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Author Topic: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network  (Read 7424 times)

John Schalk

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After reading lots of threads here about using a real wireless access point I decided to try adding a UniFi Mesh UAP-AC-M to our network.  Currently we use an Airport Extreme, which is an upgrade from our old Airport Express.  Also, we recently added an M32 core to our headamp rack, so my goal was to eventually configure two independent networks, one being the current Airport Extreme, and the other one using our old Express to issue the IP addresses.

I started out trying to configure the Mesh AP with it plugged into the Express (no internet.)  This was a bad idea.  In something like 25 rounds of plug this here, restart that there, I only got the Mesh AP to be discovered in the UniFi mobile app once.  After several frustrating hours of this, I had a thought to plug the Mesh AP into my home network and Voila, the UniFi app found it right away.  I updated the firmware and configured the SSID and password for 2G and 5G to match the band's current network.

Next, I hauled everything downstairs to plug it into my Si Performer to see if I had actual connectivity to the console.  I was hoping that the WAN port on the Express would also act as a LAN port, but I could not "talk" to my Performer.  I tried using the WAN port for the console and for the Mesh AP, but without any success.  I gave up and went to happy hour to listen to some live music.

This morning I hauled out my ancient Linksys WRT54GL, plugged the Mesh AP into one LAN port, powered everything up including the console, then plugged in the console to another LAN Port and bam, it worked.  I left the Linksys 2G network up because it's broadcasting a different SSID, and my iPad was connected to my band's SSID, so I'm confident that signal was passing through the new AP.

We have a show on an outdoor festival stage tonight, so I was hoping to use the new AP,  but I'm not sure how much change I want to introduce.  Can I try plugging the UniFi AP into a LAN port on our Extreme while leaving the wireless active on the airport?  I am planning to use a 50' ethernet cable to located the UniFi AP as far downstage as possible, so there will be some separation between it and the airport. 

For future planning, can the UniFi AP share a mic stand with our Sennheiser In Ear antenna or do I need to separate the two?

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I hope my newbie experiences may be helpful to others
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 11:46:12 am »

After reading lots of threads here about using a real wireless access point I decided to try adding a UniFi Mesh UAP-AC-M to our network.  Currently we use an Airport Extreme, which is an upgrade from our old Airport Express.  Also, we recently added an M32 core to our headamp rack, so my goal was to eventually configure two independent networks, one being the current Airport Extreme, and the other one using our old Express to issue the IP addresses.

I started out trying to configure the Mesh AP with it plugged into the Express (no internet.)  This was a bad idea.  In something like 25 rounds of plug this here, restart that there, I only got the Mesh AP to be discovered in the UniFi mobile app once.  After several frustrating hours of this, I had a thought to plug the Mesh AP into my home network and Voila, the UniFi app found it right away.  I updated the firmware and configured the SSID and password for 2G and 5G to match the band's current network.

Next, I hauled everything downstairs to plug it into my Si Performer to see if I had actual connectivity to the console.  I was hoping that the WAN port on the Express would also act as a LAN port, but I could not "talk" to my Performer.  I tried using the WAN port for the console and for the Mesh AP, but without any success.  I gave up and went to happy hour to listen to some live music.

This morning I hauled out my ancient Linksys WRT54GL, plugged the Mesh AP into one LAN port, powered everything up including the console, then plugged in the console to another LAN Port and bam, it worked.  I left the Linksys 2G network up because it's broadcasting a different SSID, and my iPad was connected to my band's SSID, so I'm confident that signal was passing through the new AP.

We have a show on an outdoor festival stage tonight, so I was hoping to use the new AP,  but I'm not sure how much change I want to introduce.  Can I try plugging the UniFi AP into a LAN port on our Extreme while leaving the wireless active on the airport?  I am planning to use a 50' ethernet cable to located the UniFi AP as far downstage as possible, so there will be some separation between it and the airport. 

For future planning, can the UniFi AP share a mic stand with our Sennheiser In Ear antenna or do I need to separate the two?

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I hope my newbie experiences may be helpful to others

You only had one issue that the Apple's ports are not in the same network.  As you noted one is LAN and the other WAN.  You have everything setup right.  You can get a little four port switch and plug the Uqiquity, Apple and Console into it and be good to go.  You can use that Linksys as a switch ans just turn the radio off.  Your choice.  Just make sure you only have one DHCP server running on each network.

If the Uqiquity is 802.3af PoE compliant you can get rid of the power injector if you get a PoE switch.
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John Schalk

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 12:15:08 pm »

You only had one issue that the Apple's ports are not in the same network.  As you noted one is LAN and the other WAN.  You have everything setup right.  You can get a little four port switch and plug the Uqiquity, Apple and Console into it and be good to go.  You can use that Linksys as a switch ans just turn the radio off.  Your choice.  Just make sure you only have one DHCP server running on each network.

If the Uqiquity is 802.3af PoE compliant you can get rid of the power injector if you get a PoE switch.

Thanks Scott.  I like the idea of still using the Airport Express as the DHCP server since it's so small and they make wall mount brackets for them, which may be useful for racking it up.  I will do some research on PoE switches to see if I can find a small one. 

Can you comment on it's okay to continue using the "radio" on the Airports along with the UniFi AP (same SSID)?
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Russell Ault

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 01:18:01 pm »

[...] I only got the Mesh AP to be discovered in the UniFi mobile app once.

Unless I'm missing something, you'll need to use the full UniFi desktop software to configure the AP, because it's the only way to disable "Uplink Connectivity Monitor". This is a setting that makes the AP stop broadcasting if it can't ping its default gateway, which is definitely not something you want to happen on a show network (especially since they typically don't have or need gateways).

Forr future planning, can the UniFi AP share a mic stand with our Sennheiser In Ear antenna or do I need to separate the two?

"Best practices" says to separate, but sharing is commonly (and successfully) done. If you're only using 5GHz Wi-Fi I'd be surprised if the IEM antenna operating several octaves away is going to cause any meaningful desense.

-Russ
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2019, 01:32:43 pm »



"Best practices" says to separate, but sharing is commonly (and successfully) done. If you're only using 5GHz Wi-Fi I'd be surprised if the IEM antenna operating several octaves away is going to cause any meaningful desense.

-Russ

Yes. I did it for 3 years on tour. No problems. Had the downstage fin and a Nanostation M5 on the same mic stand.
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John Schalk

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 02:40:46 pm »

Unless I'm missing something, you'll need to use the full UniFi desktop software to configure the AP, because it's the only way to disable "Uplink Connectivity Monitor". This is a setting that makes the AP stop broadcasting if it can't ping its default gateway, which is definitely not something you want to happen on a show network (especially since they typically don't have or need gateways).

I pulled up the UniFi Network app and you're right, I cannot find a config option for the connectivity monitor setting.  Their installation instructions specifically state that you can configure and use the AP without a controller if your network is small, but they don't cover this particular point.

Quote
"Best practices" says to separate, but sharing is commonly (and successfully) done. If you're only using 5GHz Wi-Fi I'd be surprised if the IEM antenna operating several octaves away is going to cause any meaningful desense.

Does this mean that I should disable the 2.4GHz "radio" in the UniFi AP if I plan to co-locate my new WAP with our In Ear paddle?  This won't be an issue tonight as I'm going to use separate mic stands and the two will be at least 20' apart.
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Russell Ault

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 06:47:16 pm »

I pulled up the UniFi Network app and you're right, I cannot find a config option for the connectivity monitor setting.  Their installation instructions specifically state that you can configure and use the AP without a controller if your network is small, but they don't cover this particular point.

Well, that's a typo; it should read "if your network is small and being used in a typical SOHO setup". :P

Does this mean that I should disable the 2.4GHz "radio" in the UniFi AP if I plan to co-locate my new WAP with our In Ear paddle?  This won't be an issue tonight as I'm going to use separate mic stands and the two will be at least 20' apart.

For me, I only use 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks for shows. Between its limited bandwidth and its ubiquity in audience-held devices, I trust 2.4 GHz to survive sound check and then fail when the house opens. That being said, I'd be a little surprised if being co-located with an IEM antenna would cause serious issues to a 2.4 GHz AP, but the only way to know for sure would be to try it.

-Russ
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William Schnake

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2019, 06:56:50 pm »

I pulled up the UniFi Network app and you're right, I cannot find a config option for the connectivity monitor setting.  Their installation instructions specifically state that you can configure and use the AP without a controller if your network is small, but they don't cover this particular point.

Does this mean that I should disable the 2.4GHz "radio" in the UniFi AP if I plan to co-locate my new WAP with our In Ear paddle?  This won't be an issue tonight as I'm going to use separate mic stands and the two will be at least 20' apart.

John, we have been using the UniFi Mesh for a couple of years now.  I think it was in March of this year that I reconfigured our and that I couldn't get the app to work on my windows laptop and I wound up using the configuration utility on-line.  It work great.  We use several all with an Apple Air Port Express to hand out the IP addresses.

I would definitely put some distance between my wireless IEM/Mic antenna and the Ubiquity.  Often we will mount our Ubiquity up in the front truss.  We use a Cisco switch with PoE to power them.  Much better than using the inverter in my opinion.

Bill
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Russell Ault

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2019, 09:19:17 pm »

I would definitely put some distance between my wireless IEM/Mic antenna and the Ubiquity.  Often we will mount our Ubiquity up in the front truss.

While I agree that you should always keep your microphone RX antennas and your AP separated, separation from and IEM TX antenna seems much less critical to me. I'd be very surprised to see a 500 MHz IEM transmission interfere meaningfully with a 5 GHz Wi-Fi signal.

-Russ
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dave briar

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2019, 09:32:29 pm »

Does this mean that I should disable the 2.4GHz "radio" in the UniFi AP if I plan to co-locate my new WAP with our In Ear paddle?  This won't be an issue tonight as I'm going to use separate mic stands and the two will be at least 20' apart.
I defer to others here regarding the viability of co-locating your WAP and in-ear paddle but I believe it would be best turn off any unused radios (either 2.4 or 5GHz in the new AP and old AirportExpress) so that those devices do not incur the processing load of having to respond to probe requests.
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John Schalk

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2019, 11:09:25 am »

Thanks for all of information everyone.  I used the new Mesh AP last night and it worked wonderfully well.  I used a mic stand with a boom to get the AP up as high as I could and I located it downstage right.  We were playing through a providers PA at a street festival, and I was able to go back up the street as far as I cared to, without any dropouts or laggy behavior from MixingStation.

I brought my new toy home and I will try some of the other configuration recommendations.  My goal now is to package all of the pieces together and mount them in our headamp rack.

On a different note, check out how the PA was deployed.  The speakers are Mackie SRM550s.  The subs, also Mackies (2 per side), were stacked on the bottom of the scaffolding that the top boxes are on, possible for ballast.   I was into the limiters almost from the downbeat and they did not sound good.  The sound company was super nice to work with, but when you see something like this, do any of you comment about how it would be better to orient the cabinets differently?
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2019, 06:32:52 pm »

Thanks Scott.  I like the idea of still using the Airport Express as the DHCP server since it's so small and they make wall mount brackets for them, which may be useful for racking it up.  I will do some research on PoE switches to see if I can find a small one. 

Can you comment on it's okay to continue using the "radio" on the Airports along with the UniFi AP (same SSID)?

I think it would be problematic on the same SID.  You will have dropouts as you get within the capture of each radio.  You also said mount it in the rack so that makes the signal useless.


For just DHCP I would use a Raspberry Pi.  1/2 the size of the airport and it can so much more.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2019, 09:06:30 am »

Gotta love the Showmobile stage with it's sea shell sounding reflections.

Three SRM550's in what looks like a straight row was probably not too much fun.

I just looked them up for a little a spec info, 90X50, 3000hz crossover, one inch voice coil high frequency driver, all equals music store PA.

Tim Weaver

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2019, 04:03:31 pm »

Thanks for all of information everyone.  I used the new Mesh AP last night and it worked wonderfully well.  I used a mic stand with a boom to get the AP up as high as I could and I located it downstage right.  We were playing through a providers PA at a street festival, and I was able to go back up the street as far as I cared to, without any dropouts or laggy behavior from MixingStation.

I brought my new toy home and I will try some of the other configuration recommendations.  My goal now is to package all of the pieces together and mount them in our headamp rack.

On a different note, check out how the PA was deployed.  The speakers are Mackie SRM550s.  The subs, also Mackies (2 per side), were stacked on the bottom of the scaffolding that the top boxes are on, possible for ballast.   I was into the limiters almost from the downbeat and they did not sound good.  The sound company was super nice to work with, but when you see something like this, do any of you comment about how it would be better to orient the cabinets differently?

Eh, you just have to feel the guy out. If he seems like he wants to please everyone and he is just ignorant, I'll be happy to teach them better ways to deploy. Like for that rig I might have stacked two tops with the upper one flipped upside down. Horn to horn and straight ahead so you get the least amount of bad things happening. Then use the third one for a front fill.

But if the guy is a know-it-all and will clearly get offended, I just do my job, collect my check and go home. Not much you can do in those situations.

I have a few times turned speakers off or down when I knew they were just going to cause trouble. I did this without the provider knowing about it, and they typically don't catch on and just wonder at my abilities to make their PA sound so good! lol.....
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John Schalk

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2019, 04:18:58 pm »

... Like for that rig I might have stacked two tops with the upper one flipped upside down. Horn to horn and straight ahead so you get the least amount of bad things happening. Then use the third one for a front fill...
That is exactly what I was thinking to try to help the situation.  After the show, I talked with the owner about our new WAP and he was really open, so I think there was probably an opportunity that I missed to make those changes to their rig for our set.  But, I didn't know that at the time.

Quote
3000hz crossover, one inch voice coil high frequency driver, all equals music store PA.
1" voice coil horn, yeah, that's what they sounded like.  Just an amazingly low amount of usable output from 6 speakers :(  Interestingly enough, the rest of their system was well put together.  I saw what I think was an X32 Rack on each side of the stage being driven by an X32 out front.  But those Mackies were a great example of the wrong tool for the job and also how more is not always better.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2019, 10:02:42 am »

Eh, you just have to feel the guy out. If he seems like he wants to please everyone and he is just ignorant, I'll be happy to teach them better ways to deploy. Like for that rig I might have stacked two tops with the upper one flipped upside down. Horn to horn and straight ahead so you get the least amount of bad things happening. Then use the third one for a front fill.

But if the guy is a know-it-all and will clearly get offended, I just do my job, collect my check and go home. Not much you can do in those situations.

I have a few times turned speakers off or down when I knew they were just going to cause trouble. I did this without the provider knowing about it, and they typically don't catch on and just wonder at my abilities to make their PA sound so good! lol.....

That's what Robert Scovil did on a Def Leppard festival performance somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere - he had the local crew unplug every other speaker (the ones that were "jumpered" to another speaker receiving power) and it helped clean up the big comb filter from the mostly flat-packed PA.  The system engineer commented that DL's set was the best sounding of the fest.  Scovi had the hands restore the PA after the set.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Tim Weaver

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2019, 03:02:47 pm »

That's what Robert Scovil did on a Def Leppard festival performance somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere - he had the local crew unplug every other speaker (the ones that were "jumpered" to another speaker receiving power) and it helped clean up the big comb filter from the mostly flat-packed PA.  The system engineer commented that DL's set was the best sounding of the fest.  Scovi had the hands restore the PA after the set.

Something, something, standing on the shoulders of giants.....
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2019, 09:57:33 pm »

Something, something, standing on the shoulders of giants.....
Attributed to Sir Isaac Newton:  "if i have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" in a letter to Robert Hooke in 1676.  Research shows this concept is likely from the 12 Century and originated with John of Salisbury.

More than you needed to know....
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Tim Hite

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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2019, 02:25:28 am »

I was going to start a new thread on this due to an issue I had this weekend with my AC MEsh, but I think I ran afoul of the uplink connectivity monitor. Will reconfigure and test.

Left the house with a working WLAN that no longer broadcast SSID when not connected to the home router.

Unless I'm missing something, you'll need to use the full UniFi desktop software to configure the AP, because it's the only way to disable "Uplink Connectivity Monitor". This is a setting that makes the AP stop broadcasting if it can't ping its default gateway, which is definitely not something you want to happen on a show network (especially since they typically don't have or need gateways).

"Best practices" says to separate, but sharing is commonly (and successfully) done. If you're only using 5GHz Wi-Fi I'd be surprised if the IEM antenna operating several octaves away is going to cause any meaningful desense.

-Russ
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Re: Adding Ubiquiti AC MESH AP To Band's Airport Extreme Network
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2019, 02:25:28 am »


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