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Registered: ‎09-14-2018

Pre-Purchase Request: ER-4 , but with Unifi AP's & a Switch (Networking & Ubiquiti Newbie)

I consider myself techy, but I am a networking neophyte.  As such, I have garnered the help of a retired IT professional and between us, we believe that Ubiquiti is the best choice for my newly constructed home's (2,700 sq.ft main/2,700 walk-out basement) LAN.  IoT devices will be deployed and as such, VLAN’s are being proposed.

 

We have essentially decided to pull the trigger on an EdgeRouter-4 because of its hardware's horsepower and throughput capabilities, verses going with a Unifi router -- one of the USG’s (Unifi Security Gateways).  But before making the purchase, I thought I better be sure we understand what we getting into. 

 

As a retired programmer, my friend has some, but limited networking knowledge.  However, we’re definitely up to the challenge of potentially working with the CLS interface, if the UI won’t address all of our requirements.   

 

My prior-to-purchase question is:  assuming that we will need more than one (1) Unifi Access Point, is there any real benefit to managing AP’s with a Unifi based Router in the mix, as opposed to using an EdgeMax Router, the ER-4? 

 

A POE switch (16 or 24 port) switch will be needed.  Power needs are limited as they would only be for 1 to perhaps 3 Unifi AP’s.  Given our needs and lack of detailed networking experience, would a Unifi switch be recommended or an EdgeMax swtich?  If you believe a specific 16 or 24 POE switch model would be preferable over another, your input would certainly be appreciated.

 

The Unifi and EdgeMax realms are probably the most difficult part of the Ubiquiti world to understand when planning as we are.  I understand the premise of the Cloud Key device and the need for it, or running the Cloud Controller on a PC, if we going to deploy Unifi AP’s and a Unifi switch. 

 

However, by not using a USG -- but using the Unifi devices mentioned (AP’s & Switch) -- are we setting ourselves for a much greater setup learning curve with more headaches, than if we simply ignored the hardware benefits of the ER-4 and went with an USG?  And if the headaches are worse, are we talking an aspirin size headache or a gut wrenching migrain?

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Re: Pre-Purchase Request: ER-4 , but with Unifi AP's & a Switch (Networking & Ubiquiti Newb

 

I have an ER-4, two Unifi APs, four Unifi switches at two sites, and the Cloud Key.  It works fine. I don't miss the USG, nor is it well-suited to my environment with multiple static WAN IPs. I would need to set up the USG using the command line and create a custom json config file, which sort of defeats the purpose.

 

You manage the Unifi APs and Unif switches with the Cloud Key and you manage the ER-4 with the GUI and command line. The learning curve of the ER-4 is greater than for the APs and switches, but if you need to do something that's not supported by the limited GUI in the USG, you would need to learn the same things, plus be forced to use the command line and create a custom config file that if it contained errors could prevent the router from booting.

 

A couple things to note.  Some of the gear is loud, like the Unifi 16-port POE switch. The Unifi US-8-150W and the ER-4 are fanless. The USG has a much weaker processor than the ER-4.  The USG Pro is more powerful than the USG, but is large and has a fan that some consider loud.

 

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Registered: ‎09-14-2018

Re: Pre-Purchase Request: ER-4 , but with Unifi AP's & a Switch (Networking & Ubiquiti Newb

Great information "stshaw", just the sort I was seeking.  

 

I didn't think that there would be a real issue combining the EdgeMax Router with the Unifi hardware.  Having all devices under the same control may be easier to view statistics and perhaps setup.  But the setup question was my real concern.  That is, are we getting into doing efforts (especially establishing VLAN's) that could more easily be combined throught the Unitfi interface than separtely and without it?  From my research, my guess was possibly, but nothing to be overly concerned about.  Unless someone suggests otherwise, then that is apparently the case.

 

The newly released ER-4 just seems to be a great hardware piece to pass up.  It's definitely overkill for my modest home setup, but for a few bucks more than the USG, it certainly provides speed and future proofing.  

 

So, other than noise issues (which aren't a concern for me), it looks like the 16-port Unifi and Edge switches are the same price.  So, from an operational perspective when using Unifi AP's, is it better to go with the Unifi switch?  Or put another way, in my case, is there any reason to go with the Edge 16 verses the Unifi 16?  

 

 

 

  

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Re: Pre-Purchase Request: ER-4 , but with Unifi AP's & a Switch (Networking & Ubiquiti Newb

 

The USG has the same hardware as the ERL-3. I found the ERL-3 underpowered, even for my modest 85 Mbps FiOS connecton.  With QoS enabled it would max out at 60 Mbps throughput.

 

I haven't used VLANs, but you can set them up with the GUI on the ER-4 if you want.

 

I haven't used an EdgeSwitch either, but I find managing the Unifi switches from the Cloud Key useful.  There isn't much to manage, but you can see what devices are connected to what port, see the PoE status, see the PoE power consumption, and cycle PoE power if a device needs to be reset.

 

 

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