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I’m confused about ubiquiti


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49 minutes ago, joth said:

 

ubiquiti are still sitting strong in the "prosumer" category. There's plenty of alternatives but it depends if you want something (i) more professional powerful, or (ii) more consumer friendly, or (iii) more open to home tinker. Which of those is more important to you?

 

Going out on a limb I'd say consumer friendly is your priority (but of course, with excellent performance), so I'd say have a good look at Nest, Netgear and TP-Link before setting your heart on ubiquiti

 

https://www.tomsguide.com/us/best-mesh-router,review-5191.html

 

The benefits of ubiquiti over those systems is having a managed layer2 network, allowing virtual lans, flexible network segregation and firewalls, multiple SSIDs, and ability to have all wifi APs powered over the ethernet cable. Aside from the PoE which is a dream, most of those advanced features give me a some kindof headache when I use them, and I'm a software engineer that's worked on IP stacks and I've been tinkering with home networking since 1995. 

 

If your goal is really good fast Wifi in every room, a consumer mesh network with wired backhaul seems a much better bet. Go uniquiti if you want many PoE devices, run your own servers, into home automation or Homelabs etc or generally want to spend a lot of time tinkering. (Or happy to pay someone else to do that for you).

I'd say if you like Google Assistant go Nest, else go Netgear or TP-Link .

 

Prior to joining this forum I was recommended a Netgear Orbi mesh system like the RBK852 and was going to do that. My preference is fit and forget which means something consumer friendly but that still works at a high spec, but if I had PoE capability that would help as it solves a couple of issues I have for an external IP camera and also to power to access points / mesh routers as the optimal positions for these are places where I forgot to include power sockets, albeit it might be possible to retrofit sockets now, as I think there is a power ring nearby. 

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34 minutes ago, Adsibob said:

Prior to joining this forum I was recommended a Netgear Orbi mesh system like the RBK852 and was going to do that. My preference is fit and forget which means something consumer friendly but that still works at a high spec, but if I had PoE capability that would help as it solves a couple of issues I have for an external IP camera and also to power to access points / mesh routers as the optimal positions for these are places where I forgot to include power sockets, albeit it might be possible to retrofit sockets now, as I think there is a power ring nearby. 

 

you can buy a cheap unmanaged PoE switch to power your IP cameras etc but yeah it's really annoying about the need for a new mains outlet by your AP locations.

I don't know about Netgear (or TP-link) but when setting up other people's Nest (actually older Google Wifi) APs I have successfully used PoE to USB-C adapters like

https://www.amazon.co.uk/DSLRKIT-Splitter-IEEE802-3af-Ethernet-Raspberry/dp/B07TJ3ZNJ4/

which gets out of that pickle very nicely.

 

In ascii art:

 

[modem] --- [Nest Router] --- [PoE Switch] ------------ [PoE splitter] ---usbC+RJ45---- [Nest AP]

                                                                         

 

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2 hours ago, Adsibob said:

[...] a couple of issues I have for an external IP camera and also to power to access points / mesh routers as the optimal positions for these are places where I forgot to include power sockets, albeit it might be possible to retrofit sockets now, as I think there is a power ring nearby. 

 

I power all my IP cameras using 'poor man's' PoE combiners/splitters like these that are just passive devices that utilise the spare cores of 10/100 Ethernet wiring to transmit power alongside the data:

 

614VfucC4mL._AC_SX522_.jpg

 

I've had around dozen in use for over 15 years without a single issue. To cut down on the number of PSUs required I double (actually triple or more) multiple cameras from one PSU (making sure to remain well within its current capacity limit of course).

Edited by MJNewton
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2 hours ago, Adsibob said:

My preference is fit and forget which means something consumer friendly but that still works at a high spec

I find my Ubiquiti setup very much fit and forget, right up to the point I need to make a change it all just works very well indeed and then post change I can just forget about it and it just works until the next time I need to tinker.

 

obviously, tinkering is voluntary so is very much a fit and forget solution. in my opinion that is. I am very technically minded though so might not be everyone's cup of tea.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Thorfun said:

obviously, tinkering is voluntary

Can you elaborate on this please. What are you tinkering with and why would I not need to?

Edited by Adsibob
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2 hours ago, Thorfun said:

obviously, tinkering is voluntary so is very much a fit and forget solution. in my opinion that is. I am very technically minded though so might not be everyone's cup of tea.

 

Think Thorfun is responding to my comment that ubiquiti has a lot of advanced options that you don't get in consumer wifi networking products.

Totally agree there's no expectation to use those features, but if you know for a fact you're not going to there's a bunch of much cheaper and easier to use products that will probably work just as well (and, probably have lower background energy draw, the ubiquiti stuff seems to be quite a power hog in my experience) 

 

Note: as a tinkerer I love my ubiquiti setup and wouldn't choose anything else right now. Just saying, it's not necessarily a must-have for every household.

 

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1 hour ago, Adsibob said:

Can you elaborate on this please. What are you tinkering with and why would I not need to?

well, as an example, my brother wanted to back up some of his data from his graphic novel he's writing and so I setup a VPN on my NAS and added firewall rules to the Ubiquiti setup to allow this to happen and now he's backing up remotely to my NAS. 

 

another tinker was when I was hosting a live leaderboard for a golf sweepstake with my mates. so, again, configured the web server on a VM hosted on the NAS, configured a firewall and port forwarding rule on the Ubiquiti and it all just works.

 

so I only really need to tinker when I want to add something. but I am a geek. 🤓

 

in most normal circumstances the things I do won't be necessary. so once you've setup your wifi networks (private and guest) everything else is excess and won't, generally, be necessary. but I love the fact that it's there if I want to. e.g. configuring a separate VLAN for home automation, or CCTV devices to talk on. Ubiquiti gives me that power if I want it. but if you don't need it then as @joth says, it might be best to look at something less expensive and easier to use.

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FWIW - not a gamer (which has very specific latency demands) but am a software dev who often spends all day online and has a house full of kit.   Oh yes, and if my wife can't wander from room to room chatting to her sister on Facethingy she goes ballistic  ....

 

I have tried  multiple solutions, including various consumer routers/ APs , a network of routers wired, and then a network of consumer routers flashed to Open Source firmware (so they would all be the same).

 

What I learned is ...

Now we have mobile devices, for most of what you want to do the biggest issue is not bandwidth - apart from  UHDTV(maybe).   I am assuming, of course, that you are not running an OnlyFans competitor or similar application from your house ......   The biggest issue is MOBILITY i.e. switching between zones.

 

2 years ago, I ended up with

-   a Virgin Router (in "Modem") ie. dumb mode.   This means that I can switch from Virgin without having to change a single other thing.

- a draytek vigor 2862 router - most consumer routers would work fine for my needs, and I suspect yours (I ended up with this relatively expensive kit to connect to a client's VPN i.e. it was a work requirement)

- a Tenda 9 port POE unmanaged switch to power the APs

- UBIQUITI 2 wall mounted APs (with 2 RJ45 ports each) and a ceiling mount

 

The BIG benefit of the UBIQUITI APs (apart from the fact they look OK on the ceiling)  is the switching.   My wife still shouts at me, but not because she can't wander around with her ipad.   The wifi service is as good as an office/commercial environment with a professionally designed network and WAY more expensive pro kit.

 

So - if I were wring your house I would ....

Stick a dumb POE switch in front of your router

Put a Ubiquiti wall mount AP on the end of at two of your existing Ethernet connections (you don't lose the ability to plug in direct - the wall mount ones have ports).   If you CAN - plug your TV and any gaming machine direct into one of those RJ45 ports .

 

You can install the UBIQUITI app on your phone to control and set up the kit.  You shouldn't NEED a Ubiquiti router.  I don't have one and it works fine.

 

WOW - I just looked at the price of these - they are up 30% since I bought mine - but I have to say, I WOULD buy them again.

 

Put in a couple and see how you go would be my advice.

 

NB - there is a DISADVANTAGE to having too many wifi APs - you clutter up the channels in your house, and you end up with lots of collisions, which is also a bandwidth killer.

 

 

Oh yes - and mesh is a bandwidth killer, but more importantly - a LATENCY HOG.   I avoid it if I possibly can.

 

 

 

Edited by JonJump
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Oh yes - I forgot to say - your sparks sounds like a keeper (installed RJ45 WITHOUT being told to).   Don't know the latest UBIQUITI kit, but mine has a female RJ45 port.  Your bloke/lady  probably terminated to female RJ45 ports on the walls.  You CAN connect the AP to that with a patch cable, but I would have him remove the Box on the wall, terminate the cable in the wall with a MALE RJ45 plug, and then stick that into the back of the AP, which then sits flush.

 

You can do it yourself, but without the correct crimping tool it's a pain (and even with the crimper  I am terrible at it)

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21 minutes ago, Thorfun said:

my brother wanted to back up some of his data from his graphic novel he's writing and so I setup a VPN on my NAS and added firewall rules to the Ubiquiti setup to allow this to happen and now he's backing up remotely to my NAS.

Wow - you're so much less paranoid than me

 

21 minutes ago, Thorfun said:

another tinker was when I was hosting a live leaderboard for a golf sweepstake with my mates. so, again, configured the web server on a VM hosted on the NAS,

AND - you need a DigitalOcean droplet! 

 

 

Seriously, nice to meet another nerdery addict.

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10 minutes ago, JonJump said:

AND - you need a DigitalOcean droplet! 

why pay when I can host it for free? plus, it's only for the 4 golf majors each year. so a total of 16 days. 😉 

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12 minutes ago, JonJump said:

Seriously, nice to meet another nerdery addict.

there are quite a few on here. stick around for a while and you'll get to know them. 🙂 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, JonJump said:

Stick a dumb POE switch in front of your router

Can you translate “dumb” in this context please? I need something with at least 8 ports because the 4 on my Virgin router are woefully insufficient.

Edited by Adsibob
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6 hours ago, MJNewton said:

 

I power all my IP cameras using 'poor man's' PoE combiners/splitters like these that are just passive devices that utilise the spare cores of 10/100 Ethernet wiring to transmit power alongside the data:

 

614VfucC4mL._AC_SX522_.jpg

 

I've had around dozen in use for over 15 years without a single issue. To cut down on the number of PSUs required I double (actually triple or more) multiple cameras from one PSU (making sure to remain well within its current capacity limit of course).

Interesting… I had no idea this tech existed. Does that mean I can power my Tado hub (which is powered by a micro USB cable) with this Active PoE Splitter:

https://amzn.eu/d/hpNsulI

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52 minutes ago, Adsibob said:

Interesting… I had no idea this tech existed. Does that mean I can power my Tado hub (which is powered by a micro USB cable) with this Active PoE Splitter:

https://amzn.eu/d/hpNsulI


Thats different to the passive combiner/splitter that I use. That’s an active device that converts ‘real’ 48v PoE down to 5v. You still need a PoE switch at the head end.

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1 hour ago, MJNewton said:


Thats different to the passive combiner/splitter that I use. That’s an active device that converts ‘real’ 48v PoE down to 5v. You still need a PoE switch at the head end.

I picked it because I want to power a Tado hub which is 5v without frying it. What PoE switch at the head end do you use @MJNewton?

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20 minutes ago, Adsibob said:

What PoE switch at the head end do you use @MJNewton?

 

That's just it - I don't. My 'poor mans PoE' just uses passive components i.e. it's a bog standard switch (Netgear FS116, for what it's worth) into which I plug an injector that allows me to inject power onto the two unused pairs of the cable and at the other end is a splitter that extracts that power to supply the camera and connects the data lines through its network socket. Here's a picture from the web that may illustrate the approach more clearly:

 

3ec697cb2f5114aa9fe44a145f9e92968aca1caf

 

Unlike with 'real' PoE there are no standards in place, no voltage/current sensing and negotiation etc. It's basic, but it works.

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15 hours ago, Adsibob said:

Can you translate “dumb” in this context please? I need something with at least 8 ports because the 4 on my Virgin router are woefully insufficient.

Dumb switch is an unmanaged switch.

https://www.broadbandbuyer.com/features/3070-what-is-the-difference-between-managed-and-unmanaged-switches/

 

Ubiquiti gear (and generally all business/professional gear) is managed. 

Most homes would use unmanaged switches.

 

Unless you need layer2 management features like VLANs etc, unmanaged switches are both cheaper and easier. 

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11 hours ago, MJNewton said:

Unlike with 'real' PoE there are no standards in place, no voltage/current sensing and negotiation etc. It's basic, but it works.

Main reason I avoid these passive PoE injectors is the bank of wall warts you end up with to power them all. It seems inelegant and inefficient. 

If you have aspirations of a tidy networking closet a single unmanaged PoE switch will be neatest. Some offer a choice of passive or active PoE, although I'm finding almost all devices work okay with standards based active PoE these days so personally I'd avoid the compatibility headaches of passive if buying and installing a brand new system in this day in age. 

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10 minutes ago, joth said:

Main reason I avoid these passive PoE injectors is the bank of wall warts you end up with to power them all. It seems inelegant and inefficient.

 

Oh absolutely. My main driver for going down that route is that most of my cameras don't support PoE. In practice it's still not too bad though as I power all 12 with three PSUs, but yes it's three more than might otherwise be necessary! 

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2 hours ago, joth said:

Dumb switch is an unmanaged switch.

https://www.broadbandbuyer.com/features/3070-what-is-the-difference-between-managed-and-unmanaged-switches/

 

Ubiquiti gear (and generally all business/professional gear) is managed. 

Most homes would use unmanaged switches.

 

Unless you need layer2 management features like VLANs etc, unmanaged switches are both cheaper and easier. 

Cheaper and easier sounds appealing. The only advantage of a managed switch that I think would apply to me is it might be helpful to give certain devices priority for download and upload speed, e.g. each AP should each get at least 15% of the available bandwidth and after that my PC should have priority over the kids' TV, etc. But is this really necessary with a fairly decent internet connection? Will my PC ever have to fight for bandwidth with other devices. In terms of usage: we plan to have two PCs and two TVs wired to the internet, at least two APs (possibly three), a couple of hubs that need ethernet connection (e.g. tado and phillips hue), a printer and a PoE camera. Then there will be at least 12 devices that are regularly using the wifi, including crucial smart switches and a smart doorbell, though I suppose this will grow as kids get older and start having their own devices.

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I'll let someone with a brood of kids answer that. From my side no I've never needed bandwidth limiting.

And even if I did, you can do something like it in most internet routers so pushing this down to the switch seems OTT 

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@Adsibob. have you thought about guests? the managed switches give you the ability to configure a guest wifi VLAN so that when people come to visit you don't have to give your private network wifi password and give them a guest password that you can then easily limit bandwidth for and it also keeps them separate from your private network for security.

 

it's little things like that that are often overlooked when going for the cheaper/simpler options.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Thorfun said:

@Adsibob. have you thought about guests? the managed switches give you the ability to configure a guest wifi VLAN so that when people come to visit you don't have to give your private network wifi password and give them a guest password that you can then easily limit bandwidth for and it also keeps them separate from your private network for security.

 

it's little things like that that are often overlooked when going for the cheaper/simpler options.

I thought about this momentarily, but quickly concluded I didn’t understand what the fuss was about. If somebody is invited into my home, why wouldn’ti trust them with my password. I guess the upside is if a stranger has to come in momentarily to service something that is connected to the internet and needs internet for that reason, eg the boiler (and in theory, though still not working, the MVHR) are connected to the wifi, so boiler engineer. But it still seems overkill for that. 
The only other consideration might be that next month we have a 21 year old distant relative coming to stay. She might lock herself up in the guest room and stream HD tv all day, but would that really impact a 300MB connection?

Edited by Adsibob
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26 minutes ago, Adsibob said:

She might lock herself up in the guest room and stream HD tv all day, but would that really impact a 300MB connection?

probably not

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