One of the leading providers of networking equipment to WISPs is Ubiquiti. In this blog post, we will conduct a comparison of Ubiquiti’s Rocket series of access points. This comparison will evaluate the performance of various Ubiquiti Rocket access point models by analyzing throughput, latency, and oversubscription rates. Specifically, we will analyze Ubiquiti’s Rocket 2AC Prism, Rocket 2AC Prism Gen2, Rocket 5AC Prism, and Rocket Prism 5AC Gen2 models of access points.
To facilitate our Ubiquity access point comparison, we have collected a lot of data from our customer base. This has provided us with metrics spanning tens of thousands of subscribers and thousands of access points. Since we derive our data exclusively from Preseem customers, our numbers may differ from those found in access point spec sheets. Consequently, the results of this comparison do not necessarily represent the full capacity of any piece of equipment being evaluated.
If you would like to learn more about Preseem’s method of data collection, check out this article.
Throughput refers to the amount of network capacity (in bits/sec) received or sent by each active subscriber during a certain time period. We begin our comparison of Ubiquiti’s different Rocket access point models by looking at levels of throughput.
Image from Carnegie Mellon University
The following figures compare the 90th percentile of download and upload throughput achieved by subscribers during the busiest (peak) hours.
The above figures demonstrate that the Rocket 2AC Prism and the Rocket 2AC Prism Gen2 achieve a similar throughput. Likewise, the throughput achieved by the Rocket 5AC Prism and the Rocket 5AC Prism Gen2 is comparable as well. Since the 2AC and 5AC Rocket models maintain different frequencies—2.4GHz and 5GHz, respectively—the difference in throughput between the two models is expected.
Network latency is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one point to another. Preseem measures latency by tracking the time it takes individual TCP segments to obtain a detailed view of the latency in a given network. This approach results in thousands of latency samples per second, per subscriber. This method of measurement is fundamentally different than an ICMP ping-based latency measurement; as it measures true end-to-end latency, including the latency in subscribers’ homes. Nevertheless, despite the method of measurement used, latency is still predisposed to fluctuate based on factors such as weather and the distance between access points and the customer-premises equipment.
The figures for latency show similar results between the Rocket 5AC Prism and the Rocket 5AC Prism Gen2. Additionally, the latency results between the Rocket 2AC Prism and the Rocket 2AC Prism Gen2 are comparable as well. Furthermore, these results indicate that all the Rocket Prism models analyzed maintain a low enough level of latency to provide an adequate experience for Internet-surfing and using VoIP services.
Comparing Overselling Using the Oversubscription Ratio
Overselling describes the practice of selling a service in excess of the actual supply of that service. Overselling is an intentional business strategy wherein sellers expect some buyers to not consume all of the resources they purchased. As a result, firms in the travel and hospitality industries commonly engage in overselling. In this regard, ISP networks are no different. It is impossible for ISPs to affordably provision enough bandwidth that would allow every subscriber to use their entire plan rate at the same time. As a result, without overselling, the business model of ISPs could not work.
In order to determine the amount of a service being oversold, we can calculate its oversubscription ratio.
How do you calculate an oversubscription ratio?
We begin our calculation of an access point’s oversubscription ratio by using the following formula:
Next, we apply the above formula in practice by using an example. For instance, if a WISP sold twenty 10Mb/s plans on an access point that typically achieves a rate of 50Mb/s, what is its oversubscription ratio?
In this case, we can see that the oversubscription ratio is 4. Calculating the oversubscription ratio for Ubiquiti’s Rocket 2AC Prism, Rocket 2AC Prism Gen2, Rocket 5AC Prism, and Rocket Prism 5AC Gen2 yields following results:
From the figures above, we can see that the majority of Rocket Prism access points are oversold by three times or less. As a result of this comparison, we can see that the Rocket 2AC Prism and the Rocket 2AC Prism Gen2 are similar to each other in terms of throughput, latency, and oversubscription ratio. Similarly, Ubiquiti’s Rocket 5AC Prism and Rocket 5AC Prism Gen2 are alike when looking at throughput, latency, and oversubscription ratio. Nevertheless, when comparing Ubiquiti’s 2AC and 5AC model, there is a stark difference between the 5GHz and 2.4GHz devices. Indeed, our Ubiquiti Rocket Access Point Comparison shows that the 5AC models deliver more throughput with less latency compared to the 2AC models.
Click here to read our Cambium Networks PMP Access Point Comparison blog.
Disclaimer: Results are based on a real-world analysis conducted by Preseem using thousands of APs and subscribers. Individual results may vary. All images belong to their respective copyright holders.
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