Managed Wi-Fi Access Points for Offices & Hotels – Ubiquiti UniFi AP


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).

Tips:

  1. You can upload floor-plans of your building/premises and visualize your network, using the built-in Google Maps API support.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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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