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Extreme Home Network Makeover – Part 2 – Core Devices

April 3rd, 2018 No comments

So now let’s dive-in and talk more about the implementation.

So I need the network to cover two and a half floors (roof is a half floor because it has two rooms). Each floor has around ten Ethernet wall plug and two/three access points. There’s also few cameras around the house, nine on the ground floor and four for the other floors.

To have a good network and wireless speed I have to pay careful attention to the backbone implementation of the network. So while I’m upgrading my home network infrastructure I’ve decided to also upgrade my current in-wall cables from Cat 6 to Cat 6A for future proofing. I have plans for purchasing a server and a separate SAN in the near future to expand and upgrade my home lab and media servers.

So next how many core switches do I need? With the number of required ports and because of having small size in-wall cable pipes, I have settled with two 24 ports switches (US-24-250W) for each floor except the roof. I would’ve preferred the US-48-500W with 10 gaigabit SPF+ ports for a backbone network switches but those 48 ports are more than twice what can be fitted through the cable pipes.

All cable pipes end up on the stairwell and they’re distributed in a such a way that each floor pipes ends up on the stairwell of the floor above. So ground floor cable pipes end up on the first floor stairwell. Therefore, core-switches are placed on the stairwell for each floor.

I couldn’t replace all Cat 6 cables because cable pipes are too small so for some points we couldn’t fit in another Cat 6A cables. Also I’ve decided to connect two cables between each core switches and home lab for Link Aggregation and faster speed.

A month later I’ve decided to add UPS to my home switches and gateway which in turn provides power to all my PoE devices (small Unifi switches, AP, and cameras). Should provide at least 40mins of backup power with my latest test. I bought also another bigger UPS for my NVR/Media server to keep everything running and recording when there’s a power outage. I’m planning to increase the UPS run-time in the future when I can budget for it.

First floor core switch

 

Ground floor core-switch

 

UPS for first floor core-switch

 

As you can see on the pictures above I’m using patch panel for two reasons; to keep the cables tidy and minimize touching any core cables to increase longevity. Maybe it’s an overkill for a home network but at least it feels more professional and I’m proud of it.

Extreme Home Network Makeover – Part 1 – Why & What?

March 25th, 2018 No comments

So I decided to upgrade my home network for several reasons:

  • Dodgy Wi-Fi connection
  • Wi-Fi dead spots around the house
  • Monitoring network activity and who’s using downloading a lot and impacting other’s experience

So after exploring and searching I’ve settled with the Ubiquiti Unifi ecosystem. I’ve been following the company for many years now and I’ve been a very fond of it for long time now, and the family are complaining about the dodgy Wi-Fi connection gave me a good excuse to upgrade my network infrastructure. And by choosing Unifi I get the added benefits of

  • PoE built into the switches rather than relying on PoE injector for each camera around the house
  • PoE end-point switches and AP so less cluttering and centralizing power feed for the home network so I can add a UPS in the future for powering my network and cameras in the event of power outage
  • Unify experience across devices with a single dash board

But that doesn’t mean that there’s no cons on changing my network infrastructure. In fact, because I’m using pfsense, I’m going to lose some flexibility when moving to a fully Ubiquiti Unifi solution like load balancing dual-WAN that Unifi for some reason doesn’t seem to be able to provide a workable solution for that.

So I bite the bullet and went ahead and ordered the following devices:

  • Unifi AC-Pro UAP-AC-Pro x3
  • Unifi AC Lite UAP-AC-Lite x3
  • Unifi Switch 24 Port US-24-250W x2
  • Unifi Cloud Key UC-CK
  • Unifi Mesh UAP-AC-M-US
  • Unifi Switch 8 Port US-8 x3
  • Unifi Security Gateway USG

 

Some might be wondering why a lot of devices. The reason is that I need to cover 2 floors and a half (the gym room), and the garden. So ground floor will get two Wi-Fi AP and the first floor will get three Wi-Fi AP because one half of the floor has many walls that one AP will not be enough to cover that half.

And because I’m upgrading the network I decided to also upgrade the network cables around the house to Cat6A for extra reliability and future compatibility for 10G speed. I bought a 100 meters roll (300 FT) and at the end only 70% of house cables were upgraded to Cat6A because 100 meters wasn’t enough. That’s an additional $300 for the cable and $500 for the handyman.

Most of my purchase came from Amazon and bhphotovideo.com. I couldn’t find everything on Amazon (out of stock) so I got USG, UAP-AC-Lite, and UAP-AC-M-US from BHPhotoVideo. All shipped to New York Shop&Ship office then forwarded to Kuwait. That’s around $700 just shipping the item from NY to Kuwait. If you’re wondering, there’s no Ubiquiti dealer/shop in Kuwait.

Note: This project was completed back in January 2018.

to be continued on Part 2…