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New Deployment of Cambium XE3-4 Access Points (Wi-Fi6E)

Cambium XE3-4

If you would like to know more at deploying Cambium Networks Wi-Fi please read on. I am upgrading my home office Wi-Fi with their latest Wi-Fi6E Tri-Band access points and hence will provide an account of the process. I will be posting again in a few months when I have had the opportunity to monitor their performance and reliability.

The access point model I am deploying is the XE3-4. This is Wi-Fi6E, the E denoting that it contains tri-band radios for the familiar 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands plus the new 6 GHz band. It is an indoor access point with integrated omni-directional antennas. These will be ceiling mounted in locations dictated by Tamograph survey software.

Unboxing and installing XE3-4 Access Points

This video covering unboxing and installing the access point. It also provides a little background on the features of the XE3-4 AP.

This access point can be managed ‘in-premise’ or in the cloud. I have opted

cnMaestro –  Cambiums Wi-Fi Cloud Management Web Portal

A huge selling point of Cambium Wi-Fi access points is that they offer their web-based cloud  management software called cnMaestro for free. The philosophy of ‘something for nothing’ rarely rings true in life so this naturally rang alarm bells with me when I discovered this.

I have been using cnMaestro for the last few months with an entry level Cambium Wi-Fi6 access points and, so far, I am very impressed. This gave me confidence to upgrade my home office Wi-Fi using their high-end tri-band XE3-4 access points.

If you are new to Cambium Networks Wi-Fi you can register for free to their cnMaestro Cloud Management Software via the home page of their website (link below).

https://www.cambiumnetworks.com/

To create a free account, simply click the ‘Register’ link top right of the above home page.

cnMaestro Cloud Management – Home Page

When the registration process is complete, the cnMaestro home page looks like this:

Cambium XE3-4

The home page provides an instant status of your Wi-Fi network.

Background on decision to deploy tri-band Wi-Fi6E Access Points

I have opted for the model XE3-4 access point from Cambium Networks. This is a tri-band Wi-Fi6 access point. The ‘E’ denotes an extension of the Wi-Fi6 standard to include an exciting new 6 GHz Wi-Fi band.

I will start by saying the 6 GHz band is unlikely to provide any immediate benefits to me in the short term. There are many reasons. One obvious one is that the Wi-Fi solution I have replaced comprised of Wi-Fi5 dual band access points. Where possible, I connected as many devices as possible to the 5 GHz band and this proved to adequately support all my devices. 

I would suggest that the 5 GHz band will continue to be suitable for most home office environments. The 6 GHz band is an attractive proposition when the 5 GHz band becomes too congested to support the ever-increasing multitude of devices. Here is a list of Wi-Fi devices currently connected:

  • Laptop Computers
  • Tablets
  • Smart Phones
  • CCTV Cameras
  • Smart Switches
  • Speakers
  • TV Streaming
  • AV Receiver
  • Projector

The CCTV and TV Streaming is the main culprit for consuming bandwidth on the 5 GHz band as a lot of the TV streaming content is now in 4K. The CCTV cameras are also 4K and are often viewed on mobile devices. Having a new 6 GHz band to share out the load thus ‘future proofs’ my Wi-Fi network. The big caveat to this statement is that nearly all my current devices are only fitted with dual band radio and hence will not be able to connect to the 5 GHz band. It is only possible to upgrade some of these devices to tri-band Wi-Fi radios. One example is my laptop which I opted to upgrade some time ago in order survey for the new 6 GHz band.

A big selling point for the Cambium XE3-4 access point is that two of the radios are configurable. Cambium recommend configuring the XE3-4 access point to use the legacy 2.4 GHz radio plus 2 5 GHz radios to increase capacity. Their cnMaestro software monitors for 6 GHz capable devices connecting to your network on an ongoing basis. When these hit a threshold, a notification is triggered allowing the option of re-configuring one of the radios to use the 6 GHz band.

Onboarding New XE3-4 Access Points

The video below covers creating a new cnMaestro account and configuring a basic Wi-Fi network and then goes on to show the process of ‘onboarding’ new access points onto the cnMaestro platform.

This is hence a great video if you are new to Cambium Networks Wi-Fi and wish to get up and running as quickly as possible.

Just to clarify, the term ‘Onboarding’ refers to the process of claiming your new access points and adding them to the cnMaestro cloud management platform. Other manufacturers use the term ‘Adopting’ which is the same thing.

Below is a screenshot showing my 3 new XE3-4 access points that have successfully been ‘onboarded’ to my cnMaestro cloud platform.

cnMaestro

I am in the process now of physically installing them into locations I have identified having conducted a full Wi-Fi site survey. Access point AP03 is showing as ‘Offline’ as it is currently unplugged from the network whilst it is being installed.

 When I have had chance to evaluate the performance of these access points over the coming weeks and months I will be posting again with an appraisal.

Author :David Woodall

David is the Owner and Director of DW Wi-Fi, specialist in successful Wi-Fi deployments into a range of environments. Working alongside software providers to help deploy Wi-Fi into their end user customer sites. Extensive years of experience with a range of Wi-Fi systems.

DW WiFi is proud to announce it is now a partner of Cambium Networks leading global provider of multi-gigabit Wi-Fi.