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nizce
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Wifi planning

Sun Apr 07, 2024 11:48 pm

Hi!

Haven't used any Mikrotik products for 10 years but thought I'd get back into it :)
Moving to a house which is 145m2 and thinking about buying 2x(or 3?) CAP ax if can do the job, and using a RB5009UPR+S+IN as a router and firewall(probably overkill).

Does anyone know if there is a free or cheap tool for private use for placement planning?
Since the CAP ax is ceiling mounted I guess it's not optimal to just place them on the floor to test out the best placement(before drilling holes in the ceiling) :)
One option is to place them in the attic(it's a 1-floor house), but guessing that's far from optimal.
 
infabo
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 08, 2024 12:33 am

It depends on your needs (aka requirements). I am covering a even larger area with a CAP AC and it's totally fine (for me).
One option is to place them in the attic(it's a 1-floor house), but guessing that's far from optimal.
I guess this is a very bad idea. But could work if your floor/ceiling is made of wood (or something like).
 
nizce
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 08, 2024 1:30 am

Hi,

Thanks :)
The roof to the attic is plasterboard(don't know if this is the correct English term :)) I think, so I'll. give it a try.
Think I'll end up with 2x APs, the most used rooms are in the opposite direction of the house(office and living room).

Just found out that ubiquiti has an online tool for planning placement(still have a couple of old unifi APs). Not sure which unifi model best corresponds to the CAP ax though.
 
maigonis
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 08, 2024 1:44 am

Firstly think about your requirements, because end device and user requirements will lead planning process. For example, in living room you will have your laptops, tablets, smart TV etc, kitchen might need WiFi only for TV, smart fridge, maybe some smart light bulbs, and back yard will need WiFi for just connectivity for phone and soil moisture sensor. So:

1. Room needs the best WiFi, hi throughput, low latency, dedicated 5ghz band channel for those demanding devices and tasks. So AP deployed in line of sight for best signal quality preferably in middle of the room for even distribution. Hi, sustained modulations on devices and low frame transmit retry count will utilize airtime most effectively.

2. Kitchen could be fine whit AP behind walls, but still need moderate 5ghz band signal for good video streaming on TV, IoT devices have low throughput requirements and work usually on 2ghz band, so they can tolerate lower quality signal levels and still function fine, including your fridge.

3. Back yard in this case can be fine whit AP located in spot that covers most of yard, low gain APs (all indoor) are omnidirectional, so they can cover a lot when deployed accordingly. Those small IoT devices can function fine even when you barely can open web page on phone, so soil sensor, even on back side of the yard, still can function fine. If you will have clear line of sight phone can function quite far from AP to view those cat videos.

I strongly suggest don't think about this in terms: "Hmmm - 150m2, lets do one AP per 50m2". Your requirements may require AP in every room you have in house (that makes sense). Obstacles absorb WiFi signal, so thick walls can drive this decision. Antenna gain vary between devices, as result WiFi experience can still be bad on you phone, because AP might transmit signal to your phone just fine, but it barely can hear your phone behind those walls. Common scenario for this: You can open web pages fine, but video call sux. (Thats because upload from you phone to AP is bad, real time data is the most sensitive (usually) to network problems).

There is more to know, but I tried to summarize at least some things to consider when planning WiFi deployments and not shooting yourself in foot.
 
nizce
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 08, 2024 1:58 am

There is more to know, but I tried to summarize at least some things to consider when planning WiFi deployments and not shooting yourself in foot.
Thank you!
Many things to take in consideration which I've missed, for example the back yard.

The problem I see is to how to determine the amount of APs most likely needed and their placement.
On the other hand I don't exactly know the signal strength I need in a specific room in terms of figures, but a guesstimate would come a long way.
I know which rooms will need very fast/optimal connection in(office and livingroom) and which to not. And this is a home environment, so nothing too crazy :)
So if there's some free or cheap(not enteprise) software that could guide me, it'd make it a lot easier.
Otherwise I guess I need to buy 1x AP and move it all around and measure through the house, buy another one and move both around and so on to try.
 
infabo
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 08, 2024 10:09 am

So if there's some free or cheap(not enteprise) software that could guide me, it'd make it a lot easier.
Such a software must be like CAD where you can "draw" your home layout (walls, etc.) and it can give you a rough "rough indication". I am not a professional, so I don't know if such a software exists in reality. But even if it exists, you really need knowledge of the inside of your walls basically. What are they made of? Some walls could even contain metal or other absorbing/reflecting/interfering material? Then there is your furniture. Can't do that realiable in a software. "here is a wardrobe" -> nope, wardrobe is not "standardized". Then if you would need to cover multi story -> what's in the floor/ceiling? You see -> how super-intelligent must this software be? It would have to "scan" your house magically or you - as the user of the software - must have deep knowledge of your building structure.

Theory is one thing. Measuring is king.
 
infabo
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 08, 2024 10:12 am

The roof to the attic is plasterboard(don't know if this is the correct English term :)) I think, so I'll. give it a try.
I guess this has lots of metal construction where the plasterboard is attached to.

https://www.signalboosters.com/blog/mat ... i-signals/
 
maigonis
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 08, 2024 10:19 am

So if there's some free or cheap(not enteprise) software that could guide me, it'd make it a lot easier.
Such a software must be like CAD where you can "draw" your home layout (walls, etc.) and it can give you a rough "rough indication". I am not a professional, so I don't know if such a software exists in reality. But even if it exists, you really need knowledge of the inside of your walls basically. What are they made of? Some walls could even contain metal or other absorbing/reflecting/interfering material? Then there is your furniture. Can't do that realiable in a software. "here is a wardrobe" -> nope, wardrobe is not "standardized". Then if you would need to cover multi story -> what's in the floor/ceiling? You see -> how super-intelligent must this software be? It would have to "scan" your house magically or you - as the user of the software - must have deep knowledge of your building structure.

Theory is one thing. Measuring is king.
That app is called Ekahau, its a very expensive commercial software. But as you say, it needs to know wall type, thickness and other obstacles. All that you need to draw in and it will indeed give you just estimate. I have access to it and I planned network for my work (a public school), but even then it was more a guide, not "blindly follow" type of software. Dont get me wrong, it is great software, at least for learning, but still you need to understand WiFi yourself and use it as opinion.

In this case best way for OP is to buy one AP and measure stuff, will learn how your walls and other obstacles impact signal straight. The more throughput, stability and sustainability station needs (end device), the closer to AP it must be. Again, not set in stone, but overall. In your case living room and office most likely will need dedicated APs.
Last edited by maigonis on Tue Apr 09, 2024 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
jaclaz
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 08, 2024 11:56 pm

Search for Wi-Fi planner or Wi-Fi designer.
A few manufacturers provide free tools for preliminary planning.
The issue might be getting actual valid data about the capabilities of other manufacturers devices.
Example:
https://tools.dlink.com/intro/wfp/

It seems that the CapAx, being a device intended to be mounted on a ceiling has a radiation shape vaguely emispherical, more likely a spherical cap.

So there should be not that much difference in range at half the height of a room (1.50 m) between a Cap Ax screwed to the ceiling and one laid on the floor upside down.

Your initial idea seems not too absurd to me.
 
UkRainUa
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Re: Wifi planning

Wed Apr 10, 2024 12:56 pm


Just found out that ubiquiti has an online tool for planning placement(still have a couple of old unifi APs). Not sure which unifi model best corresponds to the CAP ax though.
Yes, you can use ui online tool or ui controller for planning...
Let's compare the specs, Cap AX with U6+ (for example):
https://mikrotik.com/product/cap_ax
Antenna gain dBi for 2.4 GHz 6
Transmit (dBm) 24
Antenna gain dBi for 5 GHz 5.5
Transmit (dBm) 24
https://store.ui.com/us/en/pro/category ... ts/u6-plus
Max. TX power
23 dBm
23 dBm
Antenna gain
2.4 GHz - 3 dBi
5 GHz - 5.4 dBi
So, you will get a little more in 2,4GHz with CAP AX, or you can use less transmitter power
(a good practice for several AP's installed close to each other and more wifi clients will prefer to use the 5GHz band)
 
nizce
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Re: Wifi planning

Thu Apr 11, 2024 12:34 am

Thanks for all the answers and great input!
I'll try out the ubiquity planning tool with U6 + to make a rough initial planning, and then place the 2x cap ax on the floor and do some measurements, before mounting the smoke detectors :)
 
infabo
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Re: Wifi planning

Thu Apr 11, 2024 1:55 pm

CAP AXs are oversized smoke detectors. :lol:

Recently I compared CAP AC and Unifi U6+ in my home. The U6+'s housing feels more premium (aluminum base, high-quality plastic) compared to the CAP AC's (plastic only). The CAP AC is slightly smaller, flatter, but due to its smoke detector-like ventilation holes, it's somewhat more noticeable than the U6+. Unifi managed to keep a reasonable form-factor. CAP AX is a beast.
 
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Re: Wifi planning

Thu Apr 11, 2024 7:50 pm

CAP AX is a beast

I wonder if there's some fun to be had by 3d-printing a new enclosure and potentially putting a 24V blower fan in it. It might make wireless performance significantly worse. But hey, it'll look neat. If you sand it, that is.
 
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Re: Wifi planning

Thu Apr 11, 2024 7:55 pm

... then place the 2x cap ax on the floor and do some measurements ...

If you happen to have one lying around, you can utilize a fellow human being and take advantage of its lifting capabilities to hold the cAP ax against the ceiling while you take measurements. It might be better than simply leaving the cAP ax on the floor, though, of course, at the cost of one human being's blood circulation.
 
maigonis
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Re: Wifi planning

Fri Apr 12, 2024 12:36 pm

... then place the 2x cap ax on the floor and do some measurements ...

If you happen to have one lying around, you can utilize a fellow human being and take advantage of its lifting capabilities to hold the cAP ax against the ceiling while you take measurements. It might be better than simply leaving the cAP ax on the floor, though, of course, at the cost of one human being's blood circulation.
It is a very noticeable difference, so find a way how to lift it up while testing.
 
gigabyte091
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Re: Wifi planning

Sun Apr 14, 2024 7:17 am

CAP AXs are oversized smoke detectors. :lol:
That's why my cAP ax sits behind TV and another one behind PC monitor :lol: Wife didn't approved ceiling mount...
 
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 15, 2024 12:36 am

my cAP ax sits behind TV and another one behind PC monitor

So you know how they put holes in projector screens so that they're acoustically transparent?We need that but for WiFi now :lol:
 
infabo
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 15, 2024 12:25 pm

CAP AXs are oversized smoke detectors. :lol:
That's why my cAP ax sits behind TV and another one behind PC monitor :lol: Wife didn't approved ceiling mount...
Hum, I would say bad positioning. To simulate poor 5ghz wlan signal, I hold my smartphone behind my 55" TV. That's how I test roaming (5ghz towards 2ghz). Not joking.
 
ToTheFull
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Re: Wifi planning

Mon Apr 15, 2024 12:55 pm

CAP AXs are oversized smoke detectors. :lol:
That's why my cAP ax sits behind TV and another one behind PC monitor :lol: Wife didn't approved ceiling mount...
Oh my days! :lol:
You should of waxed lyrical saying... Darling this is the latest in technology, In summer the device lets of clouds of cooled condensed water vapour to keep us cool hence the vents. And of course everybody knows that size matters ;)
 
gigabyte091
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Re: Wifi planning

Tue Apr 16, 2024 2:09 pm

@infabo, yea I know it's a bad position. But hey, i'm getting full ISP speed at my living room so no problems so far. I want to put it on a wall besides my AC unit as i can run cable there.

Still not the best position but running a cable to the ceiling is not an option... Armored concrete with a lot of armature...

@ToTheFull

That ain't happening :lol: i managed to convince her to put smoke detector :lol: :lol: but cap ax is 3 times larger :lol: :lol: :lol:

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