What I Use - Home Network 2016

Background

My boss's interview question for engineers is, "What does your home network look like." I've realized this is a really good question. There are basically two good answers, in my opinion, that relate to good engineers. You may get the "I bought the basics," and they explain it as they do not have to think about it or its the MVP. Another reason is the "overly complex" because they are a tinkerer or want a place to play with the latest stuff. Either way, you get to see inside their mind.

In case it isn't obvious, I am in the later camp.

Diagram

Network Diagram

Writeup

My main goals of my network redesign were:

  • Great WiFi performance and coverage
  • Security
  • Ease of maintenance

The first point is really the biggest. Right now I have a pretty small house so I should be able to have great coverage everywhere. I also ditched cable TV in favor of PlayStation Vue so the PS4, Rokus, and PS3 need good connections. Also, if you haven't noticed, I collect lots of gadgets so there is a lot on that WiFi network.

I originally bought two APs but ended up returning one as the single AP covered and gave the performance I needed.

Security really comes down to isolating stuff I do not want on my network. For example, all the cameras and IoT devices are behind another cheap router which is on a different subnet inside the core router. Should there be an exploit in a lightbulb, you are not gaining access to my home network. Sure, extra features like rogue AP discovery are great on the AP, but I'm not that paranoid.

For maintenance, this is all controlled via software. I have it running on a Pi.

Extra features are really hitting it home for me. I can now VPN into my house, making life on the road simpler. I can see what his pegging my bandwidth and where my bottlenecks are.

All in all, this was a great upgrade for me. However, the greatest thing was the price. I was looking at the high-performance home and small office WiFi routers and they were in the $200 price range. This has more features, better performance, and still hits that price point. I couldn't be happier. In fact, I even installed the same setup at my parent's house. If anyone asks for my recommendation for home or even medium sized offices, Ubiquiti Networks is at the top of my list.

Parts List