UniFi vs Meraki vs Aruba

If you’re in the market for a bit of wireless kit then you’re rather spoilt for choice nowadays. Whilst it’s great to have a choice of products, it does beggar the question, how do I choose the right wireless product for my business?

Some of the big players when it comes to wireless network products are Ubiquiti, Meraki and Aruba. But which one is right for your specific deployment? Let’s have a look at them one by one.

Ubiquiti Network Wireless Products

We’ve spoken a lot about Ubiquiti and their range of wireless products – They are a firm favourite with our Wi-Fi experts here at Geekabit. Ubiquiti provide a range of wireless networking products including access points, wireless controllers, antennas and wireless bridges. Whatever your Wi-Fi requirement, they’re likely to have a product solution.

Product Portfolio

  • Ubiquiti have the product range to meet a complete enterprise network
  • They cover both wireless and wired products
  • They have the management and security systems to go alongside

The Benefits for Small to Medium Sized Business Networks

  • They are easy to deploy and use
  • Lots of features
  • One intuitive User Interface to make the human-computer interaction as simple as possible
  • Unbeatable value

The Benefits for Enterprise Networks

  • All access points, switches and routers are easy to manage from one Use Interface
  • It has central management capabilities and troubleshooting
  • It is straightforward to use for network admin staff, with no certification needed
  • Cloud and on-premises management available
  • Very high access point performance
  • Good HD Wi-Fi control capabilities

The Benefits for Arena / Stadium Networks

  • They can provide arena access points with integrated high gain antennas
  • One access point can have up to 3 5GHz client serving radios
  • Multi 5 GHz radio access points save in installation and cabling costs
  • Outstanding performance in a high traffic environment

User Experience

  • Quick and easy deployment with no licenses required
  • A single, intuitive user interface for all Ubiquiti elements with secure remote access
  • It’s easy to expand the network if and when needed without additional licenses
  • They provide free support (without needing a support agreement) plus a community of Ubiquiti users for extra support, buffered by Ubiquiti employees

Price-point

  • The price-point for Ubiquiti wireless products is low compared to other brands, offering fantastic value for money

Meraki Wireless Products

The Meraki MR series from Cisco delivers Wi-Fi 6 access points, faster access point deployment, simplified administration, and richer visibility.

Product Portfolio

  • Meraki have the product range to meet a complete enterprise network
  • They cover both wireless and wired products
  • They have the management and security systems to go alongside

How it Fares for Small to Medium Sized Business Networks

  • They are easy to deploy and use
  • You have to pay a subscription fee, which renders the product useless if not paid
  • It works well for smaller businesses and enterprises, apart from it being expensive
  • For better prices, you need to commit to several years and pre-pay

How it Fares for Enterprise Networks

  • It is easy to deploy and use cloud infrastructure
  • There is no on-premises option
  • Performance falters with high traffic
  • Ongoing licensing is expensive

How it Fares for Arena / Stadium Networks

  • There are no capabilities specifically targeted to venues of this size or type
  • For focused radio frequency, external antennas are required which will incur extra costs and will need mounting
  • There are no multi 5 GHz radio products, and RF tuning capabilities are weak
  • HD Wi-Fi performance is weak

User Experience

  • Quick and easy deployment but a lack of flexibility may cause problems
  • Licensing is required, but all features are included
  • It has a single, intuitive user interface
  • Support services are available from Meraki, but a service subscription is required. Without it there is no support
  • Additional support is available at an additional cost

Price-point

  • The price-point for Meraki MR wireless products is high compared to other brands, with licensing and subscription fees pushing it up.

 

Aruba Wireless Products

The range of Aruba Access Points deliver a fast, reliable Wi-Fi solution with great performance levels and a boost to network efficiency. They will also support the growing mobile and IoT density demands on your network.

Product Portfolio

  • Aruba have most of the product range to meet a complete enterprise network need
  • They cover both wireless and wired products
  • They have the management and security systems to go alongside

How it Fares for Small to Medium Sized Business Networks

  • Controller based products can be difficult to deploy and use
  • Instant access points lack features unless you have other Aruba products such as Aruba Central or Aruba AirWave licenses
  • Aruba Central has a good cloud-based product for small to medium sized business, but it is very expensive

How it Fares for Enterprise Networks

  • Large configurations can handle large networks
  • The base product is a traditional single tenant hardware controller which can make it difficult to deploy and use
  • For adequate reliability, you will need redundant controllers which are pricey
  • The Aruba instant access points are not sufficient for larger enterprises or multisite premises
  • Aruba Central provides a cloud alternative but uses separate licenses for features. This means that you may require additional licenses for future functionality which could prove very expensive
  • The ongoing admin of handling expiring licenses is time consuming

How it Fares for Arena / Stadium Networks

  • As with Meraki, for focused radio frequency with Aruba products, external antennas are required which will incur extra costs and will need mounting
  • There are a maximum of 2 5 GHz radios per access point
  • The Aruba multi 5 GHz access points have filtering
  • HD Wi-Fi performance is weak

User Experience

  • Deployment is difficult, with added complexity of ensuring you have the right licenses which can be time consuming
  • Depending on the products used, you may require multiple user interfaces
  • Expanding your network or adding new features may require additional licensing and subsequently more costs
  • Aruba does provide support within a 90-day product failure warranty. Additional support after that requires a paid support agreement. If you don’t pay, you don’t get support

Price-point

  • The price-point for Aruba wireless products is lower than Meraki but medium compared to other brands. As with Meraki, the costs involved with licensing and subscription fees with Aruba pushes the price up.

 

Still not sure what wireless products you need for your network?

If you’re unsure what wireless products would be suitable for your network – Whether it be small or arena sized – Our Wi-Fi experts would be happy to chat through the options. Our experienced Wi-Fi engineers can match the right wireless network products with your requirements to get you the most reliable Wi-Fi possible. Let’s strengthen your connections today – Get in touch now.

How Do I Choose The Right Ubiquiti UniFi Access Point?

There are a few reliable staples in our Wi-Fi toolkit and one of them is the range of them is the range of kit by Ubiquiti UniFi. Their selection of access points are straightforward to match to our clients requirements due to their varying functionality and design.

We’re confident that their thoughtfully designed models will meet the needs of our clients and your end users. It couldn’t be easier to match specific user environments with optimal performance through the Ubiquiti UniFi range of access points and other pieces of Wi-Fi kit.

Our expert engineers can utilise the Ubiquiti UniFi range to make sure our clients are offered the ideal solution.

What does your business prioritise – Performance, design, aesthetics or network simplicity? Maybe one of these really stands out for you, or maybe your business needs a blend of them all.

Whatever your network needs, there is likely to be an Ubiquiti UniFi access point to match, each unique in what they can offer.

 

Hello Wi-Fi 6

UniFi have introduced Wi-Fi 6 technology through their range of UniFi 6 access points. You might like to check out the U6 Lite and U6 Long-Range if this peaks your interest.

These models (and the future U6 range) can support 300 devices on your network simultaneously, offering each of your end users a smooth, reliable wireless experience.

The UniFi 6 range use OFDMA technology, which means they can transfer high volumes of data across multiple devices more strategically, improving upload and download speeds.

 

Not fussed by the Wi-Fi 6 hype?

Don’t worry. Ubiquiti UniFi U6 access points might be the future, but their tried and tested models are still popular. Models like the UniFi HD and nanoHD still offer fantastic speed and range as well as consistently providing a strong signal to a large number of devices.

In the digital world that we find ourselves in, this is more important now than ever before.

The UniFi HD and nanoHD utilise integrated, directional antenna which increase coverage whilst only using minimal power. You can widen their coverage even further by mounting them to the ceiling, ensuring fast and stable connections, even in the busiest environments.

 

Want the tech but not the ugly design?

Ubiquiti UniFi are pros in combining technical prowess with designs that you will no longer want to hide in a cupboard.

If you have a bit of flair for design, or simply wish to align your Wi-Fi kit with the style of your space then the UniFi U6 access points could be a great choice for you. Not only can you change the exterior of certain models with varying skins (think wood effects, fabric and even camouflage) but you can also alter the colour of your U6 access point’s LED ring.

The perfect way to keep your Wi-Fi kit on-brand with your business.

 

Connect to more people by extending your Wi-Fi

The UniFi Mesh access point could be just what you’re looking for if you need to easily extend your WI-Fi signal to reach a larger area.

If you your aim is to enhance the reach of your signal or try to avoid dead zones, then all of the Ubiquiti UniFi access points can link to other access points in your office (or home). However, the Mesh access points are specifically designed to do just this.

If your business is a high traffic area, such as a hotel or museum, the Mesh access points are probably the solution you’ve been looking for.

If you’re imagining cumbersome equipment then think again! Many of UniFi’s mesh access points are compact as well as being easy to deploy. You can mount them to a wall, ceiling, place them on a tabletop or even mount them outside the property on a pole to improve the quality of the connection throughout your premises.

 

Plug and Play Wi-Fi Extenders 

We’re a generation of ‘plug and play’ – We just want something simple and easy that will just work. Ubiquiti UniFi’s Wi-Fi Extenders are just this, if you wanting to double the coverage in your area and improve the reach. All you have to do is plug them in and your Wi-Fi experience will be instantly improved.

If you’re wanting to extend your network with minimal extra power consumption, then these devices could be what you’re looking for, whilstalso supporting hundreds of simultaneous connections.

 

Connect to the crowds

It’s hard to imagine right now – Watching a football match, going to a gig, attending a festival. But these events will be making a comeback this summer, and with it the need to provide high-speed internet to A LOT of people.

Odds are that these audience members are going to want to livestream being back at such a big event – Hundreds of thousands of people all using their mobile devices at the same time.

What you need in this scenario is a hugely powerfully, high-capacity access point. The Ubiquiti UniFi WiFi Basestation XG is one of the world-leading Wi-Fi installations for large venues. It has the ability to support up to 1,500 device connections at a time. It also dynamically filters and evenly distributes traffic to avoid any channel congestion. With its directional beamforming antenna, it can maximise coverage.

 

Got more than one location?

If your business consists of more than one property over multiple premises, then you might be needing to bridge the networks between these buildings.

A large networking project such as this requires a Point-to-Point Bridge. These create multi-gigabit wireless links between 2 locations, up to 500 metres apart.

These devices are highly adaptive to your specific layout, using directional antennas to connect buildings with a strong link that go unobstructed.

Regardless of the building positioning, UniFi’s Point-to-Point Bridges could be your ideal solution if you’re wanting to connect a network over multiple properties within the conditions above.

 

So how do I choose the right Ubiquiti UniFi access point?

As this article has shown, whatever the scenario, there is a UniFi access point to match. These devices can ensure that your large network has enhanced wireless connectivity and your end user devices are supported.

U6 Lite and U6 Long Range – For when you want to utilise Wi-Fi 6

UniFi HD and nanoHD – The tried and tested models before the future of Wi-Fi 6 takes over

UniFi U6 – For those that have a flair for design and want to customise your Wi-Fi kit

UniFi Mesh – Extend your Wi-Fi and connect to more people

UniFi Wi-Fi Extender – Extend your network with a ‘plug and play’ bit of kit with minimal power consumption

UniFi WiFI Basestation XG – High powered for large venues and big crowds

UniFI Point to Point Bridge – Connecting multiple premises within 500m of each other

To see how Ubiquiti Unifi access points could improve your wireless experience, get in touch with us today.

You can find out more on their website: https://blog.ui.com/2021/02/19/how-will-you-connect-a-guide-for-choosing-the-right-unifi-access-point/

 

What is Starlink and what does it mean for UK broadband?

Over the past few weeks we’ve been sharing articles about our clients’ experiences with slow, unreliable rural internet connections. We’ve been able to rectify this problem for them with the installation of 4G antennas and routers.

We’re no stranger to the issues rural villages face when it comes to internet connectivity. Over the past few days UK press has reported the beginnings of a potential new solution that could also help those that struggle with standard broadband connections. You may have seen Starlink in the headlines – But what’s it all about?

 

What is Starlink?

Starlink is a satellite broadband internet system from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. It is penned to provide a low latency internet option ideal for rural areas. It will consist of a constellation of small satellites in a low earth orbit, working with transceivers on the ground.

It’s made the press in the last 48 hours for securing a deal with telecoms mast company Arqiva, who will provide ground stations enabling SpaceX to spread its satellite internet service across Britain.

 

How does Starlink work?

As reported yesterday, Arqiva (based in Crawley, Hampshire) will be providing SpaceX with ground transceivers to increase UK coverage. With large ground station dishes at sites in Hampshire, Suffolk, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, Arqiva has much of the home counties covered.

These ground stations will help to connected broadband satellites to the fibre network, allowing them to deliver internet signals.

The internet services that SpaceX will provide is direct to the consumer via a satellite dish. Although it’s not currently on offer throughout the UK, initial trials have been carried out in Devon and Cornwall with those taking part having received their dishes in early 2021.

The move to secure ground stations will help enable Starlink to expand its satellite coverage across the UK. They hope to cover much of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by the end of this year.

 

When will Starlink have UK wide coverage?

Starlink’s network of low-earth-orbit satellites is growing rapidly. There are currently 1000 small satellites in orbit across the northern hemisphere, with plans to eventually have launched up to 12,000. Coupled with the provider’s move to lease ground infrastructure, this could well be an internet option for rural villages by the end of 2021.

 

Is Starlink connected to Project Gigabit?

This week, the government have launched Project Gigabit – A £5 billion government project to improve internet infrastructure and bring next generation gigabit broadband to hard to reach homes and businesses.

Officials from Starlink have been in talks with UK government in regards to how their satellite internet service could be used as a part of Project Gigabit, connecting remote parts of UK countryside to broadband speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.

The rapid expansion of Starlink’s satellite network could accelerate this project.

 

How much will Starlink broadband cost?

To get set up as a Starlink customer here in the UK, you’ll need to first buy a Starlink satellite dish costing £439. There will then be a monthly subscription fee of £89.

 

How will Starlink’s satellite internet compare to other broadband offerings?

Trial customers that have started using Starlink’s satellite internet service already, have so far enjoyed speeds of 100-200 megabits per second.

If this standard was to be seen across the UK, especially in rural areas, it would be a significant improvement in internet speeds.

 

Are Starlink the only player when it comes to satellite internet service?

Earlier in the year, Arqiva reported to investors that they were actively ‘developing opportunities’ with low-earth-orbit constellations customers.

SpaceX was among those that were named, as well as Amazon and OneWeb so watch this space.

 

Can I get Starlink satellite internet now?

Starlink is currently only offering an initial beta service through trials, both domestically and internationally.

With the news this week in regards to ground stations, it’s expansion is expected to continue rapidly with near global coverage (including the UK) by the end of this year.

 

This week has certainly seen some exciting new developments within the Starlink satellite internet service. We’re keen to see what happens next, and whether their internet speeds will indeed be as fast and reliable as they hope.

But for now, we’re sticking with our 4G solution to rural Wi-Fi problems. If you need reliable internet now, and a slow Openreach connection just isn’t cutting it, get in touch about our 4G broadband option today. You can read more about how we’ve helped rural clients in Hampshire get a reliable 4G broadband connection here.

Could 4G Broadband Be The Answer to Threat of BT Strike?
Working-From-Home Fears Due To BT Strike

For the first time since 1987, BT are facing nationwide industrial action due to a ballot regarding job cuts and site closures. The Communication Workers Union is due to hold a ballot soon, which could have an enormous impact on the network if a yes vote is returned.

Through this ongoing pandemic, effective internet has kept us connected with colleagues as well as loved ones. It’s held businesses together through the rise of working from home, and it’s kept part of the economy going throughout lockdown restrictions. As a nation, we’ve realised how vital a good internet connection is.

Most of the UK’s broadband network consists of BT, EE and Openreach, serving millions of homes across the nation. If, in late Spring, a strike goes ahead this could mean big problems for people who are working from home and reliant on their broadband connection.

Assuredly, they will only strike if they feel they absolutely must – They don’t want to disrupt services across the country to people’s internet unless they feel they have no other choice to protect their workers and service.

What does the possible BT strike mean for those working from home?

Nationwide industrial action by BT staff could have a huge effect on those working from home, who are relying on a dependable internet connection. Is there anything worse than trying to get some work done with a slow internet connection, or a meeting via video call dropping out every 2 minutes?

The pandemic and lockdown restrictions has meant that almost 50% of the working population have been working from home during the pandemic (ONS).

These workers are relying on their home broadband connection to be able to continue doing their jobs.

As we’ve seen from the challenges of home-learning and home-working, those who are currently based at home need a connection that can support both upload and download speeds in order to partake in video conference calls like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.

Not only is home internet needed more than ever, but the quality of the connection is also more vital then it has been previously.

What alternatives to Wi-Fi would be unaffected by a BT strike?

If you are worried that your home internet connection could be affected by the posed threat of BT industrial action, there are thankfully alternative methods of getting internet into your home.

We have seen an influx of 4G broadband installations and enquiries. Whilst these have mostly been from areas in rural Hampshire where standard internet connections are unreliable and slow, 4G broadband is an excellent way of backing up your existing internet connection.

Why 4G broadband?

4G broadband is the idea solution to patchy, unreliable Openreach internet connections. It can also be an excellent back-up solution should your standard Wi-Fi connection go down or become unavailable.

4G signal is received via an external 4G antenna and emitted into your home through a 4G router using a sim based data plan.

Here at Geekabit, we have a 4G testing pole so that we can accurately estimate 4G internet speeds in your location before installing a new antenna and router.

How could 4G broadband help if my internet is affected by BT industrial action?

Our expert Wi-Fi engineers are skilled in providing 4G broadband services for hire. We are experienced in providing an ideal internet solution for scenarios such as building sites, TV filming and temporary cabins. It’s also a great interim option for people moving house and between service providers when they first move in to their new home.

This makes 4G broadband the perfect alternative if your internet was to be affected and your home-working situation compromised.

If you would like more information on our 4G broadband hire options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our Wi-Fi experts here.

If you are already experiencing internet problems in a rural area, then 4G broadband may well be the answer. You may be interested in previous blogs we’ve written regarding this – Or for more information, please see our website.

 

You can read more details on the threat of BT industrial action via The Guardian.

4G Broadband – The Answer to Your Rural Wi-Fi Woes?

Over the last year, we’ve been inundated with requests from people looking for a different and more reliable source of broadband service.

Many people are moving out of London into more rural areas and expecting the same internet connectivity as they would have in urban areas.

They soon realise that many parts of the countryside are suffering from a broadband deficit and there’s a connectivity imbalance across the countryside.

We’ve installed countless numbers of external 4G antennas and routers, effectively replacing the broadband through the telephone cable, with a data SIM card.

This simple solution has meant that people who couldn’t Zoom for work at home now can, children can do their schooling online through Google classroom and Teams, and the dreaded buffering of Netflix binging no longer happens.

Not only is this solution perfect for those at home, but it works excellently for temporary offices too, such as those in construction, archaeology and film and TV work.

We thought we would share a couple of case studies from some recent 4G installations that have seen a hugely positive affect on their connectivity since making the switch.

 

Case Study – A Rural Home in Bishops Waltham

Wi-Fi Issue: This charming rural home in Bishops Waltham struggled with only 2-3mb download speed and 0.5mb upload speed through their BT Openreach line. As the Director of a large London bank, this unreliable connection meant she couldn’t work from home.

Our 4G Broadband Solution: We installed a 4G antenna and router, and she’s now getting perfect 60mb download speeds with 20mb upload speeds. This means she then didn’t have to travel into London so often.

Case Study – A Garden Landscaping Company in New Alresford

Wi-Fi Issue: This garden landscaping company recently moved their office to a rural location without any internet or traditional phone line. Their new office was a converted shipping container which, as it is made of metal, meant that their phones wouldn’t work quite so well for internet speed.

Our 4G Broadband Solution: Our 4G external antenna solution means they now get 40mb download and 20mb upload speeds within their new office.

Case Study – A Large Metalwork Company in Rural Dorset

Wi-Fi Issue – This metalwork company was having trouble with 3-5mb download speeds and less than 1mb upload speeds. This was the maximum possible speed in their area. Having asked  BT Openreach to extend fibre to their premises, they found out it would not only have cost them hundreds of thousands of pounds, but also ruined a beautiful part of the countryside. (If you watch The Crown you may well have seen it!) The poor internet connection meant that contacting their London based clients over Zoom was very difficult, and often required them to do so from their home instead or office.

Our 4G Broadband Solution: Using our 4G router and external antenna, they now receive 70mb download speeds and 30mb upload speeds. This means they can now easily maintain contact with their clients without having to travel back to their homes for a good quality Zoom call. It also means they can employ more people onsite and increase employment in the local community without moving their office to a larger town.

 

If any of these problems seem familiar to you, whether it’s your home connection or business, perhaps now is the time to get in touch and let us see if we can help.

These 3 examples are just a handful of the successes we’ve seen from clients moving from a slow BT Openreach connection to a faster 4G broadband option.

 

How can you be sure that 4G broadband is the right option for you?

It’s okay to feel nervous, we understand how frustrating a slow connection can be. We can come and assess your property to see whether a 4G broadband option would be viable for you with our new 4G antenna testing pole. This bit of kit means we can get an accurate representation of how our 4G routers and eternal antennas can solve your broadband connectivity problems.

For more information on our 4G broadband service, head to our website. You can also get in touch with one of our Wi-Fi experts who will be happy to discuss your requirements.

 

Don’t let a slow BT Openreach connection hold you back. Whether it’s for Zoom calls to keep in touch with colleagues, WhatsApp video calls with friends and family, or nightly Netflix binges – You deserve a connection that doesn’t freeze, buffer or drop. Call in the Wi-Fi Experts today.

The Robustel R5020 5G Router

We’ve talked a lot in recent weeks about 4G broadband and how it can solve many Wi-Fi issues in rural areas and homes with a slow BT Openreach connection.

But of course, the question on everyone’s lips when we talk about 4G routers and mobile broadband is ‘when will there be a 5G router?’

One product we’re feeling particularly excited about is the Robustel R5020. This router is touted to be offering next-generation cellular connectivity at a competitive price.

The R5020 will enable rapid deployment of high speed IoT applications in sectors such as Transportation, Enterprise Connectivity and Digital Signage.

In a compact industrial unit, the R5020 will offer 3G, 4G/LTE and 5G band coverage.

What are the key features?  

Here are the key features of the Robustel R5020 5G router.

A router with 5G capability

As Robustel’s first 5G capable router, the R5020 will also be capable of supporting 4G and 3G bands.

 

A stable operating system

Powered by their tried and tested CPU platform, the R5020 uses their mature and stable in-house Operating System RobustOS. This OS is fully programmable with a fully documented Software Development Kit. It also comes with a free cloud management platform (RCMS).

 

Applications

The R5020 is designed for use by various applications.

In-vehicle applications

  • Passenger Wi-Fi
  • CCTV de-brief
  • Ticketing
  • Other similar “onboard” requirements

Potentially increase internet speeds in these scenarios with the R5020, as well as future-proofing your current installations by making them 5G compatible. The R5020 has achieved E-Mark* certification for in-vehicle use, and supports GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) positioning. There is also a version to protect vehicle batteries with vehicle ignition sensing when the engine is turned off.

Broadband Failover

  • As well as a 5G Router, the R5020 can be configured to use Ethernet or Wi-Fi as the primary internet source. Should there be an outage on either of these, it can then failover to 4G or 5G.
  • If your business is a shop or small office, this can provide a good degree of connectivity resilience at a reasonable cost.
  • It can provide sufficient bandwidth for multiple users.
  • Core networks can utilise connections from IPSEC (Internet Protocol Security), DMVPN (Dynamic Multipoint VPN) and Open VPN (Virtual Private Networks) protocols.

Primary Broadband

  • You might think that using mobile broadband would be a pricey alternative, but mobile networks are now offering unlimited 5G tariffs at reasonable prices.
  • This means that hundreds of Mbps internet are available over the air.
  • There are many technical and commercial scenarios that make a wireless internet connection a favourable option, and mobile broadband offers another level of connectivity on top.

 

For more information on this product, or to register your interest in it when it’s available, head to their website.

If you would like more information on how 4G broadband could make a difference to your connectivity, please get in touch with our Wi-Fi experts here at Geekabit. We have a 4G antenna testing pole so we can assess whether 4G would be a viable option for your premises.

 

 

*An e-Mark proves your vehicle or component complies with the relevant EU/ECE regulations and can be sold in the EU, as well as other regions which have signed up to the ECE vehicle regulations. EU type approval is mandatory for whole vehicles as well as a range of automotive systems and components

The Best Unlimited 4G Data Plans for Broadband

We’ve talked quite a bit recently about the demand we’ve seen for 4G broadband, especially in more rural areas around Winchester and Hampshire.

In previous weeks we’ve shared our favoured pieces of kit for 4G routers. This week we’re going to talk a bit about the data plans needed for 4G broadband.

Many of our clients ask us about the best unlimited data sim plans for their 4G routers. For people swapping from traditional broadband over to 4G, this is next on the list of ‘need to know’ following hot on the heels of coverage.

We are pleased to be able to offer our clients an unlimited 4G data plan solution through Utility Warehouse.

Who are Utility Warehouse?

 

Whilst they may not be as well known as some of the big networks, Utility Warehouse uses the EE network which you all will have heard of.

Wherever there is good 4G signal with EE, we can provide a superior external antenna and mobile router to give you better upload and download speeds.

Did you know the emergency services use EE?

EE is the network currently used by the emergency services for their radio communications. It is one of the most reliable networks that you can use.

What’s the deal?

Other networks are of course available, however they often cost a little more as well as locking you in to a longer contract.

Our deal with Utility Warehouse is only on a 30-day rolling contract, which gives you the peace of mind that you can enjoy unlimited data whilst not being locked into a lengthy contract.

Is your home suffering from a slow BT Openreach connection?

Slow internet is frustrating at the best of times, but add in the stressors of working from home, remote learning and Zoom calls dropping in and out and you’re bound to be tearing your hair out.

For homes suffering from a slow Openreach connection, the speeds offered by Utility Warehouse Mobile will solve many of the issues you’re facing.

Can you get 5G through Utility Warehouse?

Many devices are crossing over to 5G so it’s natural that the question of whether something is 5G compatible is on your lips.

At the moment, 4G is the only option through Utility Warehouse, although we understand that 5G will hopefully be added in early Spring.

Want to find out more?

If you would like more information on the 4G Broadband service we can provide through Utility Warehouse, please contact us directly.

You can also find out more about our Utility Warehouse service offering by clicking here: https://uw.co.uk/?position=F62402

If you’re unsure about making the switch to 4G broadband or you’re not sure if it would be right for you and your home, have a read of our website. You can also give us a call – Our Wi-Fi experts would be happy to chat through the options and ascertain whether 4G broadband could solve your Wi-Fi woes. You can reach our Hampshire office on 01962 657390 – We look forward to chatting with you!

 

Amplifi Alien – The New Wi-Fi 6 Router from Ubiquiti

In this week’s blog we’re going to take a look at the new Wi-Fi 6 router from Ubiquiti – The AmpliFi Alien. With attractive performance features, this router could be great for a busy household working and learning from home as well as the intrepid gamer.

This Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 router brings a revolutionary Wi-Fi 6 benefit into your home along with an elegant design.

What are the key features of the AmpliFi Alien?
  • Wi-Fi 6 compatible
  • It has a scalable mesh system. This is great for gamers! The Wi-Fi 6 standard Mesh system can easily cover any home, providing 4K/8K UHD streaming and online gaming to multiple users in any room
  • It has true Gigabit mesh
  • An 8×8 super antenna system
  • You could get up to 4 times your current network capacity (compared to an AmpliFi HD)
  • Boost your coverage by up to twice your current network (compared to an AmpliFi HD)
  • Reduce battery drain in mobile devices
  • It has 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi 6 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5 radios
  • From this single unit, they deliver a total capacity of 7685Mbps and 16 spatial streams
  • Build a virtually unlimited Wi-Fi capacity within your home by easily meshing multiple units over the air
  • It has a convenient touchscreen which displays the network status and provides instant controls
  • The AmpliFi Alien has a single Gigabit internet interface and internal power supply
  • It is integrated with a LAN switch with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • You can use Wi-Fi 6 for wireless connectivity and the LAN ports for local wired connectivity
  • It takes just one minute to set up using their easy-to-use app.

 

What performance features could make the AmpliFi Alien a good choice for remote working and home learning in a device heavy household?

There’s a lot of households across the UK that are suddenly finding themselves in a network nightmare at home. Families where both parents are working from home, plus multiple children doing home learning lead to multiple Zoom / Microsoft Teams / Google Meet video conferences all needing to happen at the same time. And this can cause some big issues with internet and Wi-Fi. The AmpliFi Alien has some performance features would be enticing for anyone currently in this predicament.

  • The Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien is optimised to provide your home network with the highest possible performance – Irrespective of how many users or devices are connected at the same time
  • The AmpliFI Alien can eliminate dead spots and increase the total capacity in your home network by 4 times through utilising MU-MIMO and OFDMA for communication across 12 Wi-Fi 6 spatial streams
  • Got a video meeting you just cannot have interrupted by lag or loss of video? The AmpliFi Alien has 5Hz radio with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) speeds which you can choose to dedicate to performance critical devices
  • Using the above features can help you to avoid competing for bandwidth with any other devices on your home network
Sounding good, but worried you don’t have the technical know-how to set something like this up?

The AmpliFi Alien comes with the AmpliFi App – A simple app that allows you to set up your network in just a minute. It’s user friendly yet full of controls and statistics to enable you to configure the AmpliFi Alien for your environment.

For more information and detailed specifications on the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien, head to their website.

What other products are in the Ubiquiti AmpliFi range?

The AmpliFi Alien is the latest router that Ubiquiti have added to their extensive range of Wi-Fi products. You can find out more about their range of products by heading to their website, plus see real-life reviews of how Ubiquiti AmpliFi products have changed home networks for the better including all the stats.

 

We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty excited to see the AmpliFi Alien in action!

 

 

4G Broadband and the Teltonika RUT950 Industrial Cellular Router

If you live in a rural area, you may know only too well how slow the BT Openreach service can be. And we all know how frustrating patchy Wi-Fi can be, especially when so many of us are currently relying on it for work, home learning and socialising.

We’ve had quite a few clients recently that have asked us to install 4G broadband as a more reliable alternative to the slow BT Openreach service they’ve had previously.

The really great thing about 4G broadband is that we can use our equipment to test whether it will work for you before fitting any kit.

It’s becoming a more popular choice for home Wi-Fi networks, so we thought we would share with you our top product for 4G broadband installations – The Teltonika RUT950 4G LTE Wi-Fi Dual-SIM Router.

 

What’s it all about?

Here’s where we’re going to get technical. To skip past the tech jargon, scroll to the next section where we explain why the Teltonika RUT950 is our preferred choice for 4G broadband installations.

This industrial cellular router can be used both as a backup in-case your normal broadband fails, or as your main internet source. It guarantees a reliable internet connection with high data throughout (the amount of successfully moved data, usually in Mbps) and data redundancy (permits the correction of errors).

Connectivity

  • 4G/LTE (Cat 4), 3G, 2G.

 

WAN Failover

  • Automatic switch to available backup connection.

 

Wi-Fi

  • Wireless Access Point with Hotspot functionality. This router can support upto 100 simultaneous connections. Perfect if you’re currently a family of 2 working parents sitting on Zoom calls with 2 teenagers needing to be on virtual lessons via Teams! You can also balance your internet traffic over multiple WAN connections.

 

Dual Sim

  • With auto failover, backup WAN and other switching scenarios. If one SIM has a weak signal, reaches its data limit, has no network or network is denied, the data connection fails, or the SIM becomes idle, the router will automatically switch to the other SIM to limit disruption to signal. Custom data limits can be set up for both SIMs.

 

Ethernet

  • X4 Ethernet interfaces with VLAN (Virtual LAN) functionality. Ethernet adaptions can come in really handy, especially at the moment when households are fighting over their connection.

 

RMS

  • Compatible with Teltonika remote management system, which makes for simple and secure monitoring by us, for you and your network.
  • RutOS is a unified operating system that works across all of the Teltonika Network routers. Being powered by RutOS makes this cellular router highly secure and easily customisable.

 

Security

  • Unlimited configuration and pre-configured firewalls. WPA2 Enterprise (Wi-Fi Protected Access – Still considered the gold standard for wireless network security). Attack prevention. Mobile quota control.

For more detailed information and the complete specification on the Teltonika RUT950 Industrial Cellular 4G LTE Wi-Fi Router, you can head to their website.

 

Why is this product our preferred choice?

This 4G router enables us to have remote access to the network. This means that should any problems arise, we can provide support to our clients from where we are, rather than having to go to their premises.

The Dual-SIM functionality means that there is a backup should one of them fail, giving the client resiliency and reliability.

The units are powered by an operating system called RuTOS. This interface, a little bit like the way you use your smartphone, means that the manufacturer can send through newsletters and updates when new features have been added to the operating system.

Essentially, it’s a really powerful bit of kit, and well trusted by our Wi-Fi experts and engineers.

If you are struggling with a slow BT Openreach connection and would like to find out more about 4G broadband, head to our website. Or you can give our Wi-Fi experts a call and we can chat through whether 4G would be a good option for you.

Optimise Your Home Network for Remote Learning and WFH

Got network issues at home? Haven’t we all. Suddenly the majority of households are relying on their Wi-Fi a lot more.

 

Many of us are now working from home – We’re sat on Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Zoom. Video calls for work aren’t the only thing clogging up your network – Odds are you’ve also got children sitting on virtual lessons, learning remotely.

We’ve gone from using our broadband to stream movies, scroll social media, send some emails and play games to families all using the bandwidth at the same time for multiple video conferencing all at once. Plus all those leisure activities on top!

So what can we do about it?

Understand Your Bandwidth

Here’s a little metaphor for bandwidth, in case you’re not familiar. Imagine you’re drinking through a straw. If you’re slurping on a diet coke, then it’s a simple suck. If it’s a milkshake you’re drinking then you’re either going to need more suction, or a bigger straw. Coke is speedy, milkshare can be slow.

If you’re sending a quick text-based email, it won’t need much bandwidth. If you want to press play on a 4K video and watch it immediately, then you’re going to need a bit more bandwidth.

Right now, with Zooms and other video conferencing taking centre stage in our home networks, we’re needing both upload and download bandwidth. For effective video conferencing you need both upload and download bandwidth capacity (you’re watching and transmitting video at the same time so you need Mbps both up and down).

Try doing a speed test (upload and download). To handle 2 or 3 Zooms at once, you’ll need around 11Mbps upload speed. Yo can also talk to your ISP to check how much upload bandwidth you have on your current plan. .

What Is Your ISP Giving You?

The more capacity you have, the bigger your bill will be.

If you are really struggling with your network, then consider chceking your plan with your ISP, and if needed, upgrade it to include more upload bandwidth. It’s also worth noting that you should also make sure that your ISP is capable of delivering these bandwidth promises. Most speeds to vary and are rarely guaranteed.

You may also want to check whether your ISP is ‘throttling’ you. If you are using (or trying to use) too much data, they may be restricting how much milkshake gets through your straw by biting on the end of it. Sometimes there is the option to pay a fee to stop them throttling you.

QUICK TIPS
  • Check your plan with your ISP
  • Consider upgrading bandwidth, if possible
  • Check you’re not being throttled
  • Check if your ISP offer dedicated fibre lines to each house or whether it’s shared between a cluster of homes

What If You Can’t Upgrade Your Plan To Get More Bandwidth?

Sometimes it’s not as straight forward as just upgrading your plan. It may be too expensive, or it may not even be possible in your location. Thankfully there are some things you can control within your home.

Let’s think about the devices that may be taking up bandwidth, but may not be needed all the time.

  • Smartphones – If you’re working on a video call or doing remote learning, then you probably don’t need your phone. It’s always doing things in the background. Switch them to Airplane mode when they’re not being used, or you know there are several of you trying to use video.
  • Smart TV’s – Let’s face it, Netflix and productivity don’t really go hand-in-hand (unless your Toddler is watching it while you work!). Any TV’s that are not in use, need to be powered down (not in sleep mode).
  • Wi-Fi enabled smart devices – Our homes are full of these nowadays. Anything using WI-Fi and running in the background can be switched off to try and save as much bandwidth as possible.
QUICK TIPS
  • Create a video schedule for your family and try where possible to avoid conflicts (both online, and offline…)
  • Schedule back-ups and auto-updates for during sleep time
  • Ban Netflix etc at capacity-critical times

What if none of this helps much – What then?

Consider Getting Wired

There is another way to optimise your home network – And that’s to run wires with ethernet cables.

A wired connection is always going to provide you with more reliability. It’s usually faster than wireless too!

We’re not suggesting installing wires all over your house – The situation we find ourselves in currently is only temporary. But if you’re happy to run cables along your skirting boards for a couple of months then great!

QUICK TIPS
  • If you can work close to your router then you can keep costs down by using a simple and relatively short ethernet cable from router to laptop.
  • If there’s no improvement when wired in, consider checking if your router is working how it should be.

For more ways to troubleshoot Wi-Fi problems at home, check out our previous blogs. You might find these ones particularly helpful!

Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi

When Should I Use an Ethernet Cable?

Common Wi-Fi Problems and How to Fix Them