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Ubiquiti wireless signal strength questions Nano Loco M2 M5

Posted on 2014-01-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-01-17
I'm a newbie to wireless beyond simple wifi routers.

I am helping out a temple near me - they have the main building and then another building across a parking lot - about 300' apart. We cleaned out trees in a small wooded area between them so they really do have line of sight.  again, 300' apart at most.

we mounted nanostation  loco m2 units INSIDE windows pointing to each other.

Attached are the main page's' for the 2 units.  From what I read, these things can go MUCH farther than what we are doing.  output power on both units is 21 dBm - the highest it goes.

So considering how close they are and at full power, should I be disappointed that airmax capacity is only 78%?  or can you look over these 2 pages and see what you think / maybe explain to me the graphs and what the other things mean.  I guess I know what they mean - I saw the ubiquiti pages about the items.  but they don't say if x a good or bad number or how to change things?  Is there a way to tweak things?  I used the align the antenna tool and I could turn the m2 as far as the mounting bracket woudl allow and there'd be maybe 1 db change from the 50 or so horiz /vertical readings.  (being so close at the high power, a far out of physical alignment makes no difference?!
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Expert Comment

by:Jordan Medlen
ID: 39780597
I would not mount these "inside". These are outdoor units, meant to be mounted externally with line of sight. I have two of these units as a backup link in my campus environment and can get ~50Mbps through them. They are mounted outside on each roof, and then I have a shielded cable running to the inside and properly grounded.

The glass is just going to do things with the signal that will make it harder to get full benefits of the radio system.

I have helped design, build and maintain carrier grade wireless wide area networks for many years, and have had much success. Every time I hear of someone cutting a corner, such as mounting inside, they run into issues. Do yourself a favor and get the proper external penetrating or non-penetrating roof/building mounts and redo the installation. You will find much better results if you do.

Expert Comment

ID: 39780733
Also as a side note, I found the aluminum frame around many commercial windows can also act as a barrier.  Not sure why, but I had a similar setup with two buildings in same parking lot.  They moved offices to a 3rd building and instead of mounting it outside, (we would need a cherry picker to get to it, we mounted it in.  So had one outside mounted like normal, but the other was inside, hanging from the ceiling, pointed out window.  Signal strength was poor, we put the unit outside like it was supposed to and the signal came back as strong as it was before.  Longer cable run (we had to go to roof, then down the side), but it still was way better outside.  

The only thing I could think of was the metal frame around the window.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 39787128
The link is excellent - leave it alone!! :-)

Are you seeing performance issues with it or are you just trying to get it as good as you can?

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Author Comment

ID: 39787144
craig - I'd like to learn for this and other installs what the numbers mean, and for this one specifically, could I cut back power (why have it run at full power just to reach a relatively short distance?) Like yelling at someone next to you - save your voice and talk softer.  Your voice will last longer.

tsaico - I would have thought the problem going through the glass was the likely reflective properties built into newer glass for energy savings.

Jordan - I'm looking to learn what the numbers mean.  The arrangement has 'worked' for years with low end dlink stuff till the hard ware gave up the ghost after 5+ years.  I put in the ubiquiti hardware, people say the connection is much faster, but I want to learn.
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

Craig Beck earned 2000 total points
ID: 39787175
The AirMax values are explained here (it explains way better than me)...


The issue with putting antennas inside windows, etc, is purely that there could be reflective (metallic) materials in the glass, or in the frame, as tsaico mentioned.  This could have the Faraday effect, in that signals are blocked due to their wavelength.  I doubt that this is an issue for you though looking at the link statistics you provided.  Your link is excellent, as I said, so I wouldn't change a thing.

I understand what you mean with regard to reducing the power.  This is referred to as 'overmodulation'.  It may be an idea to reduce the transmit power to something like 6dBm.  That shouldn't have a negative effect on your signal, but if it does just increase it by 1dBm until the link returns to normal.

Author Comment

ID: 39787200
craig - yeah, I don't think the glass is an issue.  Forgot to mention.  It's a 40+ year old building at each end, so the glass is old / no energy conservation built in : )

AH, but 'until the link returns to normal'.... what's normal?    I guess drop it slowly (at each end?) till the throughput drops a little then raise it a bit to keep it at that top speed, but not overpowering.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 39788072
I say 'returns to normal', I mean until it gives the same kind of performance you were seeing before.

I really don't think that dropping the TX power to 6dBm at each end will affect the quality of the link at all though.

Author Comment

ID: 39788303
drop it to 6?  It's not on these pages I posted, but I think I saw it was 21dbm.  Drop it by that much? Or you mean drop it down 6dbm to 15 (or are we talking negative numbers and it'd be 27?  That stuff confuses me : )

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