Configuring Ubiquiti

Configuring Ubiquiti airMAX M Series Wi-Fi Access Points For Live Sound 

Updated 9-7-2018

There are specific Wi-Fi access point settings that should work best in the live sound environment, where the Ubiquiti Wi-Fi access point is used to provide connectivity to Wi-Fi tablets that are used to control digital sound consoles.  This guide assumes that the user has general knowledge of TCP/IP networking, subnetting, and Local Area Network concepts.

This guide is based on configuring an Ubiquiti NanoStation Loco M5 model Wi-Fi access point.  Various Ubiquiti models should be similar.  Currently Ubiquiti airMAX AC products do not support connecting non-airMAX AC clients, and therefore, as far as I know, this guide currently only applies to the airMAX M series of products.


Initial Setup

Once the access point is unpackaged and connected to a properly configured LAN port on a computer, open a web browser and navigate to the default IP address of the Ubiquiti unit, usually http://192.168.1.20.  Enter the default User Name and Password, select the Country, Language, and accept the Terms of Use.  Click Login to proceed.

Configuring Ubiquiti
Configuring Ubiquiti

It is recommended that the default administrator username and password is changed.  Under the System tab, update the firmware to the latest version available.

Configuring Ubiquiti
Configuring Ubiquiti

Wireless Settings

After the firmware update is complete and the unit has rebooted, log in to the web console again.

Under the Wireless tab, Basic Wireless Settings section:

  • Set Wireless Mode to Access Point.

  • Change the SSID to a different SSID of your choice.

    • Note: Do not hide the SSID.  A hidden SSID makes issues harder to troubleshoot in the field, and may result in increased probe traffic on the channel your Wi-Fi radio is operating.

  • Set Channel Width to 20 MHz.

  • Leave Frequency, MHz set to auto.

    • Note: The radio scans for the frequency with the lowest noise floor upon bootup.  This would seem to be the most desirable method for quick setup for a portable sound system.

  • Enable Frequency List, MHz.

  • Enter the following values into the list of frequencies:

    • 5180,5200,5220,5240,5745,5765,5785,5805,5825

  • Ensure the Output Power is at the highest setting.

Under the Wireless Security section:

  • Change the Security to WPA2-AES.

  • Enter a WPA Preshared Key of your choice.

At the bottom, click change.  Apply the changes and wait for the Wi-Fi radio to reboot.

Configuring Ubiquiti
Configuring Ubiquiti

Disable airMAX & EIRP Limit

After the unit has rebooted, log in to the web console again.

Under the first tab, disable airMAX.

At the bottom, click change.  Apply the changes and wait for the Wi-Fi radio to reboot.

Configuring Ubiquiti
Configuring Ubiquiti

After the unit has rebooted, log in to the web console again.

Under the Advanced tab, enable Installer EIRP Control.

At the bottom, click change.  Apply the changes and wait for the Wi-Fi radio to reboot.

Configuring Ubiquiti
Configuring Ubiquiti

After the unit has rebooted, log in to the web console yet again.

Under the Wireless tab, disable Calculate EIRP Limit.

Note: Do this at your own risk, as you may be in violation of regulations.

At the bottom, click change.  Apply the changes and wait for the Wi-Fi radio to reboot.

Bridge Mode

There are two ways that the network on this device can be configured.  The recommended way is to leave the unit in bridge mode and use an external DHCP server, such as an Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X.

Under the Network tab, the unit should already be configured for bridge mode.  It is recommended to change the IP Address to an address that is on the same subnet that you wish to use for your digital mixing console.  If the IP Address is changed, go ahead and apply the changes and reboot the unit.

Router Mode with Onboard DHCP Server

The second way to configure the network is router mode.  The primary advantage of this mode is that it will allow the Wi-Fi access point to act as its own DHCP server for the Wi-Fi clients that connect to it.  The downsides are that there will still not be any DHCP on the wired LAN side, unless you provide an external DHCP server, and also some audio consoles search/discovery will not work across a router because the Wi-Fi clients and the wired devices are not on the same subnet.

In order to configure router mode and enable the onboard DHCP server, follow these directions.

Under the Network tab:

  • Under the Network Role section, change Network Mode to Router.

  • Under the WAN Network Settings section, change IP Address to Static.

  • Choose an IP Address, and Netmask that is one the same subnet as the digital mixing console.

  • Uncheck Block management access.

  • Under the LAN Network Settings section, change DHCP Server to Enabled.

  • If needed, change the IP Address, Netmask, Range Start, and Range End to the subnet and range desired for the Wi-Fi clients.

At the bottom, click change.  Apply the changes and wait for the Wi-Fi radio to reboot.

Configuring Ubiquiti
Configuring Ubiquiti

Recommendations

Make sure to write down the username and password, as well as the management IP address(es) and WPA2-PSK.  Use console tape or printable labels to adhere this information to the access point itself.  This can be very important information for quick field troubleshooting.

After all of these configurations are completed, make sure to test connectivity with ALL of the devices you intend to use at a show.

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