Caution: Articles written for technical not grammatical accuracy, If poor grammar offends you proceed with caution ;-)
I have been a fan of Ubiquiti for years, however recently I have become an even bigger fan boy for their networking and video security products. Although Ubiquiti is a manufacturer of “Enterprise” grade products I believe they are perfect for todays home as well. Their products are priced cheap making them a perfect fit. In this article I’m going to focus on (4) of their Unifi products I am using in my home network that are absolutely awesome!
Unifi AC Access Point
I have been using these for over 2 years now and they are by far the most robust, easy to manage, and flexible access points I have ever owned. They are all POE making it easy to place them anywhere you have or can put a cat5 cable. They are sleek and very nice looking. I have one of each floor of my house and they are all ceiling mounted and barely stand out.
These units support a ton of features. I personally like that I can have multiple WLAN’s and have them assigned to different vlans in my home. This makes it easy for me to segment out different types of devices traffic. For instance I have a kids network, a primary network, a management network and a guest network. This makes it easy for me to keep the kids contained and control their traffic and filtering. It also allows me to contain guests to a segmented network where they can only access the internet and apply restrictions I want to apply to their traffic.
Ubiquiti gives you the flexibility to control all the access points from one central Unifi Controller which can be a dedicated machine or just run on your laptop/desktop whatever. Using the controller I can create new WLAN’s assign them to the access points I want them on and control which are on 2ghz and 5ghz. These access points are solid, tried and true. In the two years that I have been using them I have not had any issues at all unlike the consumer versions of any router I have tried and I have over the years run Netgear, Linksys, Cisco, and Asus and although I was fairly happy with the Asus wireless router it had it’s fair share of issues.
Unifi Secure gateway
This Ubiquiti Secure Gateway is a powerful yet simple to use router giving you access to most of it’s configuration in the Unifi Controller UI, but those that may need more access and control over the device it has a very familiar console where you can perform more advanced configurations. I was previously using the Ubiquiti EdgeMax Lite router as a gateway and I loved it. I only switched to the Unifi Secure Gateway because of it’s integration with the Unifi Controller and to gain the enhanced features like deep packet inspection. This features I find to be very useful as it enables me to see what traffic is going across my network in a very nice and intuitive web interface. I can see which devices/computers are visting what websites and how much bandwidth is being utilized. The interface show me the realtime latency and throughput as well as gret historical data. The secure gateway supports VLAN’s for VLAN routing and is a breeze to configure. Port Forwarding is super simple in the interface, however if you want to configure more advanced firewall rules you will need to use the console.
Unifi GB POE Switch
The Unifi GB POE switch is another simply great product by Ubiquiti. I just recently replaced my Cisco gear as well as some Ubiquiti Tough Switches with these Unifi switches that yes you guessed it integrate into the Unifi Controller. As with the other products I have already mentioned they are super simple to configure and provide you just the right amount of information. I’m run these switches not just for my home, but my lab including jumbo frames for NSX and am pleased with the performance I have seen since I put them in. The other thing I really like about these is they support POE+ auto-sensing devices that need to POE and the appropriate voltage either 12 or 24. This is extremely convenient. I’m powering my Unifi AC access points, a Unifi in wall access point, as well as some of the older model Ubiquiti video cameras.
Unifi In Wall Access Point
I was reluctant to try these because they only have a 100Mbps uplink, but in the end for what I’m using it for that is more than enough. There is a far corner of my 2nd floor where I have (2) kids rooms over my garage and the signal from the 2nd floor wifi has to penetrate a lot to get to these rooms and is pretty weak. I originally had one of my old ASUS wifi routers in access point mode down there to boost the Wifi, but with the Unifi system I can only see what comes from the ASUS upload link and have less visibilities into the clients. Everything just shows up as the switch port that the ASUS in plugged into. Doesn’t help me much with deep packet inspection. So I decided the 100mbps wasn’t a show stopper and hey it’s just for the kids anyway right…. This device so far was been working great. It is POE so it get’s it’s power form the switch which made it super simple to install. Once installed I adopted it to my Unifi Controller and it automatically was provisioned for my default WLAN group and is able to handle traffic for all WLAN’s just like any other Unifi Access Point.
The Unifi Controller is the piece that ties it all together. You can get it for Windows, Mac, or Linux. I personally run it as a VM in my lab on Linux and it has been pretty rock solid. Very easy to upgrade, backup, etc. The controller is the price that really convinced me to standardize on all Ubiquiti products for the Unifi line. I have been a big fan of it just for my access points and when I read about he benefits of all the products together it seemed like a no brainer. It was really a pain to manage my network before. Managing my cisco switches, my tough switches, my EdgeMax router, and then my access points and of course the ASUS access point as well. Not I have one intuitive interface for managing and viewing what is going on in my environment.
This article is just a brief generalized overview but I plan to put together some more detailed articles on these products and my setup. I also hope to get some of their new Security Camera as well as the NVR which I will blog about as well.