[kwlug-disc] [OpenWrt-Users] thoughts on ubiquiti rs pro? (fwd)

Robert P. J. Day rpjday at crashcourse.ca
Sun Jan 17 10:03:10 EST 2010

  hi, folks.  i asked about the rs pro on the openwrt list, and here's
one of the replies, just FYI.  i don't consider this a selling point
one way or the other, just more info.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2010 16:45:08 -0500
From: Robert Terzi <rct+openwrt at r-t.org>
Reply-To: OpenWrt User List <openwrt-users at lists.openwrt.org>
To: OpenWrt User List <openwrt-users at lists.openwrt.org>
Subject: Re: [OpenWrt-Users] thoughts on ubiquiti rs pro?

Robert P. J. Day wrote:

> * any notable experiences with that router, good or bad?  are there
> any crippling shortcomings that we should know about?

A number of people including myself are quite happy with the Ubiquiti
RouterStation Pro.  I choose it since it seemed like a good platform
that I'd be able to get quite a bit of mileage out of.
Among the reasons I went with the RSpro instead of an off the shelf
router are:

1. built in RS-232 console, so no soldering or special cables necessary

2. Your choice of 1-3 radios via the three miniPCI slots.  This allowed
 me to pick atheros based cards to get away from issues with
 lack of open source broadcom drivers.   The RS pro board does not
 come with any built in radios, you have to add your own, so that's
 why you see wireless standard = No.

3. I liked the fact that it came with OpenWRT standard as well as
 current builds from the kamikaze tree could be run, without needing
 any additional drivers.
 Some of the netgear routers like the WNDR3700 come with a modified  OpenWRT
Kamikze 7.09.  However at the time I considered it you
 couldn't put an up-to-date kamikaze build from source on it, there
 were pieces missing.

4. The RouterStation Firmware UI challenge of $200K seemed like a good
 commitment to the advancement of openwrt by Ubiquiti.  PyCI looks
 promising to me in that it is very configurable and seems to have
 more of a potential as a platform going forward.  However, I haven't
 really spent any time with the other two winners yet.

The bad points so far:

1. The state of documentation and the general organization of the
 information for the RSpro are very poor.  UBNT has at least provided
 a wiki where people can help remedy the situation.

2. No VLAN support - yet.  Currently there is no utility available
 for OpenWRT that can program the Atheros AR8316 gigabit switch chip.
 The ports are usable as a gigabit switch, you just can't carve
 any additional vlan configs out of it.

 I believe this issue is due to Atheros not releasing the specs
 into the open.

 It's really a bit ironic that everything else about this platform
 is so open, yet this problem remains.   I think Ubiquiti since
 they decided to source those chips should be doing something more
 tangible to resolve this situation.
 I think you should contact UBNT, and let them know how large
 of a group purchase you are considering and tell them it is
 dependent on the availability of the switch configuration utility.

 I went with router assuming this would get resolved.  There is
 a utility for the fast ethernet (not gigE) AR8216 chip.  There
 is a developer who is planning on working on this soon.

3. While the RouterStation UI firmware challenge was very promising
 and concluded last fall, things haven't really seemed to progress.
 The minimum that I expected to happen is to be able to download
 a reasonable image for each one or at least the two 1st place  winners from
Ubiquiti for the RSpro.   With one exception,
 the images that have been posted are for the RouterStation which
 is not binary compatible with the Pro.

I also purchased my boards, cases and power supplies from Netgate.
Note: You need a real 48V power supply with enough current to
ensure that multiple radios and the RS-232 console will work.
When I bought mine, netgate was the only source of an indoor
case for the RSpro.  I'm happy with netgate and their customer support.

For a wireless card, I originally went with a non-N card to give
me reliable G support for now.   I got this kit from netgate
which is a Wistron CM9 Atheros 5004 card, plus two dual band
antennas and two pigtails.

I'm playing with a Mikrotik R52N (2T2R) card.  It uses the same U.FL
connectors as the CM9 card, so I can use the same pigtails
and antennas.  (i couldn't justify to myself the cost of the
Ubiquit's SR-71A card, even though it is supposed to be very
nice.  Also, it uses MMCX connectors which means I'd need
different pigtails.  For 3T3R at least one person has reported
good results with a reasonably priced atheros based card from Sparklan.

I hate to say it but to get the latest information you need to
monitor a couple of forums instead of a mailing list.


All in all I think your group will be happy with the RSpro if you
work together and are willing to do a little digging.  Right now
you need to use very current kamikaze builds due to bugs that
have been recently fixed.  You probably will want to have at least
one person in your group that does custom builds to suit your needs.

I hope this summary helps and that your group posts lots of info
that will help others.

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