Mimosa G2 first look

So Scott @ On-Ramp Indiana ordered a few of these and figured I would borrow one for a few days and do a first look and review on them.

Mimosa G2 Box

Nice and compact box.  I am a fan of the cover.  If this way on a store shelf I would notice.

G2 Insert
The very first thing you see is this wireless information card. Very handy for the home user. Many of my clients throughout the years save such things so having this in a bright card is a nice touch.  Another nice feature of this card is it has sticky tape on the back.  You can actually peel it off and stick it somewhere.  Not everyone has a network rack, so affixing it to there might not be the best bet.  We are in the day and age where there are not “telephone stations”.  The only thing I could come up with might be in a desk drawer or something like that.  I could see guests asking for the key so you would want this handy.  Any thoughts on a good place to put this?

Information Card
On the back of the card is a very handy diagram on the 3 modes of this device.  You can use it as a Wifi router. You can also use it as a repeater.  In this mode it works both wired and wireless.  As with some other manufactures it will auto-configure itself to join in with the rest of the network.  It learns the configuration and away it goes.  Thirdly, is a simple pass through mode. This is helpful if there is another router involved.

G2 contents
The box contained the unit, a slip on power plug, and the compliance paperwork no one reads. Thank you Lawyers.  One of the first things I noticed about this unit is the well made feel to it.  The plastic does not feel cheap, and it feels heavy.  That is always a scientific measure right?

G2 Ports
Mimosa has done a good job of helping the uneducated user on the use of this product.  A good example of this is plug, which is in the POE port.  This plug takes a little bit of effort to remove.  As you can see in the picture, it is also marked with a red label to distinguish this from the customer side.  This is so the customer doesn’t feed 48 volt to their router, laptop or whatever gets plugged in.

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Also, you have holes on the top and bottom for cooling.  On the side is a very easy to get to reset button. Another nod to Mimosa paying attention to common issues home users run into is there is a very clear sticker on the top of the unit which has the Home network SSID and passphrase on it.  A user can simply walk to the unit, look down and easily read the needed information.

G2 Plug

The power plug simply slides in a groove and snaps in place.  Nice clean setup.

In closing, my first impressions of this product are positive.  Packaging and instructions are put together well and easy to understand. The product feels good and has a good number of things to address common issues. Look for part two of this for a look of how this actually works, configuration, and testing.

If you are a manufacturer and have a product you think we would be interested in reviewing please contact us.

Mikrotik wAP first looks

The routerboard at the USA Mikrotik User Meeting (MUM) this year was the wAP. For the official specifications on this little gem visit here.  Some highlights of this AP.
-802.11 b/g/n
-Weatherproof
-Secure mounting
-802.3at POE
-11-57volt
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As you can see a great deal of thought was given into the included parts with this unit.  Mount, screws, poe, and even a thick paper template for drilling the wall and ceiling mount.

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Whomever is in charge of package and documentation design at Mikrotik gets high marks in my book for this setup. Included is a little instruction sheet which has topics for first use, powering, booting, connecting are all included on the first page in a concise manner.  On the second page instructions on netinstall, bootloader, and even enabling CAPs mode are all explained.

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At a street price of $45 for this model these have many uses.  Outbuildings, work shops, patios, and many other places where an AP needs a little protection from the elements, are all good deployment choices.

Open Source Box Design

One of the biggest challenges WISPs and anyone deploying wireless gear is power and distribution.  I have put together a checklist for purchasing items to make a standard box MTIN would deploy. This is not designed to be a how-to, but rather a “What to buy” guide.

Link to the PDF (7Meg Download)

Throughout this documents I make notes based upon experience. As with anything, these are not hard rules. They are meant to be guidelines to follow. Please adapt to your uses. For example, if you don’t have any non-cambium radios you don’t need the POE injectors found on page 5.

If you find this document useful please feel free to send your thoughts, beer money, or other admiration. Links to http://www.mtin.net/blog are always appreciated, as well as twitter ( @j2sw ) or facebook follows (http://www.facebook.com/mtinnet )are always appreciated.   If you reproduce any parts of this Open Source document please give credit to the original source.

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Box in deployment. Fiber has not been dressed so don’t worry it gets better protected.

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Basic no frills box with 2 PacketFlux gigabit injectors

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News from the WEB – ISP Edition

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/NewWave-Latest-ISP-to-Promise-1-Gbps-Speeds-130228
Add NewWave Communications
 to the growing list of ISPs large and small that are promising to soon offer 1 Gbps speeds — albeit to a tiny portion of their overall subscribers. The company has announced that they’re planning to offer 1 Gbps to a handful of rural markets starting next year

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/California-Governor-Signs-Cell-Phone-Kill-Switch-Law-130207
California this week became the first state in the country to pass a law requiring that cell phones include so-called “kill switch” functionality to deter theft, enabled by default

http://venturebeat.com/2014/08/26/intel-reveals-worlds-smallest-wireless-modem-for-the-internet-of-things/
Intel is revealing what it calls the world’s smallest standalone wireless modem for connecting the Internet of things, or everyday things that are connected to the web like coffee machines that you can turn on with a mobile app.

Capacity of a UBNT AP vs the number of clients

Almost all the time I get asked: “How many clients can an AP handle?” . My answer is always a very long and drawn out one. There is no set in stone answer. There are many factors which can affect this. I will go into some of these and then explain how to calculate this.

Some things that we will assume.
1.You are calculating on an 802.11N Ap with some kind of polling (TDMA, NSTREME, AIRMAX, etc)
2.You know the MCS values and/or data rates at channel widths.
3.When I say in an ideal situation I mean basically in the lab. This is our baseline. This means no outside noise, everything is working properly, and all the connected clients are excellent.

Before I get into what affects how many clients can an AP handle we need to shift our thinking a little. We don’t think in terms of how many clients can an AP handle. We need to think in terms of how much capacity an AP has. This is very important to think in these terms. If you do so things will become more clear and more quantifiable.

So now, on to what affects the total capacity of an AP.

1.The channel width. In and ideal situation you will get more Capacity out of a 20 mhz channel than you will a 10mhz channel.
2.Noise. In the real world you will have interference. If you have interference the noise floor drops, customer signals can’t reach maximum modulation, and there are retransmits.
3.Plain old signal. Things such as trees, distance, fresnel zone, and antenna gain all affect signal
4.The speed you are giving to each customer.
5.Overselling. The concept of overselling has been around since the dial-up days. You are betting your customers are not all online at the same exact time doing the exact same stuff. So you can oversell your capacity. I will explain this a little more in a bit how this factors in.

Okay, so let’s dive into this. I am going to use a Ubiquity Rocket M5 as an example. Again, this can be applied to any polling type N radio.

Say we have a Rocket M5. At a 20MHZ channel the best modulation this M5 will do is MCS 15 at 130 Megs of over the air. What do you mean Over the Air? Well there is a difference between actual throughput and the Wireless Data Rate (aka over the air). Your actual throughput/capacity will be 1/2 of the over the air rate minus a little for overhead. I factor in 10% overhead for easy figuring.

Back to our figuring. You have 130 megs of capacity on your AP in an ideal situation on a 20 mhz channel. If we do our math:
130 / 2 = 65 Megs of Capacity to sell on the AP.
Now here comes the overselling part.
If we oversell at a 2:1 ratio we have 130 Megs of capacity on the AP.
If we oversell at a 3:1 ratio we have 195 megs of capacity on the AP.

We can do higher ratios, but it starts to become a moving target. With the spread of Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, and other streaming services the average customer is sucking down more and more bandwidth for longer periods of time. Think of a restaurant with so many tables. If your customers are staying longer and longer, you don’t have as much seating capacity to turn over for new people to sit down and consume your food. This is for another blog post.

So, let’s say we are overselling at 3:1. We have 195 megs of capacity. We now need to think about what packages we are selling to our customers. If they are all say 5 meg packages, this means we can safely sell 39 connections to the AP. 195 / 5 = 39. You can figure up the math if you have 3 Meg, 10 meg, or a mixture.

Now to the real world (aka why do my customers hate me and my AP sucks?).

The following is a real AP in the wild.  Blacked out to protect the innocent from script kiddies.

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Couple of things to Note (circled in Red).

20 MHZ Channel
Capacity at 45% . This is more important than anything, even CCQ.
43 clients associated.

Let’s apply our math we learned earlier. We know a 20 mhz channel nets us MCS15 – 130 Megs

Here is the kicker.  Our capacity is at 45%.  This means we only have 45% of 130 megs of Over the air capacity.  Take this in half (130 / 2= 65   45% of 65 = 29.25.
This means all 43 of these customers are sharing 29 megs of capacity on the AP.  And the quality isn’t the greatest (37%).  So this means there are retransmissions going on between the client and the AP. The client can’t talk as fast as it is capable of in most cases. This means you can’t oversell the AP as much due to the quality of the signals being poor.  It is important to note I am talking about the quality and capacity of the signals, not signal strengths.

If those 43 people are all paying for, let’s say, 2 Megs download.  That means your AP needs to support a minimum of 86 megs. Thats without overselling.  We only have 29 megs in the current state!

We need to get those capacity numbers up.  How do we do that?

1. Channel selection. A noisy channel will drag everyone down.

2. Antenna gain.  This can be done at both the client and the AP.  A higher gain or better quality antenna can cause the clients to “hear” better.  You might not get an increase in signal strengths, but you are looking for an increase in quality. I use a loudspeaker metaphor.  You can hear a loudspeaker from a far distance, but you might not always be able to make out what is being said.  If you can somehow make out what is being said more clearly, then you don’t have to have the speaker turn up the volume.

3. Shielding. This helps eliminate the amount of stuff a client or AP hears.

4. Channel Width.  Sometimes dropping the channel width down can increase signals, thus raising the overall capacity.  Keep in mind it will lessen the overall capacity of the AP.

5.Simply getting rid of customers that shouldn’t be installed.  We have all done installs that were iffy.  These can drag down the overall capacity.

I hope this has helped understand.  The biggest thing I want you all to take away from this is think in terms of the amount of capacity you have to sell, not the number of connections.