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Getting faster iPhone and iOS Wi-Fi speeds with Unifi UAP-AC-HD access point

Getting faster iPhone and iOS Wi-Fi speeds with Unifi UAP-AC-HD access point

January 9, 2020

Over the winter break I got to spend some quality time with my electronics. I noticed that transferring large files from my NAS using my iPhone or iPad seemed a bit sluggish given their internal modems are supposed to be rated very fast though it was hard to find the exact mbps specifications online, but I was only getting 250-290mbps or around 36mb/s.

I used this as an excuse to upgrade my Ubiquiti UAP-AC-Pro access point to the UAP-AC-HD which has more antennas and supports Wave2. I tested the before and after and found both before and after to have nearly the same results. But keep reading there is more

Upgrading to the UAP-AC-HD made no speed difference for an iPhone 8 or 2018 iPad Pro.

I go over the setup of the UAP-AC-HD and comparison to the UAP-AC-Pro in this video below where you can see the before and after.

But there was a solution.

It turns out there is a channel width setting that, by default, ships at lower throughput channel size. This is what was limiting my throughput on both the UAP-AC-Pro and UAP-AC-HD access points. This is the VHT setting. It comes as VHT40, but can be configured to VHT80 to unlock higher speeds.

There are considerations to running at the wider channel width though. This uses more spectrum. In installations with close neighbors with Wi-Fi it may be harder to find a channel on VHT80 without interference. In addition, when you have multiple access points it may be more challenging to find non-overlapping channels. This is why VHT40 is default. It allows for denser AP installs to blanket coverage at the lower more consistent speed which is fine for most users sending email and browsing the web etc.

The VHT80 setting works great for larger file transfers over Wi-Fi in non-congested installs. See my Wi-FI results below

I was able to get to roughly 560mbps with the wider channel width of VHT80 on an iPhone 8.

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David Mello

Breaker of software, geek, meme enthusiast.