Ok, if you have been following the series, you should already know that I equally love and hate UFiber OLTs. They are affordable, deliver a lot of bang for the buck, and have an awful GUI.
Please, be aware that this can change for better or worse in the future, and at the time I’m writing this the latest firmware is v3.1.3. I trust in you UBNT, hope you can sort out this and give us a better product. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Python in the middle
I wrote a quick and dirty client which acts as a sort of middleware between the HTTP inteface of the OLT and you.
It allows to provision non existing ONUs, GPON profiles, WiFi profiles, retrieve active ONU status and general configuration.
This is the core of the project. It uses the OLTCLient class to provide a middleware between you and the HTTP interface of the olt.
Initialize a new OLTClient instance with:
client = olt.OLTClient(host, username, password)
The initialization will handle the login for you, altough you can call the login() method manually.
If the OLT is network reacheable, and you have provided the right credentials, and the OLT WEB GUI is alive and well, you should be ready to start.
You can also connect using cli.py:
UFiber Client for fw version 3.1.3
Documented commands (type help <topic>):
connect help onu quit show
UFiber> connect 10.20.0.101
Logging to 10.20.0.101 ...
In a previous post we took a quick look to the Ubiquiti UFiber OLT. As always, UBNT tries to offer a non expensive solution to provide last-mile conectivity for end users. I am using non-expensive because UBNT gear is not cheap. Yeah, it can be affordable, but you only get what you pay for.
We saw that the command line is very limited, even when the software is a fork of Vyatta. There is no way to get ONUs provisioned from the command line, so forgot about Ansible (we love Ansible), netmiko, and other SSH clients tools to ease your life.
UBNT wants you to use the web GUI, period. They offer a dockerized management system called UNMS, which really comes handy after you have provisioned your customers.
Both you and me, as network operators, know that provisioning customers is one of the more boring tasks, but is is still a critical one. Fast and precise provisioning translates in more customers, more stability, faster troubleshooting, and peace of mind.
Yeah, SONAR exists, but not all operators can work with their pricing and technology supports. And don’t even think to integrate billing if you are using electronic invoicing with AFIP in Argentina.
If you are still here, don’t give up. If there is a will, there is a way.
Under the hood
The OLT has a web GUI served by HTTPS, with a self-signed certificate, on port 443. There is no easy way to use a proper certificate here, but well, it’s something.
If you are not authenticated, this is what waits for you in the URL root.
I want to know if this is a standard HTML form. And indeed it is.
Good enough for me. Of course this should be into a try/catch structure, but ymmv.
Shut up and take my ONUs
So, we are logged in. What about ONU configuration? The GUI allows to update firware, but this is done automatically starting from software version 3.1.3. We can also set many parameters of the ONU configuration, and provision them via OMCI, but the ONU should already exist in the ONU list.
There is no way to add non-existing ONUs to the configuration, which makes pre-provisioning impossible.
What happens when we click on save?
A POST request is made, passing an interesting payload to the /api/edge/batch.json endpoint. Let’s see how does it looks like.
This POST puts a payload with all the ONU configuration, and a bit more. It uses a JSON structure which looks like this.
Of course this is a fake ONU with a UBNTffffffff serial number. Yeah, we can fool the GUI and send whatever values we want.
This comes real handy because you can pre-provision ONUs before they show up in the PON port.
As an ISP, this means a time saver, because you can deliver ONUs ready to plug and play, and the OLT will hand out all the configuration without further intervention.
The web GUI is handy (altough not so stable), but it really doesn’t makes sense to have to manually provision each ONU when they are connected in the PON port. Technicians have to spend to a lot time on customers houses waiting for the NOC to configure each new customer. This is no-bueno in pandemic times. You want to install as many new customers as possible, as fast as possible, and staying in foreign homes as less as possible.
It seems it’s time for me to code something.
If you are reading this, Robert Pera, please make me a CLI.
An Upwork client reached me seeking for a set of suggestion and a brief desing for a brand new WISP network on Wisconsin, USA.
The milestones were:
Feasibility calculation of Wireless Links
Recommendation of devices
Analysis of the the network topology and re-engineering
Two local ISPs offered dark fiber and MPLS circuits to estabilish the network backbone, but the client declined the offers considering the contract timespan and cost of the lease. An additional link budget was needed, and after considering several vendors, the backbone was built using Ubiquiti Airfiber 24HD radios, which allowed to pass around 500 Mbps on the best conditions, and even 350 Mbps under heavy rain.
Other vendors had backbone solutions on lower frequency bands, but they require a licence to operate, so the non-licensed 24 GHz band was the best selection to avoid further costs.
The last mile was operated using WiMAX gear from Telrad, which gave us a great support and assistance on the initial deployment. The main reasons to select this technology instead of other wireless solutions was the ability to use CPEs that didn’t require direct line of sight, for indoor use, with limited capabilities, and a set of higher-end outdoor radios with more advanced features.