Hey everyone! Today I wanted to show you an ongoing project I’ve been working on at home. Behold my Ubiquiti home network! This is my first ever, home network setup aside from plugging in a Comcast modem in the past. For a while I had been meaning to do something like this in my home but all I had was a bunch of older and loud, enterprise level Cisco equipment I used for my CCNA studies. I tried using the cisco gear, but the humming from the switches in my ear all day in my office was starting to drive me crazy! I heard the Ubiquiti name being thrown out there a lot, especially for homes and small businesses so I decided to give it a try.
My home network consists of a Unified Security Gateway (USG-3P), one US-8 150W switch with 8 PoE capable ports, and two Unified AC PRO access points, one on each end of my home. Aside from the Ubiquiti equipment, I have a four bay Synology DS920+ Network Attached Storage (NAS) and a CyberPower Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). The USG on the upper left-hand corner of the image below, is a router/firewall and is what directly connects to my cable modem via the yellow ethernet cable. From there, the blue ethernet cable going from the USG to port 1 on the switch on the right, is what allows any device plugged into the switch, access to the network/internet.
If you have any familiarity with Ubiquiti, you probably noticed I do not have a Cloud key in my setup. For those that do not know, a Cloud Key is basically a central management system, or controller, used to configure and manage all your Ubiquiti equipment via a GUI. You have the option of purchasing a physical Cloud Key or downloading the free software version of the controller on your Windows or Mac machines, and running it on a Virtual machine, Intel NUC acting as a server, or even on a laptop. The idea of the software is to download it on a device which remains on 24/7, but in all honesty, your Ubiquiti equipment will continue functioning even if you were to turn the laptop off, you just won’t see the data your devices are retrieving until you reboot the controller on the laptop.
I decided to go with the free software version of the controller. What I did was download Docker on my NAS and created a container, which contains an image of the Unifi controller I use to manage my Unifi devices. This eliminated the need for a physical cloud key and it works great, setup was extremely simple. All the ethernet Is terminated to the 24 port patch panel. The patch panel wasn’t really a necessity but I got it so that I could practice making ethernet cables and punching down the twisted pair wires into the keystone jacks.
The AC Pro’s were a recent addition, replacing my two UAP LR (Long Range) AP’s. What I learned after replacing the AP’s is that, the switch is not powerful enough to power on the AC Pro’s via PoE, as the max PoE output on each port is 24V passive and you need 48V PoE to power the AC Pro’s. I ended up purchasing two 48V PoE injectors online for very cheap and they work like a charm. As far as cabling goes, I ran three ethernet cables from a small 8 port un-managed switch in a network cabinet, to the patch panel on my rack. The cable modem is located in the front of the house and the cabling goes into the network cabinet on the other end of the house.
Overall, the setup was surprisingly simple and I am completely satisfied with my small home project. I did end up bringing the internet down during setup as I was playing around with settings, learning as I went, but eventually it all panned out. I can say I really love Ubiquiti so far and am looking to scale my network in the future, maybe try out some of their 4K security camera’s which I’ve heard a lot of great things about. Aside from the setup and config, the Ubiquiti equipment lights my office up at night super nice, the picture doesn’t do it justice. The blue lighting on the AP and around the square Ubiquiti logos on the USG and switch are great touches as well.
I’ll be sure to keep bringing you more Ubiquiti content in the near future as I acquire more devices for my home network. As for now, I will wrap it up here, but do keep checking the blog on a regular basis because there is more to come!