There are a lot of reasons why it maybe better to buy managed enterprise access points over individual (unmanaged) home-gradde wireless access points. Especially at places where one expects to connect a considerable number of wireless users/access points. For example, managed access points can select the channel automatically when they power up and, configuration settings/security/SSID, etc. are automatically applied when new access points are connected to the network. Managed Wi-Fi network allows you to see who’s connected to the network, how much bandwidth is being consumed, etc.
While a dedicated wireless controller might be the best option (for larger networks), the cost of physical controller-based Wi-Fi solutions are very high. Organizations like offices and hotels may need stable, reliable and more importantly, centrally managed Wi-Fi. But they might also want it at a price that is affordable. Another consideration is the expansibility. If one buys one access point today, they should be able to add a few more access points in the same network later on, and still be able to manage all of them.
When these factors are taken into consideration, managed Wi-Fi access points from Ubiquiti UniFi AP may just fit the bill perfectly for offices, hotels, resorts and other commercial enterprises who need reliable/manageable Wi-Fi solution without having to spend a bomb on it.
Advantages of Managed Wi-Fi Access Points – Ubiquiti UniFi AP for commercial establishments:
- Virtual controller – The control software can be loaded to any PC or entry-level server, for managing the AP’s. This takes care of managing multiple access points from a single location. It can be accessed using a web-browser, from any PC/Mac.
- Independent operation – Access Points can work without the controller software, as well. Except for certain features like guest access, basic functions will still be up and running.
- Good range: 400 feet coverage for each access point. Practically, this might vary (reduce) according to site conditions, number of users, etc.
- 802.11n MIMO: Up to 300 Mbps per AP. Decent speed/bandwidth, for the price. Most of the laptops might already be fitted with 802.11n client adapters.
- aesthetic look: The AP looks like a modern/designer fire-alarm. It can blend-in with walls. The LED ring adds to the beauty.
- Reliability: Good coverage, stable connection, lesser black spots. All better than low-cost individual AP’s.
- Adjustable Power settings: Power settings can be manually adjusted (if required) from 1 dB to 20 dB, for each AP.
- Wireless Uplink: Wireless access points need a wired backbone to the network (they need to be connected to a network switch). But if that option is not available at a few places, UniFi AP’s can still be connected to other similar AP’s over a Wi-Fi backhaul uplink and simultaneously serve wireless users, as well. The performance may be reduced, if this mode is used. So, use it wisely.
- Automatic configuration: Virtual controller locates the AP’s and automatically configures them during their power-up.
- User statistics: Find out who’s connected to the network, how much bandwidth they consume, etc. through the virtual controller interface.
- Separate Guest Network: Guests can be given their own network (with Internet and separate SSID, if required), without any access to the local devices/network. This keeps internal network/devices safe.
- Hotspot package: Hotels, resorts might find the hotspot package useful, as it offers a platform to provide usage based Internet access and billing to guests (pre-paid, post-paid Wi-Fi).
- L3 Manageability: Virtual controller and access points can be on different subnets/networks and still communicate with each other, because of the L3 manageability feature of Ubiquiti UniFi AP’s.
- Alerts: One can receive email alerts when certain events take place (when an AP goes down, for example).
- VLAN Tagging: Supports VLAN tagging with physical switch ports.
- RADIUS support: Supports RADIUS AAA (Authentication, Authorization & Accounting).
- Bandwidth Limitation: Administrator can limit the maximum bandwidth that can be occupied by each user. This prevents network congestion because of one/few users downloading large files.
- Cloud operation: Virtual controller can be hosted on the cloud (Like Amazon Web Services) and it can still manage AP’s in your network.
- Encrypted Communications: Communications between AP and virtual controller are encrypted, for security.
- Different models: While the Ubiquiti UniFi AP is the most popular model for indoor use, there are separate models for Outdoor use (UniFi AP Outdoor), Long-range connections (UniFi AP LR), Higher throughput (UniFI AP PRO).
- You can upload floor-plans of your building/premises and visualize your network, using the built-in Google Maps API support.
- It is normal for 20-30 users connecting to a single access point (for general Wi-Fi applications). Though more wireless users can be connected on the same access point, try getting a new AP in such situations (for better performance).
- Access Point selects the best available channel while powering up, by coordinating with the virtual controller. But these settings do not change in real-time.
- Download the latest management software (virtual controller) from the site, instead of using the CD that comes with the controller.
Manufacturer’s web-page: Ubiquiti Unifi AP.
Lot more information: FAQ page on Ubiquiti Unifi AP.
Have a look at how easy it is to connect and manage Ubiquiti UniFi AP:
Price (USD)/Buy From (US): You can buy the Ubiquiti UniFi AP Enterprise Online from Amazon (if you live in the United States), from the following link –
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi AP Enterprise WiFi System
If you want to buy more than one access point, have a look at this Ubiquiti UniFI AP Enterprise (three access point pack) for additional savings –
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi AP Enterprise WiFi System 3 Pack
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