We hit the network equipment fairly hard here at home with everyone on their computers all while streaming from their favorite streaming services at the same time. Two years ago the old linksys router just could not handle it anymore and it became night after night of frustration resetting the router, troubleshooting where the error was this particular time. So for sanity's sake it was time to pick up something new. I grabbed a Netgear Nighthawk and slapped DD-WRT on it and it has performed admirably ever since. Seriously, we had no issues with that unit and I would recommend it without hesitation as it would be more than sufficient for most home networks.
I just wasn't happy with having good enough for most home networks though. A little bit out of boredom, a litte bit out of neccesity and a lot of desire to learn and play with some new networking gear it was time once again for a home network upgrade. We were also in pretty desparate need of a new backup solution. I had wanted to move the backup system local for some time but Crashplan was just too easy so when Crashplan announced they were ending their personal plans that we have utlized for years it became time to come up with a solution.
I was already pretty set on Ubiquiti gear for the networking equipment, I have just heard so many good things about them lately and it seemed like every other tech nerd out there was having fun upgrading to the UBNT gear. Now, I just had to figure out the backup situation - get a NAS? Which one? Get a WD backup drive? Just stick with cloud backup? Right away I figured a NAS was the way to go but which brand? Which model?
I went with a Synology Diskstation DS218+, I really condsidered the DS918+ but for our needs and cost the DS218+ would be more than enough. Hey, if I need to upgrade in a couple years just more toys and play time for me.
So here is what I picked up:
- Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway
- Ubiquiti Unifi Switch
- Ubiquiti Unifi Cloud Key
- Ubiquiti Unifi Access Point
- Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+
So Amazon being Amazon my order came in 4 different boxes over the next 3 days. Here is everything after I unboxed the shipping boxes -
Let's start with the Synology:
The unit comes with 2GB onbaord memory and I did decide to go ahead and add another 4GB stick to the expansion slot because... well why not? after that it was popping in a couple of hard drives, plugged it in and turned it on. Seriously it was that simple. OK, there was some configuaration and out of the box it might not be the most secure but once you get a few of the standard options disabled and enable HTTPS you are done.
Works extremely well and runs basically silently and easily backs up to AWS glacier storage. Great purchase and should serve my needs.
On to the good stuff, The Ubiquiti gear:
I have really wanted to get some hands on networking experience, I have read a few CISCO books and certainly want to dive deeper into that but this seemed far more practical for a home setup.
Another part of this process that turned out to be so simple. Plug the Security Gateway into the modem(the lone holdout from the old network), the switch into the router, the AP into the switch turn it all on and then magic happens thanks to the Cloud Key.
Seriously, plug it all in and run through the cloud key setup through one interface where you can "adopt" all the pieces. The interface makes it brain dead simple to do and I doubt you could screw it up.
Here it is all connected-
I've only had a chance to scratch the surface playing with it for the last couple of days but I am extremely happy I went through this upgrade and can't wait to dig deeper and learn all the bits and pieces.
Another one of all the lights just because-
Loved this little project and can't wait until the next one. I think I might have to add a lab environment to the mix so I can keep trying all kinds of new things. Maybe I will repurpose an old machine or I've seen a few people using the Intel NUCs and should just jump right into that.