I recently took the plunge in upgrading my home network from a Netgear R7000 to the UniFi SDN by Ubitquiti. The Netgear worked well for me for several years, but over the last few weeks it started failing, requiring a daily power cycle to get back on the internet. Prior to that, I was having issues with it whenever turning on QOS to prioritize traffic for my laptop (2 kids, streaming non-stop), it basically slowed everything down. Most noticeable was updating Xbox and Playstation, taking hours for a small update.
So I wanted something that could prioritize traffic as required, allow me easy VPN access into my lab when I’m out on the road, and allow for routing traffic between the VLANs my home lab sits on. I started looking at simple solutions like the Linksys Velop mesh setup to more complex solutions like Cisco Meraki. I was tempted by the Meraki’s pretty graphs and endless configuration options after a co-worker gave me a walk through his setup, but Cisco’s price and subscription model scared me away. The Linksys didn’t provide any of the advanced features I was looking for and would have been more of a direct replacement of the R7000.
So on a lonely Tuesday night on the road from my hotel room, I ended up buying the following (some from Amazon some from Ubiquiti):
- UniFi Security Gateway – The gateway to the internet, including routing, monitoring, and management.
- UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus – Management key for the entire network, also includes video management if I choose to add this later.
- UniFi Switch 8 (150W) – Switch that offers 150W PoE, used for powering the access points.
- UniFi AC Lite (x2) – PoE WiFi 802.11ac ceiling / wall mount access point.
- UniFi AC In-Wall AP (x2) – PoE WiFi 802.11ac wall mount access point.
I decided the In-Wall access points made more sense as the house we are renting has Cat-5 wall outlets spread throughout the house. I learned that Ubiquiti charges a 15% restocking fee and item must be unopened, returned one of the UniFi AC Lites after ordering the In-Wall version. They also have a version that has 3 additional gig ports on the bottom, which would be ideal behind a media center for hard-wiring game consoles / TVs.