Ubiquiti Home Network Setup – part 2

Finally, this is the follow up post to My Experiences with consumer mesh wireless devices and Ubiquiti Home Network Setup – part 1

After quite a while at my parents looking taking care of family stuff I have finally managed to get back home, and I bet my partner is thrilled, because as soon as I’m back, in goes more network stuff, including holes through walls and cabling.

So my home setup now consists of:
Draytek Vigor 130 modem
Ubiquiti Dream Machine
Two Ubiquiti Flex Mini switches
A single Ubiquiti AC-Lite AP with another following later this week:

Unifi Devices

The living room switch is wired directly from the office, with a Cat6 run out from the office, outside and round the outside of the house and back into the living room, leaving the current setup looking something like this;

Home network map

The cabling wasn’t strictly necessary , I could have used the second AP in wireless uplink mode, but since I can wire it in, I’ll certainly see better performance from doing it.

There are a few small annoyances that I’ve seen, things I’ve become aware of due to the wealth of features on the Ubiquiti kit, but certainly not caused by it. First, my partners work laptop is old enough that the wireless chip in it doesn’t support fast roaming, so it can be a bit of a pain when she moves between the two APs, whereas my work laptop does support it. Previously on the consumer wireless devices, where they do support fast roaming, there’s then no way to see which client devices are capable of that, whereas I can just look at my client device table to see here exactly what does and doesn’t support it.
Second, the 2.4GHz wireless bands round here are just a noisy mess, with seemingly every house nearby blaring out 2.4GHz at full strength, although this seems to be a problem everywhere these days. The number of times I’ve heard our network guys at work cursing our very central London office, with an absolutely full 2.4GHz spectrum. (Side note, in that office even the 5GHz bands are full, and we get evacuation alerts far more frequently than anyone would want, for anything above band 48)

I’ve dropped the transmit power down as appropriate, so don’t look at me for noisy 2.4GHz bands, and when the second AC-Lite comes, I’ll have to tune everything again. Wireless channel widths have been reduced, as I’m not trying to push huge data throughput on wireless, just to cover Internet speed, which until OpenReach pull FTTP out of the bag in my area, isn’t that fast. Anything that needs big throughput, gets wired in. That leaves me at 20Mhz channels for 2.4GHz bands and 40MHz channels for 5GHz bands, nothing mad, but enough for what I need.

When summer rolls round next year, the new network should easily stretch to the garden, enabling me to work outside, and I can get my partner to start nagging work for a device that supports fast roaming to solve that little conundrum.

Doing two proper setups like this with Ubiquiti kit has been an absolute breath of fresh air compared to the various consumer mesh wireless kits I looked at, and I really can’t imagine I’d go back to consumer grade stuff again, even if tacking a long length of Cat6 to a wall was a bloody pain.