Basic Network Set Up

Hello all, the great YouTube videos led me here, thanks for all the hard work. I am setting up a home lab (web server,NAS, Plex, cloud server, any and everything), I have the internet up (a vlan for the wife’s work laptop, vlan for all other wifi and a wired lan) but that’s it. I have 17,689 questions so let me just start at the beginning (I am a home lab noob so please be gentle.).

  1. I have a 1Gb (maybe 2Gb in the future) fiber connection going into a non netgear, Pfsense appliance, it has 6 x Intel 2.5GbE I225-V LAN going to an Ubiquiti UniFi Switch (USW-Lite-16-PoE), currently I have 3 cables connecting them. One trunk cable would work for now but would 5 be better? What are the best practices? Are there any advantages/disadvantage to using more or less cables (less cables take up less ports but is it better to use more cables)? With 5 ports do I even need vlans or should I just run a lan networks off of each port or 5 vlans on 5 ports?
    I hope this question make sense, I have a long way to go and any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

On my opinion, I would suggest to put 2 interface into lagg and then trunk it. Having 5 interface for lagg is not really beneficial unless you have hundreds of devices that can saturate all 5 interfaces.

Another advantage is if you think need more interface in the future, it is easier to add another interface into the lagg rather than removing an interface from the lagg.

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For what it’s worth this is what I do, I too have a pfsense box with 6 ports, WAN, LAN and the remaining 4 I put in a LACP LAGG to my switch handling all my vlans. I keep the LAN on the router, so that if for some reason I need to directly access the router because the switch has failed then I can but I don’t use it for anything else.

It’s been my experience that when setting up your network, you’ll try all sorts of things then you can no longer afford to spend anymore time on it and mostly stop. If a connection fails on the LAGG you still have 3 others without the need of faffing around.

Yeah, I’d say set things up with the mind of running vlans, it gives you the most flexibility but the effort to understand it is all front-loaded, in the future you might want IP cameras on their own network segment, much easier on a vlan. Buy managed switches, even if you don’t run vlans now it won’t be money wasted.

If you are going to run cable to other parts of the house, I would have 2 runs to a room and connect it to a secondary switch over a LAGG. The one thing you do not want to do in the future is run cable again, it’s a lot of effort.

Whilst you are playing around with pfSense I’d keep backups of the config and a copy of the ISO, when pfsense release a new version they pull the old version and you won’t be able to get it if you need it.

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Lagg, I have my NAS on a lagg but never even thought about it for a trunk. Worked just perfect.
Thank You for your help.

I like 4 better than 2 since I have already made 5 shielded patch cords and thanks for the heads up on the lan for direct access, I will implement that asap.

I am a commercial electrician so running cable is an everyday thing but that does not mean I like it. I have 1 inch smurf tube going to most rooms so pulling wire is a breeze. :grinning:

Thanks for the reply, I need all the help I can get.

As far as the number of ports assigned in a LACP LAGG, I would stick to either 2, 4, 8, or 16. The way LACP distributes traffic across multiple links doesn’t allow for equal sharing otherwise.

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Thanks, that is good to know.