Ubiquiti

Home Network Setup – Ubiquiti Upgrade

Only a few months ago, I wrote up the current state of my home network setup. Since then, Ubiquiti have been kind enough to provide me some devices to upgrade my network.

This is what they sent me after some discussions on what would work:

UniFi NanoHD Access Point – to replace the UniFi AP AC LR.

UniFi In-Wall HD Access Point – to replace a 2 port wall point.

UniFi Switch PoE 8 (150W) – to run off the UDM and provide PoE to these new devices.

UniFi Switch Flex – to replace one of the downstream switches I had.


First, the UniFi Switch PoE 8 (150W)

I had my youngest son inspect the PoE switch before opening:

It looks like your standard switch from the front and back, and I patched a few things through it on my desk to make sure it all worked as expected:

As with all these devices, plugging in and using the Unifi Network dashboard which automatically detects them, to simply adopt it and be a managed device, was the simplest thing to do without any hiccups.

I needed the PoE switch in place first to then power the other devices I had, and not needing a power cable for them all both freed up a few power points and made everything cleaner.

I then moved the switch into the cupboard with my UDM, Intel NUC and Synology Diskstation… but after further changes, the cables were tidied up and the UDM relocated elsewhere.


The UniFi Switch Flex is quite a small unit, a 5 port PoE powered device. Very useful for a TV cabinet to provide more devices a wired connection

There was very little to do on this one again, plug it in downstream of the PoE switch, adopt it, and it’s up and running. It has a wall mount option but I didn’t need that for my use case, it was going in the TV cabinet.


The UniFi In-Wall HD Access Point was the most interesting of the devices; going into an existing wall point as a 5 port switch (one port in the back for the patch cable going to the wall point, and 4 available coming out) as well as being an AP.

For this I had a friend help who could actually do recabling work, since the laws in Australia for this sort of thing are particularly strict:

I was unlucky that I didn’t have enough room for the wall plate that came with the device – so my friend made the same sized hole in a standard wall plate, which then had the In-Wall HD AP attached to it.

Look at the end result! This removed the requirement for the UniFi AP AC LR that was stuck to the wall, and one of the switches I had:


I ended up deciding to put the UniFi NanoHD Access Point at the other end of the house while moving the UDM. Again, I needed my wiring specialist friend to sort this one out for me.

Near the bedrooms and in front of the toilet, where there’s probably a lot of Wi-Fi use, there’s now a professional looking AP on the ceiling, wired back to the cabinet and the 8 port PoE switch. Looks great and doubles as a night light towards the toilet!


After all that, I updated my topology diagram and removed the Wi-Fi devices to make it a bit easier to read:

Old Topology
New Topology

And here’s the updated floorplan with heat map:

2G Coverage
5G Coverage

With all networking devices being Ubiquiti, I get much better visibility end to end on what’s happening across the entire network, as well as updates and configuration all controlled via the single Unifi Network Portal.

Here’s what the topology looks like from the Dream Machine:

I’m very happy with the upgrades and the extra visibility I now get across my network. If I was starting from scratch, I’d strongly consider deploying a UniFi In-Wall HD Access Point at every wallpoint because they’re relatively cheap and provide a lot of flexibility for both network points and wireless coverage.

The Flex switch is also handy, but wouldn’t work off an In-Wall HD Access Point as they’re not PoE out, otherwise they’re very small and easy to keep out of the way.

The 8 Port PoE Switch 150w provides PoE that I didn’t have – if I’d bought a UDM Pro instead of a UDM I’d have it coming out of that and not need this, but I’m very happy with this setup and the reduction in cables it’s brought. Worth noting that the switch runs quite warm – it’s fanless though and designed to dissipate heat through it’s casing, which can be a bit concerning if you’re not used to it :) Working as designed…

Finally the UniFi NanoHD Access Point is physically a little bit smaller than the UniFi AC LR AP – they have different specs including throughput speeds, but the NanoHD is a better fit for my use case inside my house.

The entire Ubiquiti ecosystem for me is still rather set and forget; unless I’m actually making a change, or getting an alert that something’s down (children tend to play with cables!) then it does it’s job. If I do want to know what’s going on, or the coverage/throughput of a device for some reason, it’s all pretty easy to find out.

Residential Gigabit Internet in Australia on NBN

Back in December 2015, I was connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN) via Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) and wrote about it. It’s taken 5 years for a faster speed to be available to consumers at a reasonable price.

(This is my personal experience in changing over to Gigabit internet, and is not sponsored or influenced by anyone in any way.)

Yes – it’s now possible to get reasonably priced, consumer gigabit internet in Australia. That is, if you’re lucky enough to have NBN FTTP or really lucky and in the 7% of the NBN Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) households.

You could get faster than 100mbit before this, but only through a few ISPs with 250mbit down but 250/100Mbps was at $250AU per month, and 250/25Mbps at $169AU.

I’m in that first group, sweet sweet fibre running straight into my premises (or premise?). I was already on 100 megabits per second down, 40 megabits per second up with Internode unlimited for $99AU per month, but Aussie Broadband’s new offering of 1000/50Mbps for $149AU was too good to not try. At worst, I could just go back to Aussie Broadband’s plan identical to Internode’s.

Changing over to Aussie was the quickest ISP change I’ve ever done. After submitting an online form and providing credit card details, I’d had an alert half an hour later that the service was now active on port UNI-D 1 on my network termination device. I changed the network cable over from one port to the other, checked the settings on my Unifi Dream Machine (UDM) and changed the WAN connection type from PPPoE to DHCP and I was on.

At the time of signing up, it was still a day away or so from the gigabit plan being released, but speedtest showed I was getting the same as before on a 100/40Mbit plan.

The next day (May 29th 2020) when the ‘Home Ultrafast’ plan came out, I immediately switched over. Except, my speeds didn’t change. Thankfully, @dawnstarau saved me a lot of time and said to check my UDM settings and look at the Smart Queues up and down rates. After fixing those, I was in the fast lane.

Unifi Dream Machine Smart Queues settings (correct for 1000/50Mbps)
First speed test after!

741Mbps down and 47Mbps up! However, that’s only ~3/4 of a gigabit connection! After a day or so things seemed to speed up a bit more and this is the numbers I’ll normally see:

877Mbps down. It’s close enough to gigabit on a service that doesn’t guarantee gigabit, and gigabit is the speed that all my wired ethernet devices talk to each other at. For wireless, you’ll need an access point and device on 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) to have a chance at gigabit or faster for your devices to talk to each other fast enough – but, my Google Pixel 4 XL that has 802.11ac shows top speeds at around 230Mbps when I’m about 1 1/2 metres away from an access point, way under what my wired devices see.

How is life on gigabit? Web pages actually do load faster. They weren’t slow in the first place, but things like adverts are noticeably ‘instant’ and an entire page will flash up fully populated, rather than the experience of having a lot of the page load then ads load half a second later.

Steam downloads a lot faster too, games will peak download around 90Mbps with often around the 50-60Mbps mark. Getting something several times faster makes a big difference when it takes 8 minutes to fully download a large game rather than 45 minutes; it means I’ll happily uninstall a game and get it later if needed, rather than hoarding a giant game ‘just in case’.

Youtube seems better at quickly detecting HD – even on 100mbit, it would often start at 480p and then work it’s way up to higher resolutions, but now it’s at least 720p.

Gaming isn’t much different, apart from giant Call of Duty patches which see similar speeds to Steam.

I don’t mind if two different TVs are streaming YouTube, another’s watching Netflix at 4K and someone wants to online game – the pipe is now big enough that nobody should lessen the experience of anyone else ever. Not that it was really a problem before, but as my kids get older they’ll be doing more and more things online.

If time is money, then for an extra $50 a month, I think it’s worth it to wait up to 10x less to download something. It’s even better having the flexibility to jump around as there’s no contract, so if I’m having a quiet month I could always just change plans.

Gigabit is what the NBN’s future promise was at the start until politics got in the way, and it’s really disappointing this option isn’t there for all Australians. Imagine if we did the entire rollout on Fibre and Covid-19 hit. We’d have everyone able to work at home on solid connections, instead of the hybrid mess we have now.

Also, if you sign up for Aussie Broadband make sure you use a friend code. Both sides get $50 credit – either use my code 3661840 , or even better if you have a friend already on Aussie Broadband, ask them to go to https://my.aussiebroadband.com.au/#/profile/ and tell you their Refer-A-Friend Code.

Anything you’d like to know or want me to test? Let me know in the comments.