One of the things that I have been obsessing over the last few months is the current set up our home network. Since March when the “working from home” had started, a bunch of issues had popped up and reliability of the home network was mediocre. I had been aware of Ubiquiti as a product but not familiar with the networking family of routers, switches and access points. I thought about getting a Wifi 6 router and just be done with it but the jury is still out on Wifi 6 and we don’t have a single wifi 6 device in the house. Unifi for a home setup is considered prosumer class, I was a little bit cautious and didn’t want to dive in head first as some people have mentioned that it has a relatively steep learning curve especially if basic networking is new to you.
I decided to start with small steps and a relatively small investment in case the setup is not suitable for us. I purchased a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite and had set it up with a WAN failover which worked a treat, I was very happy with the way the EdgeRouter was able to sustain a stable and speedy connection. The weakest link however was my wifi access point, I continued to use my R8500 as an access point and used a TP-Link 16 port switch for my wired devices. This worked ok but eventually the wifi experience began to degrade when I had more than 30 wifi clients connected at once, the Netgear R8500 didn’t seem to like being an AP only, it would disconnect all clients and will refuse to connect others while letting other clients connect with no issue. It was during this time I decided to bite the bullet and get serious about the setup.
I couldn’t bring myself to purchase a Wifi6 router for more than $600-$800 and yet, that is exactly what I did in the end. I ended up purchasing the Unifi Dream Machine Pro (UDMP) paired with a UniFi Switch PoE 16 (150W). This two devices are now currently housed in a server rack in the garage along with my Qnap NAS and other devices. The main features of the UDMP as posted in their website says:
- All-in-one 1U rack appliance for small to medium sized businesses
- Combines new UniFi OS with 8-port switch and security gateway
- UniFi Protect video surveillance NVR with off-the-shelf 3.5″ HDD support
- 8-port Gigabit Switch with 1 Gbps RJ45 and 10G SFP+ LAN
- Enterprise-class IPS/IDS, DPI, and Wi-Fi AI capabilities
- Powered by fast 1.7 GHz quad-core processor
From the rack I had to get connectivity into the house, sadly the house we are living in now only has two data points. One upstairs and one downstairs so I had to purchase 2 additional 8 Port Gigabit PoE switches to power my Unifi FlexHD and AC Lite access points. There are so many features in the Unifi OS and some would argue that its overkill, they may be right but YOLO! So far the home network is rock solid and when the NBN connection happens to drop, the backup WAN kicks in almost seamlessly and reverts back when available again. With constant Teams meeting during the day and kids on their Ipads streaming Youtube or Netflix, this Unifi handles it like a boss. I could spend hours tinkering with every single feature of the Unifi OS but I would never get anything done. Right now it is setup based on our usage pattern and hopefully secure enough to keep the nasties out. Running this alongside Pi-Hole as a recursive DNS is just a dream…