A while back, I purchased a Meraki MX60w security appliance to act as a gateway between the house, home lab, and WAN segments. It’s a rock solid choice that continues to run in production. However, the wireless feature was fairly lackluster. I’m certainly not a wireless professional, but I would expect the signal to propagate nicely into a small apartment. Instead, I had signal issues just going from one room to the next. Fiddling around with the settings did not bear fruit, either.
I decided to keep the security appliance, remove the wireless feature (unscrew the antennas and disable the SSID), and purchase a very popular wireless product from Ubiquiti: the UniFi AP AC Pro.
Out of the box, it looks like a white flying saucer with a blue ring around it and is designed to be incredibly simple and robust. These are two important features for anything that goes into my house.
Power is provided by either the included power injector or a PoE switch. Because I have only one AP, and already have a fairly nice Cisco SG300-52 switch (write-up here), I opted to go with the power injector.
The thing is essentially stateless. Management and configuration is provided by a controller application that runs on my workstation. It immediately found the AP and allowed me to push a configuration.
There really isn’t much to it. I didn’t fiddle with any of the advanced settings because the AP worked out of the box and I don’t want to turn nerd knobs for zero reason. I supplied a name for the AP and some details on the wireless network. The AP rebooted itself, came online, and started serving requests.
Because I used the same SSID and password as the previous wireless network, all of my devices just hopped back on. Now, however, they had full signal. I can see this on a per-client basis in the UniFi Controller. As an example, here’s my phone from several rooms away where the Meraki would lose signal entirely. 🙂
There are a ton of other whiz-bang features, but all I was really looking for was an AP that works everywhere and doesn’t require me to do anything special. With the UniFi AP AC Pro, I found that. I have it plugged directly into the Meraki as the upstream gateway on its own LAN segment, along with a guest SSID for those that I don’t want on my home lab networks. It’s been about a month and I’m really pleased with this AP, especially if I want to grow into more APs because the configuration is pushed to any other devices that I connect into the fabric.
This AP has made working on the home lab via my various wireless devices much less painful, and I can now sit out on the lawn and do some PowerShell coding if desired. 🙂