Home Improvement

A Unified Home Network

There have been several geeky things that I’ve wanted to do with our home network for a while. They are:

  • Upgrade all network devices to support 1+gbps internet service
  • Add support for multiple bandwidth intensive devices
  • Provide coverage on all floors
  • And centralize everything with a small wall mounted rack

In our home, we (or rather I, my wife goes along with it) like to tie in automation into whatever we can. But, we don’t want it to be a mish-mash of a dozen different standards. Unfortunately, that’s a bit impossible at the moment. But, we’ve settled primarily on Apple’s Homekit and Amazon’s Echo. Apple ties in nicely with our lights, door locks, and fans; with just a quick summons of Siri, we can set each of those devices and have a near instant response. The same can be said with Amazon as well for controlling our thermostats and wireless speakers.

Suffice to say that we have a lot of devices (the FING app says we currently have 21) that vie for our router’s attention. On top of that, we also use streaming services for our TV entertainment (no cable/or OTA). This means our network has to support a large number of clients AND allow for high bandwidth usage. Eventually, we’ll be adding at least 1-3 wireless cameras to the outside of our home. Factoring in that and future upgrades, this means most residential wireless routers are probably not up to the task (as a lot are restricted to a set number of clients – for example Netgear routers are limited to 32 wireless clients, unless they are dual-band, then 64).

So, I went in search of affordable enterprise-class network components and came across Ubiquiti’s Unifi product line. This product line looks to have everything I’ve been looking for. Not only do they have access points capable of supporting 500+ clients, but their Unifi system is also highly configurable with a clean/professional interface, easily ties in security cameras (their own brand of course, not sure about others), and they even have solar products should we want to expand into that at some point (we are very pro-solar, even if it’s a bit out of range right now).

So, what’s the lineup looking like? Check it out:

Image Product
ARRIS SURFboard SB6190
This modem tops out at 1.4Gbps, which is way more than my SBG6580’s 343Mbps.
 Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway Pro
This would replace my current router (note, this is only a router – no built in wifi or tons of ports). But it does support fail-over internet access, so if your primary internet goes down, it can switch to the other.
 Ubiquiti US-24 Unifi Switch
The above gateway/router would connect to this switch along with all of the wireless access points that would be spread throughout our home.
 Ubiquiti UAP-AC-HD Unifi Access Point
On each floor we would have at least one of these to provide wifi coverage. However, the HD model is a bit expensive. We could probably work with the Pro model and just stick to the 5ghz channel to get the gigabit speeds.
 Ubiquiti Unifi Cloud Key
This is a device that you can plug-in to your network and have easy access to the Unifi controller – basically the web panel for the network, without having to install it on your computer(s).
 Ubiquiti UVC-G3 Unifi Video Camera
These are the wireless security camera’s I’d like to install around the perimeter of our home. Primarily one focused on the front door, but one to watch the driveway would be nice as well.
 1000 Feet Bulk Cat6 Ethernet Cable
And of course, to tie it all together, we need some Cat6 ethernet cable.
NavePoint 9U Wall Mount Hinged Network Rack Cabinet
I haven’t quite decided on an enclosure just yet. But, I like that this one can swing out from the wall if you need to access components from back there.


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