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Capacity Planner, Ubiquiti and FedEx Forum

Let’s welcome Andrew von Nagy of Revolution WiFi and Capacity Planner, Brandon Gilles of Ubiquiti, and Jeff Hansen also from Ubiquiti. They join us on this episode to inform us about the collaboration of Ubiquiti with Andrew’s latest version of Capacity Planner. Ubiquiti also goes into details about the FedEx Forum UniFi deployment to fill both high density and capacity.

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Sponsored by Metageek

Andrew von Nagy’s Capacity Planner was released two years ago to the community. It’s goal is to provide education on capacity topics, help administrators improve and build better wireless networks, and help move the industry forward. For version 2 of the capacity planner, Andrew has partnered with Ubiquiti.

The latest features and enhancements to Capacity Planner version 2 include:

  • Analysis graphs
  • Data to understand how capacity is used and where improvements can be made
  • Mesh planning
  • Improved visibility into AP load
  • 802.11ac Wave 2 and Dual 5 GHz deployment support (excluding MU-MIMO)

So why did Ubiquiti decide to get involved with the capacity planner?

  • Education of community
  • Customer reach of Ubiquiti
  • Future deployment of a web-based version

Full capacity at the FedEx Forum

The Capacity Planner was also used as a sanity check for the deployment of UniFi APs at the FedEx Forum. Used for determining how many access points were required to maintain capacity, determine what their minimum rates were going to be and what utilization would look like.

Within the FedEx Forum, capacity and frequency reuse were tightly coupled together. In the end, 86 APs were servicing users in the main bowl area. A large matrix spreadsheet was used to determine their channel plan and site surveys were used to see which areas heard which APs. All 5 GHz channels were used and there was close to reuse of 1.8x.

An external antenna pointed downwards at the FedEx Forum

The biggest attendance at FedEx Forum saw at peak, 4000 users using about 1 Gbps/sec. Also at peak. The geometry of the bowl created a lot of on-channel noise.

Taking QoS and load balancing into consideration, airtime fairness saw a good improvement. Devices were getting about 50 Mbps of throughput without limitation. Eventually, devices were limited to 10 Mbps. Load Balancing played a role as the team revealed an excess of 200 users on a single AP. Most of the clients were actually 1×1 and 2×2 clients. UniFi features a soft and hard load balancing. An AP will reject an association to try and force a client to another AP but has intelligence built-in if a client continues to join the same BSSID.

In the future, there are plans to integrate Capacity Planner within the UniFi user interface. Listen in on the episode to hear much more!

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Rowell, CWNE #210, is a network engineer in Higher-Ed. He enjoys working with wireless networking technologies and loves to share and engage with the community. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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