Ubiquiti UniFi AP-LR (Long Range) Wi-Fi Access point for Large Buildings


Ubiquiti Networks UniFi AP-LR (Long Range) is a good choice if you want to cover a (relatively) large area with Wi-Fi network and your users are spread around. While it is possible to use more than one AP for coverage, it is better to use the least possible number (of APs), to reduce the possibility of wireless interference (which causes disconnections, lower throughput, etc.). Unifi AP-LR has higher power and one can replace two consumer-grade APs.

If you are going to use three or more access points in your premises, controller is inevitable. UniFi series APs come with non-dedicated controller software.

Is the Wi-Fi Access Point same as Wi-Fi Router?

No, They are different. A Wi-Fi router + Modem can connect to the Internet & provide Wi-Fi access to areas around it. But, if you have a larger area you can use Wi-Fi Access Points to extend the Wi-Fi network.

If you don’t have a Wi-Fi modem or If you want to extend the wireless network beyond your router’s Wi-Fi range, you need to use wireless access points. These APs, even though they connect with Wi-Fi devices over the wireless medium, need a wired network connection (at the back-end) in order to connect to the network/Internet. A simple architecture diagram for wireless access points/router is shown below –

Wireless-Access-Point-Architecture-Diagram

Highlights of UniFI AP-LR (Long Range) Access Points:

  1. High power ~ It has 3 dB higher receive gain (50% more) than standard Ubiquiti APs and hence can cover at least 1.5x the distance. Ubiquiti claims that two consumer-grade APs can be replaced by one Ubiquiti AP-LR.
  2. It has a range of 600 feet and can support a bandwidth of up to 300 Mbps (802.11n MIMO, Single Radio).
  3. Product and ceiling/wall mount attachments look elegant and adds to the decor. It is easy to hide cables if installation is properly planned.
  4. Relatively easy set-up -> Switch On -> Connect to network -> Install and run the software -> Give a network name -> Installation is complete. This simple set-up is sufficient for most installations, but complex features can also be configured later on.
  5. More expensive than consumer products, but offers higher range and enterprise features (including controller software) and hence higher price is justified. You get what you pay for.
  6. Due to the included controller software, these access points give you an advantage in multi-access point installation, as unmonitored access points (that are nearby) are prone to interference/disconnection if there is no central control.
  7. Single AP can cover 3500-5000 square feet (not always with full 5-bars), over a couple of floors.

Controller features:

  • Non-dedicated software controller that can be run on any computer/even on the cloud (for multi-site monitoring). The controller need not be always running, but is required during set-up, monitoring, etc.
  • The wireless system is scalable and there is no need to upgrade to new hardware as you increase the no. of APs.
  • Roaming is possible ~ You can move with your laptop/smart phone anywhere in your premises and the access points will coordinate among themselves to transfer the connection (within them) without disconnection/re-connection.
  • Heat-map ~ You can see the actual Wi-Fi coverage areas and their connection strength, on a map. Useful for planning and troubleshooting.
  • Statistics ~ Sessions, connections, etc.
  • Guest portal for providing limited access to guests (Internet only, for example) & Hotspot support to provide web log-in; time-based, charge-based access to clients.
  • Multiple Wireless LAN Groupings ~ Separate and isolated networks for users, based on the group they belong to.
  • Supported in Linux, in addition to Windows & Mac.

Limitations:

  1. The Unifi AP-LR uses a non-standard POE injector (24V, included) and hence standard 802.11af/at injectors are not supported. You cannot use your POE switch to power it, but you can buy the 5-Port POE switch supplied by Unifi.
  2. Supports 802.11n & 300 Mbps (max). The Ubiquiti AP-PRO model supports dual-radio (2.4 Ghz + 5 Ghz), 450 Mbps (on 2.4 Ghz) and standard POE.
  3. Doesn’t support the latest high-speed 802.11ac standard – There is a separate model for that.
  4. Single-band – You can practically work only on 2.4 Ghz and not also on 5 Ghz. Interference might be an issue if your premises is located in an area that has a lot of neighboring wireless access points working on 2.4 Ghz.
  5. 100 Mbps LAN port.

Tips:

  1. Don’t keep the computers/laptops too close to the Access Points. There should be some distance between them for effective connectivity.
  2. Before installing the software that is available on the CD, check if a newer version is available on-site. If available, download that and install it.
  3. There is a light on the unit to indicate network availability ~ Can be switched off if not required.

Further Info/Specifications/Data Sheet: Ubiquiti website, UniFi data sheet (pdf).

Buy from(US)/Price (USD): Amazon product page for,

*** Ubiquiti UniFi AP Enterprise WiFi System Long Range (One)
*** Ubiquiti UniFi AP Enterprise WiFi System Long Range – 3 Pack (Cost savings).

Here’s a short unboxing video of the Ubiquiti Unifi AP-LR Access Point:


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