Advice on a Ubiquiti system for my home

I have a 4000 Square Foot home that faces North and a barn that I spend some time in about 50 feet directly East of the home.

I currently provide wireless in the home with a Netgear RAX-80 on the far West side of the home on the main level. Connected to is is a Netgear EX8000 on the far East on the mail level. That extender is close to a window that overlooks the barn. If I have the garage door of the barn open then I can sit in there and use the WiFi. Leaving the door open on a cold day is less than ideal.

The current WiFi is fine for my multiple kid’s devices and all the smart things in the house but I’d like to add some security and overall reliabily.

I think I understand all the basic thins I need to start the Unifi network:

  1. A USG
  2. A USW
  3. A Base AP for Uplink (UAC-AC-Pro)

Do I need anything else to get started?

If I start adding UAC-AC-Pro’s, my understanding is that I can set them up as downlink UAC-AC-Pro’s so they connect wirelessly to the base. Do these require POE and, if so, are there adapters that allow me to just plug them into the wall. I don’t have ethernet throughout my home.

What would you recommend to beam at the barn? I can do some drilling to make an additional uplink AP near the modem on the West side of the house and then maybe run it to a place on my roof that has line of sight on my barn. Are there good directional antennas for both ends of that connection that I could then rebroadcast within the barn. The barn is made out of sheet metal so the antenna needs to be outside. and then connect to something inside to broadcast the signal.

The USG is quite old, take a look at the UDM or UDM Pro instead. These are not directly comparable, because the combine multiple devices (router+switch+AP+controller for UDM, router+switch+NVR+controller for UDM-Pro). Note that neither the UDM nor UDM-Pro provides POE on its switch ports.

Whether you need a switch will depends on whether you need more ports than the UDM/UDM-Pro provides.

Every single-pack AP includes a suitable POE injector, so you don’t need a POE switch to power them. The multi-packs do not include injectors.

All of the APs with “HD” as part of their name are AC Wave 2. The others (Pro, LR, Lite, etc) are AC Wave 1. Using the older Wave 1 APs are fine, but its possible Ubiquiti will EOL those sooner.

Any currently sold Unifi AP can be wirelessly uplinked to another Unifi AP, but doing so will cut throughput in half for each wireless hop you are going through. It also increases latency and packet loss. This is true of any wireless uplink / mesh system. Wirelessly uplinked APs can be powered by their included POE injector, they don’t need anything in the LAN port of the injector (or you can use that to plug in a computer or even a switch to provide “wired”connections).

If you have more than 15-20 feet to the barn, then a point to point connection is preferred. This is a pair of wireless radios which don’t provide any wireless connections, they just connect to each other. The most “set and forget” option is the Unifi Building-to-Building Bridge, which integrates with Unifi. A more budget option is the Mikrotik Wireless Wire kit. The most budget option is a pair of Ubiquiti AirMax Nanostation Loco M5. Anyway, inside the barn you can use any of the Unifi APs. The only directional ones are the UAP-AC-M combined with the UMA-D antenna, of the BaseStation-XG which is massively overkill and overprice for your needs.

Thank you for the detailed feedback. I’ve been looking at the Loco M5 and the Nanostation M5.

  1. What is the benefit of spending a bit extra for the NSM5 vs the Loco M5? Is the NSM5 worth the extra $$?

  2. I’m a bit confused about the POE injector that comes with it. I need to drill a hole in my office to run some CAT5E to the bridge M5. My router does not have POE so do I run the LAN cable to the injector and then the injector into the Bridge M5? I guess my question is whether I need a POE switch as I’m trying to avoid that extra cost right now.

  3. I have a room that is almost in direct LOS between the Bridge M5 and the barn. Can I set up two stations? My idea is to provide a more reliable LAN drop to my TV room as the wireless signal tends to be flaky in that room.

  1. you can look at the datasheet to see that the NSM5 has a higher gain antenna (more focused signal, meaning it is harder to aim but has higher strength once aimed), as well as more powerful output from the radio into the antenna. Together this means the NSM5 can connect at longer distances, or possibly achieve a higher link speed at medium distances. I have no experience in terms of how far a connection you can achieve with the Loco M5 before the NSM5 becomes a better choice.

  2. Yes with injectors in general they will have two ethernet ports, LAN and POE. LAN connects to wherever you want the data part connected to (router, switch, computer, etc) and POE connects to the device which should be powered.

  3. I’m not 100% sure what your placement / property looks like, but in general you can do a “PtMP” (Point to Multi-point) setup, where at once end you have a device which acts as the AP, and the other end has two or more stations as clients. If you wanted to do two side-by-side PtP connections, that is fine as long as they are configured with separate channels.

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