After getting Gigabit NBN at home, I thought it was about time to review my home network setup.
I’d recently bought an Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine (UDM) to replace my two ASUS DSL-AC68U‘s which had been a bit prone to freezing, as well as having some other quirks around aiMesh not supporting ethernet backhaul on the model, and the 2.4Ghz mode causing issues around older devices not being able to connect to it when meshed, causing me to create another guest Wifi network that wasn’t meshed… yeah, I was done with them.
The UDM was a huge step up in features and visibility. I could actually clearly see what devices were on my network, what their signal strength was, an overall health rating of my network, bandwidth used overall and by each device… so much data.
It meant I could actually see that at one end of the house, the devices were fine on Wi-Fi , but I wanted as close to perfect as possible. That lead me to buy a Ubiquiti Unifi AP AC Lite to put at one end of the house for better coverage. Adding the access point onto the network was the easiest network thing I’d ever done – plug it in, discover it on the UDM, and that’s it.
The UDM shows a nice graph of my devices and where they’re connected to (it isn’t aware of non-managed downstream switches though):
It even has an option to create a floor plan of your house and give recommended settings based on it – you upload an image, draw in the walls and what type they are, run a scan and it gives recommended settings and expected coverage:
To test my rusty Visio skills (which are still rusty after this), I thought I’d try and draw a topology of my setup. Still not being able to wrangle lines and make them go exactly where I wanted, I think I did an OK job of showing what I have and how it’s connected:
I’ve actually got a few CAT6 points in the house – from the lounge to a cupboard, and from the cupboard to the family room and one of the bedrooms.
What I realised out of this was really how many devices I had. I didn’t get close to adding everything in (which was easy to check against the UDM’s client list) – Chromecasts, a Google Mini, other devices that had been offline for a bit or tablets I’d forgotten about – there’s a heck of a lot of devices on the network.
As my kids get older, and more technology enters our lives, this will continue to get complex. Earlier this year I was still thinking “I’ll never have faster than 100mbit internet” and then gigabit internet came along – making pretty much every device have the ability to get whatever it wants from around the world, at the full speed it’s connected to the rest of my network, rather than having the service running into the house being the bottleneck.
What’s my real point in all this? I guess just be aware of what you have, what might be actually on your network, and get decent gear if you want to have a good experience. Don’t be afraid to invest in network points in your home, and 5G isn’t going to solve your devices talking to each other in your own home (although I am interested in seeing what real world speeds are like, now that I’ve got coverage).
With my Gigabit NBN and decent router/access points, the Ubiquiti UDM itself gives a nice summary (and I know we’re 2% short here, it’s as close to perfect as I can get):