ePMP vs the "new" Ubiquiti?

I would now choose UBNT. 

It is a half a year now we ask devs to implement at least seamless channel switch and so on like site survey instead of eDetect (Who ever developed this one I bet never used it in real life. It is useless). 

I don't know about 3k now but ubnt has option to switch frequency seamlessly. Without phone calls without 10mins reconnections and so on. Once I ve tried it on AC I want it, I need it!

But even if it has this option I will have to abandon you guys because for the price of just set 3k I can replace my 5 2k sectors and even add some more. In this case lack of frequency reuse is not a disadvantage because at one sector for a particular client you get free spectrum but for other on the same channel you get nothing.. 

The performance. I could not get it higher than 50mbps in 20mhz per sector with 36 stations. What for is the number of 60 (120)? Are there still 0.5 mbps tariffs in the world??.

Some of the customers are still getting less than 3mbps free of charge because we do not comply to the agreement. And many of them are on 14MCS, fine adjusted. And by the way: on force 190 mounting is awful. This is what happens when a designer does the job not a technician. Same was on 180. You need carry a pair of pliers and some sort of special tool and a screw driver and when you tighten 190 it moves out of adjustment Instead of just having a single 13 or 10mm key. This is a big fail , guys! All together this is completely not what I have expected from an "advanced" make. 

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Hi there,

I agree with you. If I would start a new wisp right now, I would choose UBNT platform, even just AC, or maybe try LTU new devices! I'm always been a big Cambium fan, but starting from F300 and then epmp3k it's really a pain using them... full of bugs, every new firmware is a nightmare and you can't use it in production....

epmp1k/2k were great products but they're now a bit outdated since they're still based on old 802.11n devices and their performance now are slow for the market requests.

I've already talked with Cambium people some months ago about this.... their devices were best 3 or 4 years ago.... then ubnt started developing very well on new firmwares and now AC platform is really great....

As you said beeonline last but not least, changing AP freq live, without losing connection to the SM is really wonderful!

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So we use both Cambium and Ubiquiti... and for comparison... it's taken Ubiquiti YEARS to get their AC platform to the point it is now. LTU's software is in its infancy as well... they just came out of beta like a few months ago and there's still a lot of features missing that are now standard on their AC platform.

I also think you need to remember that when UBNT AC came out it was NOT backwards or forwards compatible with their N series... it took them YEARS to finally add backwards compatibility support, and that was around the time Cambium released elevate (what a coincidence!).

 It's only been a couple years now and I've participated in helping the ePMP team test and debug pretty much every version that's come out. I can say that they've made huge strides in terms of adding features, fixing bugs, and increasing performance. I'm very satisfied with the rate of development and how proactive they've been with connecting with the community to resolve issues. The best thing that you can do to help keep things moving forward is to bring up issues in the forum or create support tickets and help them gather data.

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Well Eric, I agree with you about how long ubnt took for developing AC firmware stable like it is now.

But I must say that Cambium made a lot of mistakes in the past maybe coming out with products too unstable like Force300 was (a nightmare for us 18 months ago!) or waiting too long for introducing new features, maybe very simple, like watchdog! We've been asked for... I can't remember.... maybe 3-4 years? They introduced finally with Force300 (just because was terrible unstable!) and then they finally setup all over epmp family devices.

That's the same for Test button for saving changes for just a couple of minutes.... how long they did to introduce it?

I'm still a big fan of Cambium products but I think they are really slow in developing new stable firmwares lately...

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+1 for fast implementation Seamless Frequency change LIKE UBNT

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Seamless Frequency change is definitely nice feature to have.

Dmitry 

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I've stayed away from the 3000 line -- to use the -ac speeds, signals need to be better than I am used to seeing (tough woody neighborhood). So I'd like to see some more love for the 2000s. eDetect is pretty lame -- I'd like to see a full scan, which Ubiquiti has had all along. Yes it interrupts service, but it's done at installation and in a pinch, not often. Scanning the client returns the result when it reconnects.

Also, when it goes to the wrong choice in the AP list, there should be a way to tell it to go to the one you want, right away, without removing the one it's on from the list That just seems so easy! (UBNT doens't allow a list, so it doesn't have the advantage.)

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Just put up an AF-5xHD PTP a couple of weekends ago... so far really happy with it.  That said, we haven't loaded it up yet and one thing about ePMP is it pretty much handles what it says it will while in the old days Ubiquiti handled 1/2 of what it claimed before the link would start puking all over itself.  The other AF products we have deliver as advertised for the most part though so I'm thinking we will probably end up replacing all the 3000L/CSM with 5xHD and all future 5Ghz PTP links will be 5xHD.

Putting up a PTP550 next week if all goes well, will see how it holds up against the AF-5xHD.

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For what it's worth, we have both AF5xHD and Force300c looks up for PTP.  Each have their strong points, and we do use them both in different places.

The F300c are a really good deal for the price.  We have a 27 km link and a 31 km link which carry over 305 Mbit aggregate in a 40mhz channel.  For a sub $190 radio, they are working pretty great for us.

AF5xHD are more flexible with basically all the things we've been asking for, already built into the AF. They have intermediate Channel widths, such as 30 + 50 MHz for example. They do fairly seamless Channel changes, which I hear cambium maybe trying to catch up with. And the spectrum analyzer doesn't crash.But

dollar for dollar, the F300c are still performing really well, with over 305mb out of a 40mhz channel at 30+ km.


@brubble1 wrote:

Just put up an AF-5xHD PTP a couple of weekends ago... so far really happy with it.  That said, we haven't loaded it up yet and one thing about ePMP is it pretty much handles what it says it will while in the old days Ubiquiti handled 1/2 of what it claimed before the link would start puking all over itself.  The other AF products we have deliver as advertised for the most part though so I'm thinking we will probably end up replacing all the 3000L/CSM with 5xHD and all future 5Ghz PTP links will be 5xHD.

Putting up a PTP550 next week if all goes well, will see how it holds up against the AF-5xHD.



@brubble1 let us know how it goes. Thanks

We had nothing but problems trying to use Force 300 has backhauls. We have since moved them all to AirFiber and they just work. 


@ElbowWilham wrote:

We had nothing but problems trying to use Force 300 has backhauls. We have since moved them all to AirFiber and they just work. 


Each to their own.  We have both AF5xHD and Force300c backhauls, in different places, and different situations, and different needs. For us, both of them work great. Clearly the AF5xHD is a different class, and it's twice as expensive too. Regardless of price though - everything has to WORK - and for us, they both work well.

So for us - with the correct settings - the Force300c (and the AF5xHD) have been rock solid as PTP backhauls. This example is a 27 KM link using two Force300c - - it carries 311 MBit aggregate in 40Mhz channel. That's 246 MBIT DOWN, and 65 MBIT UP right now, the way it's set.  And it'll do that all day long for us - we are having no performance or stability issues with the Force300 as backhauls.  For their price, we find them outstanding.

HTT-to-HANSON_Backhaul_F300c_MAY_05_2020_DataFromMTikServers_311Mbit_Aggregate.jpg

Likewise, the AF5xHD links we have are also very good -- and they already have some features which we've been asking for for a long time, already built in.  But - to the point of this post - I have zero complaints on the Force300s.

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When we see “Non contiguous channel bonding” for epmp3000. I would like to stick the 80Mhz channel from different frequencies.

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@ninedd Now that it’s a year later how have you found the comparison of the AF5xHD and Force300c?

I’ll have to answer in more detail when I have more time – I have a LOT more real-world of comparisons done now. We have a number of AF5xHD and Force300c links up – PLUS I also have some Force400c & Force425 (AX) links up now as well. Each have their strong points, and we do use them all in different places.

The AF5xHD are more flexible - with basically all the features we’ve been asking Cambium for over the years already built into the AF. The AF5xHD have intermediate Channel widths, such as 30 & 50 MHz channel widths for example. They also do seamless channel changes. The AF5xHD’s spectrum analyzer is real time / full time – and we can see both the Local and Remote SA results from either radio’s GUI… so it’s much MUCH easier to quickly pick a channel which is good for noise on both sides, and MUCH easier to test that channel without dropping the link for a couple minutes every time you change channels to test. The whole AF5xHD GUI is so so much better in displaying a wealth of info on a single pane of glass - so that I don’t have to keep flipping back and forth to different screens to see all the info I need to manage the radios. OH, and management… the AF5xHD is so much better designed in that regard too… you can set them up in ‘Managed Master’ and “Managed Slave” mode, so that certain features (such as changing channel widths for example) can be done on the Master, and that change is ‘pushed’ to the slave. Just a wealth of usability features - basically every feature we’ve been asking for, for the last number of years, are all already in the AF5xHD and working well.

That being said - the F300c are still a pretty good value for the price. We have a number of F300 links of 27 km link and 31 km and 34 km – and they typically carry about 310 Mbit aggregate in a 40mhz channel. For a radio which is under $190, the Force300c are working great for us in certain areas. Plus - we love flexibility options - and we have places with a Force300c on one side, and Force300-25 on the other side of the link due to size constraints. That’s a great flexibility option. Dollar for dollar, even if the F300’s aren’t quite as fast or as feature filled as an AF5xHD - the F300c perform really well and the “bang for the buck” is still pretty good out of a Force300.

On the flip-side, a negative mark for us is Cambium’s decision to remove the TDD AP mode from the Force300 SM lineup. That’s removed a fundamental flexibility feature of ePMP product line, and removed the flexibility of being able to stock single ePMP SKUs which could be used as a PTP Master, a PTP Slave, an UnSynced TDD AP, and a TDD SM… all with one SKU. To us, there is lots of benefit in the flexibility that the ePMP lineup always had - grab any ePMP radio, and use it in any role. They have decided to remove that flexibility, so the whole Force300 series and the whole ePMP lineup has lost that benefit prospect. (PS - I hear Cambium is planning on selling that feature back to us via yet another ‘License Key’ scheme in a later firmware - But I understand that’ll be limited to just the 300c and not available on the 300-19 or other Force300’s. So it’s further confusing if Cambium are our partner, of if they see us as prey?) Anyway, that was another reason we were using ePMPs as backhauls (in the past, we had locations with a Force200 as a client SM, a Force200 as an ePTP Master/Slave, and Force200 as an unSynced TDD AP for a small MicroPOP) and that flexibility has been removed.

And then there is the new Force400 series in the mix now. The F400c and F425 do 450 Mbit in a 40Mhz channel, so head to head, they are about 50% faster than a Force300csm link speed wise, they’ll certainly give the AF5xHD all they can handle in a head-to-head race. The fastest test we’ve done using MikroTik 4011 to push data between two Force400s, showed 478 Mbit aggregate in a 40Mhz channel. However, Cambium has also chosen to price them higher than the AF5xHD - and they still don’t do Master/Slave management, they still don’t do seamless channel change and instead entirely drop the link with basically any change in either radio - still has critical information not shown in the GUI, or spread across multiple different screens. So we will see - the Force400 series certainly is fast, but we will see what features the ‘business majors on the sales team’ decides we can have and which we can’t have.

So in summary - for us the end result is we’ve changed most of our Force300c links out and are no longer an exclusively Cambium shop anymore. Mainly the removed TDD AP feature lost a fundamental flexibility feature, and the lack of seamless channel changes and the lack of a single pane with all the required GUI info, make the Force300 lineup unsuitable or unattractive for our needs in most places.

But – I need to stress the positive – for places where 300 Mbit is fast enough, the F300’s work really well for us, especially bang-for-the-buck at sub-$190. And they’ve been very stable for us. And the F400’s are an absolute BEAST at moving bits; extremely fast. If Cambium’s “sales team” could get out of their own way, they would have a clear winner on their hands.

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Wow, that’s a lot to take in! Thanks for so much information.

Having not used Cambium before (we’re a Mikrotik shop with some AF5xHD backhauls), I’m not familiar with TDD and the implications of it’s removal. At this stage I doubt it’s an issue for us but it sounds like it might be an issue going forward if we look at Cambium for PtMP customer connections.

One other concern for us is power usage as all of our sites are solar and battery. The Mikrotik radios generally draw just under 3W while the AF5xHD draws around 7-8W.

The Force 300 lists power draw as 12W and the Force 400 as 30W. This adds significantly to the cost of panels, regulators, batteries, etc if it’s correct. Do you know what their real world power draw is?

Thanks,
Andrew

For a heavily loaded 3000L it is about 4W. Same for every F300 series.
3000L

OK - to basically catch you up on that, I mean that in the previous generations of ePMP — the ePMP 1000 and ePMP 2000 generations, any radio could be used in any ‘mode’. So, Cambium makes ‘GPS Synced’ models (which are generally referred to as Access Points or AP’s) and there were ‘Non-GPS Synced’ model (which are generally referred to as Subscriber Modules or SM’s or CPE’s). However, we could take any SM (a ePMP1000 SM, or a Force 180, Force 190, Force 200 SM) and we could use them as a SM or PTP link of course, but we could also use them as an Access Point. We could program them as a regular TDD PtMP Access Point. They didn’t have GPS Sync of course - so using them as an AP limits their functionality in some situations… but in certain situations, it was a beautiful feature to have.

It’s only in the ePMP 3000 Generation (in the Force 300 family of SM’s) that Cambium decided to remove that feature. You are correct - for a lot of WISPs, that may make zero difference to them.

So - just to clarify - when I say that they have “removed TDD AP mode”, I mean that we can no longer grab any Subscriber Module in the 300 family (Force 300-13, 300-16, 300-19, 300-25, and 300csm) and turn them into a non-GPS Synced Access Point, like I could with any of the SM’s from the ePMP1000 or ePMP2000 generations. For me, I consider this to be a fatal flaw.

I can’t really come up with a single bad thing say about the 5xHD’s or see why I would use anything else for inexpensive 5Ghz PTP. They are install and forget , just like ePMP 1000 was. I’ve grown to love the interface and everything about the design seems to have real thought put into it. IMHO they are superior in every way to any PTP offering ePMP has with one possible, and possibly very important, exception. I don’t have any in high noise situations (partially because of the excellent little quick SA on the main page !). Historically Ubiquiti has not handled noise well and I’m not sure how well the 5xHD’s do interference. That said, interference is far easier to avoid with PtP than PtMP and luckily the ePMP 1000’s / 2000’s rock that and the 3000 (not the L) seems to do OK with it so far.

You can stop reading here as nothing but ranting ahead :

Until the 3000L came along I hadn’t even considered trying anything other than ePMP/Cambium for 5Ghz PTP. Sync was the entire reason we left Ubiquiti when ePMP came out and I liked my networked being all Cambium, it just made life simpler. But 3000L was a complete service interrupting fail for us and PTP 550 just reboots , sometimes daily, both ends and that’s when it isn’t busy killing the link while it changes channels due to DFS hits that may or may not actually be DFS hits.

Where 5xHD can display so much quick / useful and USEABLE information on the main page ePMP’s horribly bloated , slow, glitch ridden, inaccurate / wrong information displaying GUI can’t even show something as simple as bandwidth usage without you going to special page just for that. And even that only recently displayed the bandwidth in a way was somewhat usable and still doesn’t tell you expected capacity… to have an idea of that you have open two pages in the browser , one on the bandwidth page and one on the performance page so you can see bandwidth and frame time at the same time and even then bleh… awful, terrible, joke of an interface…

I think I would love the ePMP Spectrum Analyzer… if it worked. But like the rest of the interface it’s slow and so glitch ridden/buggy I believe their fix for it is going to be making it so that you can’t accidently leave it on… because that is bad… which is funny because it’s so slow you have to leave it on to get any useful information out it.

The new Ubiquiti GUI looked kind of cartoonish to me at first but from the start I liked it a lot more than ePMP’s trash fire of an interface. Right on the main page so many things it does that ePMP can’t do at all:

Live, readable/useable: RF interface bandwidth speed and BONUS! Capacity ! FOR BOTH ENDS AT THE SAME TME !

Live, readable/usable: Built in Link Planner results (not only what your signal strength is but what it should be given the distance/antenna being used ! ).

Live, readable/usable CHAIN IMBALANCE ! On ePMP you have to watch the RSSI of the chains and if they are changing you are all " 0 = -55 now look at 1 Dohh it change back to 0 DOh it just changed ! O$#@(*#@ instead of me trying to screen cap so I can see both chains at once and do the math on what the difference is can it not JUST SHOW ME THE CHAIN IMBALANCE!?!"

Ethernet link and SNR on the wires .

Live, readable/usable: Spectrum Analyzer ! FOR BOTH ENDS ! AT THE SAME TIME ! OMG! I mean, it’s just a quick look kind of thing and not nearly as usable as the ePMP SA could/would be but dang that’s just super handy and accurate enough for the main page ! Does it even have a 2nd radio ? I mean, ePMP literally has a 2nd radio just for this and yet … really, just disappointment.

So much more, GPS Sats tracked /Sync Quality ! Memory / CPU, Link distance , Quality, SOOO much useful “at a glance” information !

Best of all !? You enter the IP of the radio BOOM! There’s the logon. You enter the username and password and BOOM! ! There is this wealth of useful information.

ePMP… you enter the IP of the radio and… well maybe the logon will load or… maybe just the banner… Refresh… ok logon. So you enter username and password… well maybe it will work and maybe you wasn’t really on the page at all or maybe you updated firmware on that radio recently and need to clear your cache (even though you have to run in incognito mode to make the ePMP 30% less likely to glitch out on you) or maybe you really are entering the wrong username or password… you just never know with ePMP.

But you eventually get past the logon ! WOOT ! but… you may just get a banner again or the incredibly poor design decision floating menu… but no information loads, no menu options will load… Refresh and … maybe it loads and maybe you refresh again. But ! It almost always for sure loads on the 2nd refresh ! And now you are presented with some information that loaded, eh, reasonably quick BUT… there is not one thing on that screen you can be sure is correct. It may show a wireless interface IP when in fact there is no IP assigned to the wireless interface (a recently added feature! this use to be accurate normally!). It may show the ethernet interface is down when it you know it is up because that’s how you are connected to it ! Or maybe the wireless shows down while simultaneously showing Uplink and Downlink MCS ## , SNR and RSSI ! Or , no RSSI , MCS or SNR but wireless link is UP !

Everything the ePMP interface shows you is a complete crapshoot and you need to refresh over and over to confirm what you are being shown is in fact current/accurate information and even then… there is still a chance you aren’t even in the radio.

Oh and the AF5xHD has a Ground POST allowing you to (1) hang the ground wire on the post, then put the nut on all with one hand ! (2) allowing you install / remove the Nut from any angle ! vs Cambium with a bolt (when they even include it) and good luck manipulating and getting that thing threaded with a #4g wire hanging on it that has a mind of it’s own AND it’s probably a Philips head , round, hard to hold on to , can only be tightened / loosened from one direction which they cleverly made facing the sector/antenna so … OMG… I H A T E that they screw up such basic / simple things while simultaneously trying to boast about having over a decade of experience.

At least 3000L did away with the door/cover/lanyard and thus resolved the whole lanyard problem that they clearly do not understand how those are supposed to work… It’s the one thing I like about the 3000L and they still managed to mess that up making it so small you can not get an adult size finger in there and have use a tool to reach up inside and release the clip on the rj45…

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Ubiquity has been in farting for several years.
The Airfiber 5 HD is a superior device compared to what the Cambium could offer in terms of price and technology as a comparison.