Althea is commonly used for Fixed Wireless applications, using a variety of radio hardware from different manufacturers. Unlike most other network management systems, Althea allows you to mix and match hardware from different manufacturers in the same network, and monitor all of it remotely. Common brands such as Ubiquiti, Cambium, and Mikrotik will all work. This article describes some real-world applications of Althea in Fixed Wireless networks.
GATEWAY It all starts at the Althea Gateway Router, which is the central hub where a radio network connects to the backhaul. Typically this backhaul is a Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) fiber connection. It can also be copper/COAX or some other source if fiber isn’t available, but Althea works best when the Althea Gateway Router has a fast connection to the internet with very stable latency. Unstable latency on the gateway will propogate down through the rest of the network and lead to worse performance overall.
Generally the middle-mile fiber provider will deploy an SFP (fiber) or Ethernet connection. This should be the only device upstream of the Althea Gateway Router. The Althea Gateway Router will connect its WAN port to this backhaul connection, and may need an SFP media converter depending on the particular model of Gateway router used (some models have internal SFP ports, others do not). Also note that there are two types of SFP known as SPF and SFP+.
Downstream of the Althea Gateway router, you’ll have your broadcasting radio access points (APs). If you need more Ethernet ports on your router, you can use either a managed or unmanaged switch as a simple port expander. For a tidy install, a POE switch is recommended, as it can then provide enough ports, and provide POE power to all the APs (without a separate POE injector for each AP). The POE switch webgui dashboard can also be accessed remotely to power cycle a particular AP that is hung or misbehaving, which is a very useful remote troubleshooting option.
to be continued