE to standards.

This update to the UAP-AC-LR/LITE has been made to ensure that these devices can continue to benefit from updated technology and be deployed with industry standard PoE.

AC-LITE and AC-LR Change Summary

  • The only change made to the AC-LITE and AC-LR devices was the introduction of 802.3af compatibility, as of September 2016.
  • This will not affect the performance of the devices in any way.
  • This modification was added to add stability/consistency to product line at no additional cost to customers.
  • These updated devices will continue to permit 24V passive.

UniFi Switch Change Summary

  • The only change made to the UniFi Switch series is the removal of 24V output support.  Models with 24V support removed will start production July 2017:
    – US-8-150W
    – US-16-150W
    – US-24-250W
    – US-24-500W
    – US-48-500W
    – US-48-750W
  • All new UniFi Switch models will also not have 24V support.

This transition is by popular request of UniFi users.  We intentionally rolled 802.3af support into the UAP-AC-LITE and UAP-AC-LR (starting Sept. 2016) nine months before initiating removal of 24V from new production of the UniFi Switches (starting July 2017) to lessen the impact of the transition.

The post Updating PoE Standards on the UniFi Product line appeared first on Steve Discher.

Source: Blog

Ubiquiti airVision, airCams & “Unsupported Firmware” Errors

I have always been a big fan of the Ubiquiti AirVision-2 software and especially the  AirVision-C NVR.  I have an installation at my office, my home and my cabin in Colorado.   Many of you have seen the images and video I have captured of the huge Elk that hang out at our cabin in Estes Park.  Today, I went to check on our home in Texas and I was greeted by this:
Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 7.47.17 AM
“Unsupported Firmware” simply means the version of firmware running on the cameras is no longer compatible with AirVision.  In my case this happened automatically because I had the settings configured to automatically check for firmware updates and install them.

When Ubiquiti introduced the UniFi cameras, they also released UniFi Video, not compatible with airVision firmwares.  Apparently, there is no mechanism in place to prevent the upgrade to the UniFi Video software so the cameras upgraded and thereby broke my airVision installation.  Of course, I have the auto-upgrade feature enabled at all three locations so it was time to upgrade my airVision NVR appliances, X 3.

Since Ubiquiti uses Debian Linux as the operating system for their NVR, the first step is always to upgrade the base OS.  The ensure the new Ubiquiti software has access to the latest libraries and especially to the latest Java.

To upgrade the OS, it is a two step process.  First is to issue a command that checks for and makes a list of up-datable packages and secondly to actually download and install the updates.  This needs to be done from the command line, so if you are running Windows, you will need to download an SSH terminal emulator like Putty.  Putty.exe can be downloaded with a quick Google search and is a stand alone executable.

In the address blank in Putty, type the IP address of your airVision NVR and click connect.  The default user name is root and the password is ubnt.
If you have changed the default credentials, you are on your own.  Once you have the shell open, execute the following command:

apt-get update

This will work for a while and return you to the shell command prompt.  Next, issue:

apt-get upgrade

This is an interactive command and will ask for confirmation to download and install the updates.

Once the update is done, 5-10 minutes depending on your connection speed, and you have been returned to the command prompt. Next you need to download the unifi-video software from The one you want is for Debian:

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 10.11.33 PM

Since you have downloaded the file to your laptop, you need to get it to the NVR. I use scp under Mac, but you can use FileZilla, a free FTP/SCP client.  Using Filezilla, upload the file to the NVR.  The directory /root is as good a place as any to store it.  Once you have the update file on the NVR, issue the following commands to install the UniFi Video upgrade:

sudo dpkg -i unifi-video*.deb; sudo apt-get install -f

Once the upgrade is done, you will no longer have airVision, but instead, have the newer and upgraded UniFi Video.  All videos will be transferred and converted and you should not lose any settings.

All three upgrades went flawlessly using this method but the eternal pessimist should make a copy of his or her /usr/lib/unifi directory prior to the upgrade.  You can make a tar backup using this command:

tar -cfz /usr/lib/unifi /usr/lib/unifi.tar.gz

If you don’t know what tar is or how to recover using a tar file, find a friend that knows Linux or seek help on the Ubiquiti forums.

Once the upgrade is done and the existing videos have been upgraded (again, this could take 5-10 minutes), you should get a revised login screen like this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 10.17.50 PM

As usual, your mileage may vary and I am sure there will be exceptions but this one worked for me as written.  If you have issues, the forums are always a good place to start. Good luck and enjoy Ubiquiti UniFi Video.

MikroTik, Ubiquiti and WISP Learning Center

This is an idea that has been long in the making, a single repository of technical information where you as a user can go to get the information you need quickly about MikroTik, Ubiquiti or other WISP topics.  Yes, most manufacturers have wiki’s but our is different because we post articles about the most often asked questions, tips and tricks we have learned as WISPs.  Check it out at
Have a suggestion for an article?  Please let me know by emailing me.

Improved Ubiquiti airCam Mount From RFElements

If you have ever used Ubiquiti airCams, you know how powerful they are and how the low price point makes them perfect for almost any security application.  One area where we have seen some weakness is the mounting system.  I wrote about this briefly last month but now that we have these in stock and not just the prototypes, I thought it worth rehashing.
Although it fully articulates, the stock mount is not very strong and in high wind conditions, the camera will move causing false motion detection.

RFElements has a new product, the AbraCam Mount which makes these cameras extremely stable in outdoor environments.

The mounts come in three designs, all less than $15 each and they turn these powerful, low cost cameras into high end, professional looking and performing devices. As a test, I took 4 and installed them in Colorado in an area in the mountains that regularly experiences mountain winds coming off the continental Divide in excess of 100 mph.  The site was really getting weary from tons of false motion detects as the airCams swayed in the wind.  The results of the new mounts were great, no more false positives at all.  The cameras are rock stead and easy to adjust.  This is a hot product so come and get some before the first shipment disappears.

Improved Ubiquiti airVision Camera Mount

Th problem is simple: High winds + Ubiquiti airVision airCam cameras = shaky video or sometimes worse!

Ubiquiti airCam Photo

What’s that a picture of you ask?  Same thing I thought when I went to view one of the test cameras we had mounted at our cabin in Estes Park, Colorado.  There the winds routinely reach 75 miles per hour with gusts over a hundred.  At 7500 feet of elevation and just across the continental divide, this area next to Giant Track mountain is affectionately called the wind tunnel and the simple plastic mounts that came with the Ubiquiti airCam could not handle it.

Fortunately, RF Elements has a solution, the AbraCam mount.  This mount is constructed of cast aluminum and all weather plastic.  Other features include:

  • Seamless Camera Positioning using Ball Hinge
  • Quick & Easy Installation
  • Improved Picture Stability
  • Outdoor or Indoor Use
  • Wall or Pole Mounting
  • Cast Aluminum Bracket

Here is the Abracam mount in action:

RF Elements Abracam2 RF Elements Abracam

This mount is easier to use, looks more professional and should outlast the camera itself.  We have some on order and they should be in stock soon at ISP Supplies.  Reserve yours today HERE.


Ubiquiti Unifi UAP-Pro – What 5GHz Channels Are Supported?

I recently was asked by a customer to assist with planning a Ubiquiti UniFi installation in a large church auditorium.  The customer wanted to be able to support the maximum number of users in the large open area that seated 5,000 people.  The challenge with this type of installation is that you do not have the benefit of walls to block signal from adjacent AP’s.  What I mean is that if you want to limit the number of users to say no more than 50 per AP, this means you would need 10 AP’s to handle 500 concurrent users.  That itself is not an issue but 10 AP’s in the same physical room with only 3 non-overlapping channels in the 2.4 GHz spectrum is an issue.  If these AP’s were say 3 to a room with walls between the rooms, the challenge would be much easier because the walls would block enough signal (hopefully) to not cause self interference.  In this application, that was not an option.

Our approach was this.  First, accept slightly overlapping channels for the 2.4 GHz AP’s.  This has been done for years on WISP towers and it isn’t optimal but it is workable.  In this scenario, we put 4 AP’s on channels 1-4-7-11.  There is a few MHz of overlap and self interference but we also have increased our number of users to a total of 200 now or 50 clients X 4 AP’s.

Next, we elected to use UniFi AP-Pro’s since they employ dual band, 2.4/5 GHz radios.  The assumption is dual band capable devices will use 5Ghz if available over 2.4 GHz.

So, that leads me to the real purpose of this post. I wondered how many channels the UniFi AP-Pro will support. I searched the wiki, the manual, and nowhere could I find that documented. Now that I have written that, I am sure someone will point it out to me.  So, to get the answer I had to power up a UAP-Pro, allow it to be adopted by my UniFi Controller and presto I had my answer.

A total of 9 channel are supported on 5GHz with the Pro’s.  So, we configured 5 AP’s to use the bottom 5 channels and the 2.4 GHz AP’s with the upper 4 channels for a total of  13 radios which we hope will support at least 50 users each for a total of 650 users in one room.  Will this work? I hope so!  I will let you know.