Ubiquiti Wireless APs
Posted 17 October 2017
I'm no network-specialist, so I don't generally get to play about with much 'pro' network gear (whilst I've fiddled about with some Cisco gear in the past, it's always been small-scale stuff). I've had a bit of a chance to put some Ubiquiti access points through their paces on a small network.
First up, the actual hardware seems pretty nice. They've obviously spent a bit of time trying to make something asethetically pretty, but it also feels pretty solid too. There's an intriguing USB socket "for future use", and two Ethernets (only one used so far, not sure the other will see any use anytime soon). It comes with a PoE power supply too, which is handy if you don't have any PoE switches around.
Getting the thing to work was incredibly easy. I initially downloaded the 'controller' server software onto my Mac and got the access point working in minutes. It really was that easy! I've put a guest network on too, which was similarly simple and can use the same network as the 'normal' network, but isolates guests from it. I'm not sure that would pass most security audits, but it's a way to make it work if you don't want to get into VLANs. I'd imagine most places with more than a dozen or two people will want the VLAN option, but isolation is there if you want it. There's some way to have a 'guest portal', but I didn't investigate as it's not a requirement.
I've subsequently moved the controller server to a VM. Even doing that is super-easy - there are good instructions on how to get things up and running (I believe a Raspberry Pi is all you need to make a controller, which is apparently what the Ubiquity controller product more or less is, but I'm using a small VM instead).
Once it was up and running, I did wonder why it wasn't picking up my APs like it did when I ran it on my laptop. Some googling later and I'd taken a backup of my laptop config (via the Web UI to make a .unf file) and then imported into the VM. Once done, everything worked fine on the VM and I was pretty much done with the whole install. From opening the box to shutting the lid on my laptop was just a couple of hours.
I'm pretty sure I can install the controller with Ansible, I wonder about the wifi networks and settings though...?
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