HOT 127: Upgrade Your Home Network to the Next Level

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What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!


When we moved into our new house, it came with Ethernet drops from each room into a central closet and a couple of UniFi APs in the ceiling. The APs were centrally managed by a 3rd party, so you’d have to contact them to get them added to your network. I decided to make the move from an ASUS WiFi router (I’d also experimented with the Google mesh WiFi for a bit) to a proper home network. I also hardware reset the APs and brought the network management “in house” as it were.

I got the UniFi Security Gateway (USG) for the router and the UniFi Cloud Key to run the management software. I went with an unmanaged switch, to save some cost over the UniFi products considering the number of LAN drops we had running into the closet. Also because I didn’t think I would need that level of “network tinkering” (yet anyway). Since I didn’t have a PoE switch, I used some small PoE injectors that came with the house to power the APs.

The whole thing is fed by consumer Cox Cable gigabit and has been pretty stable for the past couple of years. There is a bit of a learning curve in getting the whole thing setup, but there are plenty of resources on the Internet to help out.

Like Leo, I ran into a couple of issues with the APs or even the USG becoming unresponsive. Usually a reboot of the devices takes care of it. I currently have auto firmware updates turned off, because both my wife and I work from home and I really have to schedule any potential down time.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the UniFi products. The management software is great, AP WiFi coverage is the best I’ve had, and it’s great having LAN drops for every computer, TV, game console, etc. It is definitely a worthwhile investment.


This came up in my YouTube recommendations today:


I hay have missed it, but if there’s a NAS in the mix or more than a few devices capable of 10G…

You might consider adding a US-16-XG to the mix, in the same rack at the 48-port POE switch. Like you, I have multiple AC Pro devices to cover different parts of the house. I also have two in-wall units since the hardwired ports are handy in bedrooms where I want hardwired streaming.

The nice thing about the US-16-XG is that it’s mostly SFP+ ports so it’s flexible in terms of fiber versus copper. I have one in the central rack and one in my home office. You can use LACP bonding (easy to configure via the Unifi UI) to bond multiple links. I bond a pair of 10G ports from the US-16-XG to the 48-port POE switch in the main rack, and another pair from the home office US-16-XG to the main rack US-16-XG. More for the redundancy than the bandwidth since host-to-host transfers will only use one channel. These are all over multimode fiber; it’s cheap, it’s lower power, it’s immune to EMI and it can be run adjacent AC power wiring without violating electrical code since it’s non-conductive.

For me, the main benefit of the 10G is faster backups to the local networked storage, whether it’s TimeMachine or CC Cloner or SuperDuper, and faster transfer of large files (video, etc.). All of my home machines run automated backups over the network to ZFS pools each night, whether they’re Linux, FreeBSD or macOS. That includes the Raspberry Pis I use for a few things. Level 0 every 4 weeks, Level 1 every week, Level 2 each night. I keep two full sets of backups for each host at home, and also send critical stuff to the cloud from the centralized local backup.

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I’m really unhappy with Ubiquiti software. Although the hardware feels solid and good quality, the firmware is total beta software. I have Wifi and even wired connections drop often and without a noticeable pattern. Have to reboot everything a few times a week. I’ve resisted configuring this network to its full capability because frankly I’m not convinced it is worth the effort given its unreliability

While watching your video, I was analyzing the devices you placed inside the Secure vs LAN networks and saw that you had HomePods and Printers within your secure network and some other HomePods and iPads on the insecure LAN/Wifi. Why do that?

I’m trying to come up with my own criteria for segregation of devices and was using your setup as a guide. But I can’t find a rhyme or reason for placing laptops, iPads and HomePods both inside and outside the secure networks. Help me understand?

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Fortunately I haven’t experienced any of those issues. My network has been very stable, albeit required a reboot once some months ago.

I put the printers inside the secure perimeter because I couldn’t print wirelessly otherwise. I’m sure I could fix this with some research, but I haven’t had time. I’ve had similar problems with Sonos and other devices that require direct access.

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