Home upgrade: Extending the wireless network coverage to the balcony using Unifi Mesh

Photo by @claybanks / Unsplash.com

I use the fantastic Ubiquiti Networks Unifi product at home. It’s the same network that I used to build my Site-to-Site VPN connectivity to Azure and to later try and enable 802.11b for my old scale. The idea with the Unifi products is that provisioning them is made effortless and almost fun at the same time. You can tweak a lot of the intrinsic technical settings but mostly it’s enough when you plug the devices in, perform basic configuration using a graphical interface, and then you can forget they even exist.

My current setup includes a few Unifi access points, a few switches and a dedicated firewall:

One of those Wi-Fi access points is in the living room, and another is in my home office. They are on different floors, so two APs have usually covered most of the apartment.

Now, when summer is fast approaching, we realized that we couldn’t get Wi-Fi on our balconies. Yes, that’s plural, we have more than one. Admittedly, using 4G/LTE is always an option but sometimes you’re using a laptop or a tablet that doesn’t have mobile data. As the weather might be harsh during the winter, I figured I’ll need an access point to extend my wireless coverage that is also weather-proofed.

The Unifi Mesh Access Point was the solution. A single unit costs only $99, and I estimated I would be fine with two.

UniFi Mesh Access point

The device is capable of employing Power-over-Ethernet, which is a fancy way of saying “I only want to plug in Ethernet to get this thing running.” It also comes with a PoE injector, which allows you to bring wired network all the way to the AP. As it’s also a Mesh AP, you can get by with just connecting the Unifi-AC-M with PoE and it connects wirelessly to a nearby Unifi device – such as your existing AP.

I unpacked the device, connected it to the PoE injector and adopted it to my network using the Unifi management panel. And it just worked! I named it Sunny Balcony, as the first one I’m using on the balcony that gets most of the sun during the day. I could easily get 100/100 Mbps speeds with Speedtest through the new AP.

To install it on my balcony, I used the zip-ties that were included with the package.

Image

Unifi recommendation was to point the antennas in 45-degree angle for best coverage.

I order my Unifi products from EuroDK, as they always have affordable prices and fast delivery. So far, I’m pleased with this addition to my network – it just works!