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Old 10-11-2016, 11:56 AM   #1
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Default Ubiquiti airGateway - small device for small RV's

Having a network in your van allows all of your smart devices - phones, tablets, laptops, GPS, etc. - to connect to that network and to the internet when available. I've had a functioning network in my RV for 6 years now and find it handy to have. With a second RV in the mix, it is time for me to deploy a second network solution.

I opted for an outdoor WIFI antenna on the van originally and it will remain on the van. It made sense to me to have that antenna outside of (and above) the sheet metal walls of the van for better performance. I'm not sure that outside equipment will be necessary on the fiberglass walled, OSB roofed Trailer. That's why I'll try low cost, easy to do solutions first.

I going to test two Ubiquiti airGateway units (as a bridge & ap) to create an in-coach network and link to the internet. I found several online posts about using an airGateway in an RV or boat but usually they are used as an indoor AP with more powerful, outdoor units like the Bullet, NanoStation & PicoStation.

I realize the airGateway units aren't really intended to be used exactly how I plan to but they are inexpensive to try & still useful if it all doesn't perform well and later have to be paired with outdoor equipment. I have one with an internal antenna (to use as an AP) and one with an external antenna (to use as a bridge) on order. I'll try them in both RV's and try the one with the external antenna with the outdoor antenna on the van. I'm not sure if they'll end up in the Trailer or the Van at this point.

Why the airGateway unit specifically?

1. They are very small (see photos copied from the web below) - I'm thinking of placing them where a normal sized router wouldn't go.
2. I found several reports of running them directly on 12V DC - it will be very easy to tap into DC power - no AC to DC POE injector needed. It will be more energy efficient to run these DC devices directly on DC power. They can handle input up to 24VDC. The pinout appears to be pins 4 & 5 positive and pins 7 & 8 negative.
3. Very low cost.
4. It will give me the setup I prefer - a bridge with its own radio and an AP with its own radio. (More info on separate Bridge and AP's in the the Winegard Connect topic: http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f2...nder-5816.html )

I'll post more once I've had a chance to set them up. Any tips from other airGateway users will be appreciated.

airgateway.jpg

airgateway small.jpg
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Old 10-11-2016, 03:01 PM   #2
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The Ubiquiti products are awesome--I bet your plan will work very well.

A couple of thoughts:

--Ubiquiti devices (at least mine) work just fine powered directly from the coach 12VDC system. But, don't go hacking cables. You can get passive PoE adaptors cheaply. Here is a random one:

POE adaptor.jpg

--Note that if you put either of these devices outdoors, they require the use of shielded Ethernet cabling, which isn't that easy to find. There are guys on eBay who will make up custom cables for you. Just test the shielding for connectivity (and don't go with the cheapest guy). The first one I got had the drain wire unconnected.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info and advice.

There is a chance that one airGateway could end up under a vent cover on the roof of the Trailer. I do have shielded cable on hand:

shielded.JPG

I visually confirmed the drain wire is soldered at both ends.

Do you know if it is sufficient to only use shielded cable between the two devices and not additionally ground that drain wire on the van chassis?

I found this about the airGateway on the UBNT forums:

Quote:
Both poe ports male and female have shielded connectors maintaining the ethernet cables' drain wire connection to ground.
I had been thinking of using some flat 8P8C cable as the power cable (no data, just power). I can use my meter to check to see if pins 7 & 8 are also grounded in the airGateways. If so, that would also connect the drain to van chassis.

flat 8 Position 8 Contact.JPG
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
Do you know if it is sufficient to only use shielded cable between the two devices and not additionally ground that drain wire on the van chassis?
Not sure, but I bet the shield is connected to the negative side of the 12VDC. Been awhile since I did my install. Easy enough to check, as you say. Just be sure you don't ground at more than one point. You don't want ground loops.

Good point about shield continuity in the PoE injector. Don't know if the one I posted does that. The one I used was in a little metal box and it does pass the shield.
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:40 AM   #5
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I have the Airgateway and Bullet M2 setup. The shield/ drain wire is connected to (-) DC on both devices, no need to ground the drain wire to the chassis.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:44 PM   #6
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Thanks for that info
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Old 10-15-2016, 12:30 AM   #7
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UPS delivered the airGateway & airGateway-LR today. It is a bit puzzling to setup because I am unfamiliar with both airOS and Ubiquiti terminology.

Very small device:

small airgateway.JPG

I'd appreciate any pointers as to how best configure these or how others do it with Ubiquiti equipment. I have it working but think there are other ways and maybe better ways to do the setups.

I have the airGateway-LR connecting to my WIFI/internet, the airGateway is connected to the airGateway-LR via Ethernet cable. Wireless clients connect to the airGateway and can access the internet.

Brief summary of my setup:

airGateway
Wireless tab: Access Point
Network tab: Bridge

airGateway-LR:
Wireless tab: Station
Network tab: Router, DHCP enabled, NAT enabled

If I disable NAT then I can't access the internet. Everything is on the same subnet - maybe that is why. I could set the airGateway-LR as Bridge also but then my guess is that I'd be relying on the campground WIFI for IP addresses for every device I have. I wouldn't have my own private network either. Maybe the airGateway should be set as Router with DHCP instead of Bridge.......... There's bound to be a "best" way to do it.

When the airGateway-LR is connected to the Engenius outdoor WIFI antenna on the van performance is a bit better than the Asus router flashed with DD-WRT. A similar number of networks are seen but the airGateway-LR sees most of them every time I scan.

Six successive scans with the Asus router flashed with DD-WRT setup saw 3,5,2,4,6 & 4 nearby networks. 8 different nearby networks were seen in total.

Six successive scans with the airGateway/airGateway-LR setup saw 9,9,9,8,8 & 9 nearby networks. 9 different nearby networks were seen in total.
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
Maybe the airGateway should be set as Router with DHCP instead of Bridge..........
That is what I would do.

In our setup, we have a Ubiquiti Nanostation which corresponds to your airGateway-LR, and a Pepwave Surf Soho which corresponds to your airGateway.

The Nanostation is set up in Router mode. It gets its IP address via DHCP from the campground WiFi network. On the LAN side, it has a static IP address on its own network. NAT and DHCP are both enabled.

The Pepwave router is set up similarly to your LR. Its WAN connection can come either from the Nanostation via its static IP address, or from the tethered Verizon MiFi device. It switches automatically and will use the Nanostation whenever possible. It gets its WAN-side IP address from the Nanostation (or MiFi) via DHCP, and creates both WiFi and Ethernet networks on their own IP addresses (separate from that of the Nanostation).

So, there are a total of four networks involved:
1) the campground WiFi (source of WAN)
2) The Nanostation (only used for the Nanostation to talk to the Pepwave)
3) The Pepwave WiFi in the van
4) The Pepwave wired ethernet in the van
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Old 10-15-2016, 02:03 PM   #9
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Thanks for the help. What you describe is confirmed by Ubiquiti this help article: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/artic...ge-WiFi-Client

The computer in that doc could just as easily be a unit like your Pepwave - used to provide a wireless network in the van.

That's basically what I've been doing. The airGateway-LR is what I'm using instead of something like a Nanostation. The LR stands for longer range or long range. I'm using the basic airGateway (not LR) as you'd use the Pepwave, minus advanced features.

The setup does work but there's a noticeable lag when requesting a webpage. A test download took a long time to complete today.

My new setup this A.M. is much faster. Brief summary:

airGateway
Wireless tab: Access Point
Network tab: Bridge

airGateway-LR:
Wireless tab: Station
Network tab: Bridge

DHCP, DNS etc., is all seamlessly passing through from the upstream router. The performance is as good as if my PC was connecting directly to that upstream router. This looks like the best way to go if a private network is not needed in the van.

I'll try the following -

airGateway
Wireless tab: Access Point
Network tab: Router

airGateway-LR:
Wireless tab: Station
Network tab: Bridge

- to get a private network. If the lag in performance returns then I'll test both units alternately in Router mode but with a completely different private IP addressing scheme within this range: 172.16.0.0 - 172.31.255.255 instead of the much more common 192.168.0.0 - 192.168.255.255.
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Old 10-15-2016, 02:18 PM   #10
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Oops. Your last msg made me realize that I switched the roles of your two devices in my most recent post. I will edit the msg to correct so people don't get confused.

I suspect that you are right that bridge mode all around would provide the best performance. BUT, I suspect that there are significant negative security implications to doing it that way--you are essentially on the same LAN as the rest of the campground. You really want a bit of firewall in there somewhere in this day and age. I am no expert, but think it would be best to have at least one of your devices to be in Router mode.

This stuff is so hard to think about--too many moving parts. I think the entire value proposition of expensive products like WiFi Ranger (just one example) lies in sorting out this kind of thing and pre-configuring generic devices.
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