Ubiquiti in the Lab

Ubiquiti in the Lab

It’s one of those “first world problems” where you have either not enough wireless coverage at home, or you’re getting too much interference from the neighbors to have satisfactory wireless coverage.

I had an Linksys AC3200 providing all of my house’s wireless connectivity and for the most part, it did a good job. I have about twenty-five devices connected to it through wireless and all four of the 1Gbps network jacks filled up as well. Occasionally I found that I needed to restart the router but it was pretty good, no real complaints. However I did have it located in my office which is at the opposite side of my house from my bedroom, which meant some sketchy wireless over the 5Ghz band if working from bed which I did often. I’d have to switch over to the 2.4GHz band and then I was getting interference from neighbors. It was time to try something else. OK sure, I could’ve moved the router closer to the middle of the house, but let’s over engineer the solution instead right?

I bought a pair of the Ubiquiti UAP AC Pro access points and ran some cabling. I wanted to make sure that the entire house is covered so I placed one access point in the basement and another in the upstairs bedroom, on opposite sides of the house. Then I ran cat 6 cabling to the access points and connected them to a new Ubiquiti UniFi 8 POE-150W switch so I could power the APs over ethernet instead of having to have a power cable for each access point. I mounted my basement access point, patch panel and Ubiquiti UniFi switch to a piece of plywood and screwed it to the wall.

ubiquiti-now-in-the-lab

The Ubiquti Switch connects upstream through a new Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway (USG) so that I can firewall my wireless access off from my home lab. Yep, this is completely overkill, but it turns out that without this device you’ll see some missing widgets in the UniFi dashboard. Ubiquiti, you have a pretty annoying way of making me want more. Kind of like my cable provider showing me whats on the channels that I don’t have access too. Well played! My compulsive need to have everything perfect wouldn’t allow this, so I purchased the security gateway as well. The USG does deep packet inspection and having a firewall on both sides of my lab isn’t a horrible idea, but is for sure unnecessary. If you don’t have a firewall in your lab though it’s worth looking at and is very affordable.

I’m very happy with the APs thus far and really impressed with user interface from Ubiquiti. Using a controller based solution for wireless comes with a few challenges but it does make it nice to manage all of the devices from a single interface. Deep packet inspection at a low price for the USG is a nice feature to have though.

The home lab feels a lot more complete now that I’ve got some robust access points in the house and cleaned up some other cabling that was bothering my perfectionist tendencies. Looks pretty good to me.

front-view-hollowlab

 

9 Responses to Ubiquiti in the Lab

  1. Hi–interesting article. I’m starting to use some of the Unifi hardware at my school but can’t figure out how to use the USG behind our existing SonicWall firewall/content filter. It looks like from your schematic that you were able to do it and get all that USG statistical goodness. Would you mind sharing how you were able to do so?
    Thanks!

    • The network diagram should give you a good start. The real trick is to make sure your controller (mine’s a VM in my home lab) is on the same layer 2 network as your USG so that it can discover it. Without more details it would be hard to determine why yours isn’t working, but it sounds like maybe your firewall is blocking traffic? Just a guess there.

      Good luck to you in your setup.

      • Actually you can put a DNS entry for UNIFI and point it to your external IP and they will show up in the controller.

        I have mine on a hosted VM completely outside my netork and it works fine.

      • If it is not on the same L2 network as your controller – two options.

        1. Use a device on the same L2 network as the devices and you can use the Ubiquiti Discovery Tool (Chrome Extension) and configure those devices.

        2. If the newly installed device has a DHCP address, you can SSH to the device

        Unifi#
        Unifi# mca-cli
        And type the command
        > set-inform http://10.1.2.3:8080/inform

        Then on your controller, you can click Adopt
        Back to the SSH window and type the same command again to complete the adoption process.

        Loving the UniFi gear! First in the office and now at home too!

    • Lol. I have a similar setup to this in my home and you are right about how it should be if you are looking for maximum range and signal strength but these AP’s are good for 300 foot radius and my house is only 65 feet long. Having two of these in your house is so overkill you could but them in a metal box and still get full bars. I will never go back to home equipment after having Unifi in my home.

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