Network migration to ePMP (backhaul, routing, DHCP, etc)

Hi all.  So, this is a bit of an unusual thread, but it's a ''barrier to deployment'' we are having, that I'd like people's advice on.

So - a bit of history on us: We've been doing Wireless since 1997 - that's since before there was 802.11.anything, so in a lot of way, we'd consider ourselves experts. On the one hand, we really, really know what we're doing and have tons of experience. However - for almost all that time, we've  only used a single brand of wireless gear, and so much of the way that brand does stuff is the way we've learned to do it, and the way we've become accustomed to doing things, and even more than that... I'd say we've designed much of our network and 'best practices' around that equipment.  So, while we're comfortable calling ourselves 'experts' with all our experience, we're also rank novices floundering away when it comes to stuff that we're not familiar with.  And as always, the chunk of stuff which we don't know is larger than that which we do know. So, I'm starting this thread to hopefully get some help as an amateur / novice on things we don't know about. :)

So - to the point.  We've been using StarOS (which is somewhat like MikroTik in way) for most of our network for the last 20 years, and here's the primary place that we're finding transitioning to ePMP tricky.  StarOS is somewhat similar to MikroTik in as much as the radio boards themselves have routing, DHCP, QOS (with fallback or quota or burst) and the boards themselves often have more than 1 radio card...  so boards with 2 Ethernet's and 4 Radio cards are common on our network.

And, since  the  boards do Routing, DHCP and have multiple Ethernet/WiFi cards, there are many places where we might have a couple 4 port boards on a tower, directly cabled to each other (no switch, no router) and the 4 radio-port boards themselves are all the backhauls, forehauls and include all t he 900Mhz, 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz gear all in a couple boards in the same enclosure.

So, with ePMP, it's of course different - the radios don't know about the routing, they don't do the DHCP or other things that we've had built into StarOS - so we've been deploying a hybrid system in a way, with the ePMP doing the RF side to the clients, and then that plugging into a StarOS board connected to the AP's Ethernet's to do the routing/dhcp as well as places where we want a 'burst' or 'fall-back' QOS (since ePMP doesn't do that either).  Again, that's working OK(ish) but StarOS's routing is fairly basic and all config is text file based, and... well, they firmware for the last couple years just has been unstable and so on.

So I guess what I'm asking is advice on not so much the RF side of things, but on the gear used in the tower shed, and on how to have redundant automatic-failover backhauls, and what to use to have QOS with burst/fallback/quota, and what to use for remote power cycling (we're currently using digital-loggers Web Power Switch) and probably several things I don't know how to ask.  Mainly - what people are using to have multiple backhaul paths which automatically self-heal, what people are using as their DHCP/Routers at the tower site, and what people are using what to use to augment Cambium's vanilla QOS with something that has burst/fallback/bucket/quota/etc.

SO - I've been meaning to try to star this conversation to get the help we need for the last few months, but once I type it all out, it always seems to be pretty wordy and disorganized and I've never hit the 'POST' button until now.

I'd be happy to talk about this more if you'd like to email "Joshaven Potter" <>

In short I recommend using a MikroTik router if you are comfortable with them.  The cost point is great and depending on your need you may be able to use the small PoE router to both power your radios and route for them.  You can also use OSPF, MPLS, & iBGP in your network this way.  I often stack a MikroTik and a Netonix switch depnding on the needs.

Another option to consider if you don't want to go with MikroTik is a MPLS capable Cisco PoE Switch.  You can get used Cisco switches that will do the job for nearly the same price as a new MikroTik.

Either way you go, you will want to keep the PoE voltage in mind.  The ePMP 2000 AP's use 48v but the ePMP 1000 seriese requries 24v.

-- Joshaven Potter

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OK thanks.  I'll email you then, thanks. :)

I don't think we need too terribly much help - we're comfortable routing and netmask and gateways and all that... so we're not novices by any means. :)  BUT, the flipside is that everyone is a novice when it comes to something new, and we don't want to spend a year trial-and-erroring the best way to do things, when it's been done by you all experts already. :)

So thanks Joshaven, I'll email and we'll go from there.