Ubiquiti Wi-Fi 6 and Mikrotik Dual WAN

This Wednesday, I got to roll my sleeves up and stretch my IT muscles by upgrading our Wi-Fi network, installing a new router, and setting up a secondary internet connection.


We have a fantastic 1GB commercial fibre connection, provided by Colchester Fibre, which has great uptime and has proven to be very reliable. That said, like any connection, we do still have rare periods of downtime. With so many of our tools and software being cloud based, the majority of our comms and meetings being electronic, and our recent investment in our vMix virtual event broadcast studio – I set myself a challenge to maximise our redundancy to ensure our business is ‘always online’. Our existing Wi-Fi infrastructure was also not able to deliver the power of our 1GB fibre connection to mobile users, so it was an ideal opportunity to also upgrade this.

Wi-FI 6

My first task was to upgrade our Wi-Fi access points – which could not be any easier thanks to Ubiquiti’s UniFi software. Our old Wi-Fi 5 access points could deliver around 120Mbps to laptops and mobile devices, which was usable, but our new Ubiquiti U6-Pro access points achieve around 500Mbps – a huge improvement, especially considering we are often working with large files and video assets. The UniFi software detected the new access points as soon as I plugged them in, and a ‘one click adoption’ process had them deployed and usable in about 5 minutes. I then optimised the channels and channel widths based on the environment and surrounding networks, vigorously testing connections around the studio to find the best settings.

Setting up for Dual WAN

Firstly, just to clarify; WAN stands for Wide Area Network – it’s the technical term for a connection from your local network to a wider network area – or in most instances, the internet.

For our secondary connection, I chose a 5G mobile connection from EE, following research into the best providers and coverage at our studios’ location. For just £33.66 a month, we have unlimited data and a 5G Smart Hub, which provides a stable 80+Mbps connection – which is perfectly adequate for a backup connection.

Next, we needed to upgrade our router, and following research and discussion with IT professionals we went for a Mikrotik RB5009UG. The Router UI took some time to get used too, especially after the smooth and polished UniFi experience, but it is powerful and highly configurable.

Firstly, I configured the two WAN connections independently on the router and tested the throughput. I then disabled the 5G interface and set up the inbuilt Netwatch tool to monitor the Gateway IP of our fibre connection. This executes a test every 10 seconds to check the ISPs gateway is reachable, if it fails, it enables the 5G interface with a higher priority in the routing table, instantly switching all traffic to the secondary WAN connection. The tool continues to execute the test every 10 seconds, so once the fibre connection is back online it disables the 5G interface and switches the traffic back. I also added a small script linked to Sparkpost to send the team an email when the DOWN and UP events are triggered.


So, in the real world, what does this mean? We simulated the fibre line going down by removing the cable. It took 7 seconds for the Netwatch test to fail, and 1 second for the switch to Fibre to complete.  In most instances, a general internet user would probably not even notice this happening – a great result.

What about our software and applications that require constant connection?

Zoom – I was really impressed with Zoom’s ability to recover from the switch over. It complained about an unstable internet connection for a few seconds and carried on as normal.

VoIP – about 10 seconds of conversation was lost. Interesting, the recipient was able to hear all of my outbound conversation, there was a few seconds delay and a short period of increased speech speed whilst it recovered. Their incoming conversation was lost completely during the switch, I guess this was because the packets were being sent to the wrong internet IP for a short period.

Live Streaming – again, this worked really well. About 5 seconds of outbound packets were dropped but the connection recovered, rebuffered and continued on at full quality.


For an approximate investment of £500, we have tripled the speed of our Wi-Fi, and we have maximised our teams’ ability to maintain productivity, communications and broadcast live events. Win win.

Published by: Ben Green