New Home Unifi network questions

I just built a brand new home. The image below is the network box that came with the house. Due to the amount of coax cable drops in the house we got ethernet jacks wired along with the coax. As you can see it came with a simple tp-link switch TL-SG1008D the other device in the box is a coax signal amplifier. Network wise not the best of starts. I plan on eventually installing a rack in this location. Also, they ran out of ports so not all the ethernet runs are plugged into the tp-link.

The current configuration of the network is a Spectrum.net cable modem/gateway (TV, Phone, Internet) connected to the switch. I have an EERO Pro 6 connected to one of the ports of the cable modem. Two others linked via wifi to the main eero pro. Everybody in the house is connected via wifi.

What I would like to do is to slowly integrate Unifi into my current network. I’m working from a home office due to COVID and I want to use an ethernet wired connection.

Here are my questions?

  1. Can I start with purchasing an Unifi Switch Lite 8 PoE for my home office? Do I need software to manage it?
  2. Can the Unifi software manage the eero pros? Could I segment them to a separate network?
  3. Recommendations for the order of purchase for other components of the home network.

My thoughts are to get a Dream Machine pro and a 24-port switch to replace the tp-link in the basement and then eventually.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks

Paul

IMG_1105

It’s been 20+ hours and as no one has answered I’ll give it a shot :slight_smile:

  1. Yes you can just purchase a single Unifi switch, but you will need the controller software to manage it. This can be either in a VM, on Docker or using a dedicated hardware box such as the Unifi Cloud Key.
  2. No, it only manages the Ubiquiti Unifi range. Yes you could segment them by using a separate VLAN if required.
  3. No real order of preference to purchase the equipment. However, if you are thinking of buying a UDM Pro then maybe start with that as it has the controller built in which will save you setting it up separately. Do look at it throughly as it isn’t a feature rich router/firewall. Don’t get me wrong, it works, but it is basic compared to more enterprise routers/firewalls. Of course if you don’t want to spend hours tinkering with networking then it will probably work just fine.
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Acestes, thanks for the response. This is for a home network I don’t want to spend a lot of time managing it. Having said that I want a little more control than I have with the eero system.

One more question. I’m using Parallels on my Mac to run VMs. I will check to see if it supports Docker. Do you need the controller software running all the time or just when I want to configure/update the network configuration?

It sounds like the UDM Pro would work well for you. The one area to potentially think about is if you want to be able to VPN back in to your house from outside your network, as that is one of its weak points, or it was last time I checked.

You can run Docker directly on a Mac, you don’t need Parallels or anything like that. However Docker isn’t the easiest thing to use if you’re not used to the command line and the way it works etc. As for your question, no you don’t need it running all the time. I run it on Docker on my Synology NAS, but it all shuts down at night to save wasting electricity.

Hello,
I wanted to address specifically the controller options available to you.
The one option I noticed missing from Acestes initial reply was the option to install Ubiquiti’s Unifi controller software directly on a Mac, Windows, or Linux machine. This will allow you to configure and manage devices until you decide what controller hardware you would like to use.
I started in Unifi using this method with a single UAP and it worked just fine, it is just not the best option for 24/7 monitoring.
Ubiquiti’s Unifi controller software can be downloaded from the below URL:


Hope this helps and have fun with the build!

Thanks for the information and the link. I was worried about starting by just purchasing a switch and then not being able to use it until I configured it. And not having a controller purchased yet being the issue. I’m the tech in the house and I have a tight budget. I appreciate your post. I’m sure I’m going to have more questions the further along I get.

Paul

If your budget is tight, there are better options than unifi IMO.

If you have the appetite then pfsense is a good option, it takes effort however. You an easily pair it with a netgear switch and and any decent access point.

If all you want is internet access around the house, then I would buy an Asus router, any access point and a netgear switch. Much cheaper and will work as it’s on a single lan.

Neogrid, by a tight budget I meant I couldn’t purchase everything at once and need to piece meal the network setup. I like the Unifi system. My current wifi works well in the new house. I would like to eventually move all the devices that I can to a wired connection and also separate my IoT devices from the rest of the network. I do realize that Unifi doesn’t have to be the gear I purchase.

Paul

I would recommend looking at the pfsense docs https://docs.netgate.com/pfsense/en/latest/index.html and comparing it with unifi.

For sure unifi will be easier to setup but pfsense seems to do an awful lot on just about any bit of kit.

If you have a pc not doing much you could add a multi nic card to it off ebay for a few quid, load up pfsense and see if you can crack it :wink:

Neogrid, I will definite look at it more. Do you have any opinions on the pfsense appliances on the market? I’m a Mac person. Probably one of the reasons I like the Unifi stuff.

Paul

Well I don’t have a Protecli but I would recommend it, I have a much cheaper chinese box in fact two of them and I’ve had no issues at all.

What i found out from moving from an Asus router to pfsense was all the features, vlans, unlimited openVPN servers and clients, network adblocking, paid for VPNs for the whole network, improved latency, the list goes on …

If you fall down this rabbit hole, you’ll later kick yourself for not having it. Though I suspect pfsense with a Unifi switch and AP is probably optimal.

Now everything is running I hardly ever login to my switch or router, so the looks don’t matter to me. My kit is all in a lockable rack so I don’t even need to look at it LOL

I hope to be able to get to the point of having a rack for my gear. I’m definitely not comfortable with the metal box provided by the builder. I went to your links at UK amazon and then went to the US store. It looks like I have more research to do. Thanks for the advice.

Having wired up my house with ethernet I realised I was crappy at terminating cables. If you haven’t already, I would buy a cable tester and check both ends of your cables are correctly terminated.

Even if they are I would consider a punch-down panel for the cable runs, that way the cable won’t move. Then just add patch cables from your panel to the switch, that way you are not messing around with the cable runs.

Oh lord you can see how quickly costs go up and scope increases :smile:

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Yes, a cable tester is in the works. The house was cabled by the builder they subcontracted to a company I’ve heard of GrayBar doesn’t mean they did a great job. I’m going to need a larger switch next to the metal box they provided. There are 3 ethernet drops not plugged into the switch. I figure to get a small rack and add a punch down panel and at least a 16port switch in the rack. I was actually surprised that they wired ethernet as we opted for a coax jack in almost every room of the house. (not the bathrooms) so we had to upgrade to the multimedia option.

My plan is to connect my home office first via wired ethernet. That is why I was asking about being able to just buy a managed switch even if I don’t manage it straight away. Then work on the network as it enters the house. (area in the picture). The rest of the family doesn’t care as long as they can connect.

Do you have any recommendations on cable pulls. Our gas fireplace as a conduit and I need to pull a digital audio cable through it. It already has ethernet, coax, and an HDMI cable in it. I figure if I can weight the cable and drop it down from the top conduit entrance then I can fish it out at the bottom.

I don’t have a recommendation of cable pulls I used a combination of weight loss and Cat 6 to route the cable.

As you mention a 16 port switch I would guess that you only have a single runs. Personally, as I was doing it and not totally confident of what I was doing, I ran twin cables from my switch to wall jacks, where required I hooked these into downstream switches with LACP aggregation. That is if one cable was to fail for some reason the other cable would then be available.

I’d recommend doing the same, at least, run the cable, once this is all over you won’t want to faff with it later.

If you do do that, make sure the switches you get support LACP and not just LAG, you need to read the manuals to make sure.

I’ll be honest in 18m no cables have failed but I do know it would be bloody painful to deal with now.

Yeah and if you end up buying a NAS these can have up to 4 NICs so if you place it in your rack, it means more ports so 16 looks a bit light :wink:

I figured 16 for starters maybe, I will start with 24. I thought 16 just so I would have enough for all the runs with left over ports. The ethernet in the fireplace conduit doesn’t have any jacks so I’m going to have to wire those up myself. Yes, I plan on one of those NAS systems eventually.