60GHz Point-to-Multipoint Backhaul

This past weekend I finally had everything in place to deploy my Mikrotik 60GHz gear to backhaul the WiFi being installed in my pool house and detached apartment. There are a few reasons for choosing the 60GHZ equipment over using wireless uplinks within UniFi or running AirMax gear:

  1. For wireless uplinks I’d still need to mount an AP on the outside of the house. Brick exterior terribly degrades 5GHz signal.
  2. Mikrotik advertises gigabit, full-duplex. The headline numbers for AirMax AC gear are substantially slower and half-duplex.
  3. The 60GHz band frees me from concerns about interference from neighboring WiFi. Or my own.

I already had a Wireless Wire kit I’d intended to use for a PtP link at my old home, so I just needed to add a WAP 60G AP unit to enable PtMP. And figure out where to mount everything.

img_0268

The previous owners helpfully left me a couple holes where they’d mounted cameras. But climbing up the maximum reach of my ladder while drilling a mount above my head wasn’t something I really wanted to do.

Fortunately I found another set of holes coming off the living room. I wasn’t sure I could safely climb back down from that attic space, so first I embarked on a project to add another 2×4 step to the studs.

For mounts I used Ubiquiti’s UB-AM.¬†On the house end, the Ethernet cable goes back to my main PoE switch in the bonus room closet. At the remote ends I’m using the Mikrotik PoE injectors with the data side connected directly to the data end of Ubiquiti injectors that power the WiFi APs. I figured it wasn’t worth installing switches in each location just to run a single AP, but if I install more devices later I may add them.

RouterOS is a bloody eyesore, but Mikrotik thankfully provides a quick-start interface for getting the units connected to each other and it was relatively painless.

The moment of truth was turning on the bandwidth test server on the AP side and getting both CPE units to bi-directional tests concurrently:

Screenshot 2018-11-06 at 9.16.06 AM

That is up to 1.9Gb/s of aggregate bi-directional throughput! Amazing. Individually I’m seeing about 1.3Gb/s, which is quite a bit less than the advertised 1Gb/s full-duplex rate, but 2-3X what I’d expect from AirMax AC gear in this scenario.