04/19/2018
UniFing the Spanish Garden
Used Products
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Location
CA, USA
Description

Hi, my name is Jardin, this is my UniFi Story….UniFing the Spanish Garden!

Many moons ago, my family and I moved to rural Northern California, from the concrete jungle of Los Angeles.

We bought a custom 2001 built house from the original owner. The house is 5600 SQ FT and sits on on a 6 acre land. The interior wall construction is double drywall on each side with foam filled in the middle. The house is well insulated. The house is 2 stories and a finished basement.

image12.png

When we first moved in, we continued to used our existing wireless router Netgear X6 (R8000) and a D-Link 24 port switch. The X6 provided good enough coverage inside most of the house, except for the far corners of the house, where most of the bedrooms are located.  Also, no WiFi signal reached outside the house.

image3.jpgimage6.jpg

I needed a way to provide good coverage inside and outside….most of the 6 acre land...if possible.

As a tech geek, I have kept up with WiFi solutions and I was already aware of mesh solutions (whole house WiFi systems) being offered by Netgear, Luma, eero, Amplifi, Linksys, Google, etc.

I did tremendous amount of reading on various blogs and review sites such as ArsTechnica, Engadget, Gizmodo, SmallNetBuilder, CNet, etc. and joined maker forums like, Netgear, Linksys and Ubiquiti.

 

I had few requirements:

  • Wired backhaul - The house was already wired with CAT 5E cables. There are no cable drops from ceilings, instead some outlets next to room light switches. Not ideal, but better than no cables. This narrowed down to only 4 choices: UniFi, eero, Google and Linksys.
  • Custom IP Address Pool - I have my favorite IP address range and I have a little OCD about it. This is where Google WiFi lost. Although, Google has since then fixed this with firmware update.
  • Aesthetics - I do not have a rack, and never intended to place my network system in a rack. My system was to be placed in my living room, proudly. In 2017, WiFi systems need not be ugly. Orbi got eliminated.
  • WiFi Coverage - WiFi signal inside and toutside, the house. Most indoor systems fell out of running when it came to outdoor coverage. AmpliFi beat out every other mesh system with estimated 10,000 SQFT coverage with AmpliFi Standard and 20,000 SQFT coverage with AmpliFi LR or HD.
  • Data and Statistics - DD WRT on my X6 gave me taste of what I wanted more of. This is where every other WiFi system lost to UniFi Controller.

I started off with buying a Cloud Key and a UniFi AP HD.  Turned off WiFi functionality of my existing router and connected the CK (usb powered) and AP HD (POE adapter powered) to it.  It was a good beginning. I liked what UniFi Controller had to offer. I was hooked!

image14.jpg

On daily basis, I was reading Wireless and Switching and Routing forums in Ubiquiti Community section.  Eventually, I read a line in signature of one of Ubiquiti employee’s post about joining beta.  As a software and hardware tester, this was appealing and I had been running and constantly updating X6 router to DD WRT betas.

However, I was unhappy with lack of DPI data and not having all the bubbles green, in UniFi Controller bugged me. Few weeks later, bought a used USG 3P off of eBay that came DOA.  Sent it back, but it gave me chance to look at it and get a feel for it.  So bought USG 4P instead.

Joining the beta program provided access to beta firmware, controller software and the Beta Store (now renamed to Early Access Store).  Since then I have updated to beta firmwares and controller whenever possible.

The AP HD provided good coverage and speed. But it was not enough to provide coverage for the entire house, end to end and the 2nd level as well. I was looking to buy another AP HD from Amazon or eBay when AC Wall showed up in the Early Access store. These were exactly what I need, since all the CAT 5e cables terminated in wall outlets and none in the ceilings. Promptly bought 2 and installed them, at the both ends of the house, facing in. Along with AP HD, the new AC Walls provided ample coverage for the first floor, but part of the second floor was still under-served by the WiFi signal.

image15.jpgimage8.jpg

Even before moving into the house, I had been looking at various security camera solutions.  Most of the cameras were ugly and I did not have a good storage solution, so started to track prices of UniFi NVR on Amazon and eBay.  Then came along UniFi Video G3-MICRO in Beta Store.  Got these too.

image13.jpgimage11.jpgimage10.jpg

I got into beta testing UniFi software and hardware with these.  Submitted some bugs...one really good one with DFS channels. Also submitted few other usability issues with UI. My unboxing and issues posts can be seen in UniFi Video beta forums.

These little cameras are awesome for inside usage. They are small, unobtrusive, blend into background and disappear.  Cable is very long, about 13 feet. My wife had no objections to having these around the house. Will be buying more of these or POE variants, when and if they become available.

Still was looking to add 1 more indoor AP and several outdoor access points. Bought a UniFi AC Mesh for the backyard.

image9.jpg

Not long after that, UniFi AP AC SHD showed up on the UniFi beta scene. I need another AP for second floor, so got this one. Entire house was now covered in awesome WiFi signal. No more complaints from family members about lack of WiFi signal or slow internet.

At this point I was still using a D-Link switch with POE injectors that came with UniFi APs. This was not an elegant solution and soon or later I was going to need a switch with POE. I researched various UniFi switch models from 8 port to 24 port and almost had settled on 16 port and was looking to buy one for good discounted price, but then Beta Store listed the new 24 L2 POE switch. Got this one too!

At this point, my UniFi network setup was complete.  All UniFi, end to end.  Everything in UniFi Controller was green.  However, I still had no good place to store videos that were being recorded by the G3 Micro cameras.  As a temporary solution, I was using UniFi Video NVR software on custom built Windows 10 desktop.

Soon enough, the UniFi Application Server was listed in beta store. The specifications looked really good, it was more than I needed but it fit into rest of the UniFi ecosystem. The UAS aesthetics are far better than other video storage solutions that I had looked at. Got this one too.

My current UniFi Network and WiFi system includes USG Pro, 24 L2 PoE switch, UAS, HD, SHD, AC Mesh and AC Walls.  More to be added.

UniFI Devices:

image16.jpgimage2.jpg

All this network gear supports 4 smart TVs, 4 XBOX 360, 4 Playstation 3, 2 Windows desktops, 3 Windows laptops, 1 printer, 2 Macbook Pro, 1 iPad, 6 iPhones, 2 Android phones, 1 Windows Surface Tablet, 1 Playstation Portable and 2 Wiis, 2 Nintendo DS Lites, a Neato Botvac and solar array data communications and tracking device.  More clients, such as XBOX ONE, Playstation 4, UniFi cameras, and a whole lotta IoT clients such as Ring Doorbell, Amazon Show, Tap, echo dots, Philips hue lights, Samsung SmartThings, etc., are yet to be added.

Ohhh...the clients also include a total of 14 Nest Learning Thermostats for radiant-floor heating system.  Four more Nest thermostats, few Nest Protects, and the Nest Alarm System are yet to be added. I will be doing separate write up for the Nest/IoT clients and their usage for WiFi testing.

image5.png

Recently, acquired a 3rd AC Wall AP and replaced the SHD on 2nd floor with it. This allowed for cleaner look without network cables hanging out of walls. Now, HD, SHD and nanoHD are placed in the center of the house for testing.  In my quest to WiFi my home and rest of the property, I have ended up creating a real world WiFi test lab...a subject for the of another story/post.

image1.jpgimage4.jpg

Side note: Early Access store, my wife hates you!

UniFing the Spanish Garden

by on ‎04-19-2018 11:19 AM - last edited Friday

Hi, my name is Jardin, this is my UniFi Story….UniFing the Spanish Garden!

Many moons ago, my family and I moved to rural Northern California, from the concrete jungle of Los Angeles.

We bought a custom 2001 built house from the original owner. The house is 5600 SQ FT and sits on on a 6 acre land. The interior wall construction is double drywall on each side with foam filled in the middle. The house is well insulated. The house is 2 stories and a finished basement.

image12.png

When we first moved in, we continued to used our existing wireless router Netgear X6 (R8000) and a D-Link 24 port switch. The X6 provided good enough coverage inside most of the house, except for the far corners of the house, where most of the bedrooms are located.  Also, no WiFi signal reached outside the house.

image3.jpgimage6.jpg

I needed a way to provide good coverage inside and outside….most of the 6 acre land...if possible.

As a tech geek, I have kept up with WiFi solutions and I was already aware of mesh solutions (whole house WiFi systems) being offered by Netgear, Luma, eero, Amplifi, Linksys, Google, etc.

I did tremendous amount of reading on various blogs and review sites such as ArsTechnica, Engadget, Gizmodo, SmallNetBuilder, CNet, etc. and joined maker forums like, Netgear, Linksys and Ubiquiti.

 

I had few requirements:

  • Wired backhaul - The house was already wired with CAT 5E cables. There are no cable drops from ceilings, instead some outlets next to room light switches. Not ideal, but better than no cables. This narrowed down to only 4 choices: UniFi, eero, Google and Linksys.
  • Custom IP Address Pool - I have my favorite IP address range and I have a little OCD about it. This is where Google WiFi lost. Although, Google has since then fixed this with firmware update.
  • Aesthetics - I do not have a rack, and never intended to place my network system in a rack. My system was to be placed in my living room, proudly. In 2017, WiFi systems need not be ugly. Orbi got eliminated.
  • WiFi Coverage - WiFi signal inside and toutside, the house. Most indoor systems fell out of running when it came to outdoor coverage. AmpliFi beat out every other mesh system with estimated 10,000 SQFT coverage with AmpliFi Standard and 20,000 SQFT coverage with AmpliFi LR or HD.
  • Data and Statistics - DD WRT on my X6 gave me taste of what I wanted more of. This is where every other WiFi system lost to UniFi Controller.

I started off with buying a Cloud Key and a UniFi AP HD.  Turned off WiFi functionality of my existing router and connected the CK (usb powered) and AP HD (POE adapter powered) to it.  It was a good beginning. I liked what UniFi Controller had to offer. I was hooked!

image14.jpg

On daily basis, I was reading Wireless and Switching and Routing forums in Ubiquiti Community section.  Eventually, I read a line in signature of one of Ubiquiti employee’s post about joining beta.  As a software and hardware tester, this was appealing and I had been running and constantly updating X6 router to DD WRT betas.

However, I was unhappy with lack of DPI data and not having all the bubbles green, in UniFi Controller bugged me. Few weeks later, bought a used USG 3P off of eBay that came DOA.  Sent it back, but it gave me chance to look at it and get a feel for it.  So bought USG 4P instead.

Joining the beta program provided access to beta firmware, controller software and the Beta Store (now renamed to Early Access Store).  Since then I have updated to beta firmwares and controller whenever possible.

The AP HD provided good coverage and speed. But it was not enough to provide coverage for the entire house, end to end and the 2nd level as well. I was looking to buy another AP HD from Amazon or eBay when AC Wall showed up in the Early Access store. These were exactly what I need, since all the CAT 5e cables terminated in wall outlets and none in the ceilings. Promptly bought 2 and installed them, at the both ends of the house, facing in. Along with AP HD, the new AC Walls provided ample coverage for the first floor, but part of the second floor was still under-served by the WiFi signal.

image15.jpgimage8.jpg

Even before moving into the house, I had been looking at various security camera solutions.  Most of the cameras were ugly and I did not have a good storage solution, so started to track prices of UniFi NVR on Amazon and eBay.  Then came along UniFi Video G3-MICRO in Beta Store.  Got these too.

image13.jpgimage11.jpgimage10.jpg

I got into beta testing UniFi software and hardware with these.  Submitted some bugs...one really good one with DFS channels. Also submitted few other usability issues with UI. My unboxing and issues posts can be seen in UniFi Video beta forums.

These little cameras are awesome for inside usage. They are small, unobtrusive, blend into background and disappear.  Cable is very long, about 13 feet. My wife had no objections to having these around the house. Will be buying more of these or POE variants, when and if they become available.

Still was looking to add 1 more indoor AP and several outdoor access points. Bought a UniFi AC Mesh for the backyard.

image9.jpg

Not long after that, UniFi AP AC SHD showed up on the UniFi beta scene. I need another AP for second floor, so got this one. Entire house was now covered in awesome WiFi signal. No more complaints from family members about lack of WiFi signal or slow internet.

At this point I was still using a D-Link switch with POE injectors that came with UniFi APs. This was not an elegant solution and soon or later I was going to need a switch with POE. I researched various UniFi switch models from 8 port to 24 port and almost had settled on 16 port and was looking to buy one for good discounted price, but then Beta Store listed the new 24 L2 POE switch. Got this one too!

At this point, my UniFi network setup was complete.  All UniFi, end to end.  Everything in UniFi Controller was green.  However, I still had no good place to store videos that were being recorded by the G3 Micro cameras.  As a temporary solution, I was using UniFi Video NVR software on custom built Windows 10 desktop.

Soon enough, the UniFi Application Server was listed in beta store. The specifications looked really good, it was more than I needed but it fit into rest of the UniFi ecosystem. The UAS aesthetics are far better than other video storage solutions that I had looked at. Got this one too.

My current UniFi Network and WiFi system includes USG Pro, 24 L2 PoE switch, UAS, HD, SHD, AC Mesh and AC Walls.  More to be added.

UniFI Devices:

image16.jpgimage2.jpg

All this network gear supports 4 smart TVs, 4 XBOX 360, 4 Playstation 3, 2 Windows desktops, 3 Windows laptops, 1 printer, 2 Macbook Pro, 1 iPad, 6 iPhones, 2 Android phones, 1 Windows Surface Tablet, 1 Playstation Portable and 2 Wiis, 2 Nintendo DS Lites, a Neato Botvac and solar array data communications and tracking device.  More clients, such as XBOX ONE, Playstation 4, UniFi cameras, and a whole lotta IoT clients such as Ring Doorbell, Amazon Show, Tap, echo dots, Philips hue lights, Samsung SmartThings, etc., are yet to be added.

Ohhh...the clients also include a total of 14 Nest Learning Thermostats for radiant-floor heating system.  Four more Nest thermostats, few Nest Protects, and the Nest Alarm System are yet to be added. I will be doing separate write up for the Nest/IoT clients and their usage for WiFi testing.

image5.png

Recently, acquired a 3rd AC Wall AP and replaced the SHD on 2nd floor with it. This allowed for cleaner look without network cables hanging out of walls. Now, HD, SHD and nanoHD are placed in the center of the house for testing.  In my quest to WiFi my home and rest of the property, I have ended up creating a real world WiFi test lab...a subject for the of another story/post.

image1.jpgimage4.jpg

Side note: Early Access store, my wife hates you!

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Comments
by
on ‎04-19-2018 02:05 PM

Very well written. I feel like I just read an actual story!

by
on ‎04-21-2018 08:13 AM

Great story! How well does the Application Server work? 

by
on ‎04-21-2018 08:26 AM

If you don’t have space for a rack, you could buy 2 6U rails to make a stable “tower” of the USG, UAS and switch. I did that and it gives a neater impression.

by
‎04-21-2018 05:50 PM - edited ‎04-23-2018 04:35 PM

@Dog2puppyUAS works as expected, but I am not stressing it at all.  Have not has a single crash or issue with it.

 

@Hsd1965Thanks for the idea, I will take a look. I will see, if I can find a matching (UniFi color) one.

by
‎04-23-2018 06:51 PM - edited ‎04-23-2018 06:53 PM

6 acres and no space for a rack.  Makes you wonder :-)

Cool kit you have!  Some items are a bit overkill, but if you managed to get it cleared through the purchasing departement - why not!

by
on ‎04-25-2018 12:59 PM

Great story...nice and long @Jardin_Espanol. You have more kit than some companies with 100 staff! Agreed with other posters, you need to rack mount all your kit ASAP. Well done on a great project. 

by
on ‎04-25-2018 04:30 PM

@EDPR@ButterworthThank you for your kind words, much appreciated. I have been thinking about a rack and better cable management, but need something unique and interesting.  As I mentioned in the story, aestetics are important for me.   Let me know if you have suggestions.

 

I have been cosidering taking apart my empty Cooler Master WaveMaster aluminium case and converting it to a rack.  It does match UniFi hardware color and does have blue LED to match.

 

342520.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki89vVW-dwQ

 

by
on ‎05-01-2018 07:27 AM