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Building Home Network Suggestions ?

Durvelle27

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What's up fellow TPUers :lovetpu:

Need a little nudge in the right direction in terms of building a strong dedicated network at home. The plan is to have dedicated wiring to all rooms and a strong WIFI signal through out. For my ISP I have Xfinity with the Unlimited Gigabit Pro plan which is 1000/1000.

In my head the idea is to run 4 Cat6 cables to each room total 6 rooms for devices that beenfit from wire (ie. Consoles and desktops).In terms of wiring is Cat6 ideal or is it better to go Cat6a.

For all the connectivity I'd be using a Dell Power Connect 24 port Gigabit 1U Switch. I don't have a patch panel but is one really needed ?

I'm also going to use a 1U Supermicro Server to handle our storage or transcoding for Plex

I guess what has me really hung up is wireless. There are so many different routers out there all flashy but what is a decent router that offers good coverage and is AX compatible. The plan is to use my XB7 Router and a second router in conjunction to cover the whole house


IMG-0026.PNG
 

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Congrats on getting into this! I can't wait to do the same in the future.

I'd look at a decent router option, be it from Ubiquiti, Netgate/pfSense (or build your own pfSense or opnsense box), SonicWALL, Sophos, etc., don't get a combo unit. I would bypass the XB7 (assuming that's the ISP unit?) and see if you can either:

A. Have them provide a modem only or you provide a modem only solution that they allow on their network.
B. If they want to keep the modem/router combo, have them enable bridge-mode so that your provided router is the acting gateway for your network.

Running two routers in a row presents a double-NAT situation which could lead to some broken sessions, routes, etc. More often these days its all pretty transparent and error-free, but can add latency and issues not as easily diagnosed when one forgets a double-NAT environment exists. Try to avoid it and you'll avoid potential future headaches. I also find ISP-provided routers are woefully insufficient for gateway security, QoS, routing, and generally only do basic port forwarding. Get something decent.

For home-use I prefer Ubiquity gateways or pfSense/opnsense options. I personally built an m-ITX system that's my pfSense router. Cost me about $350 back in 2016, still runs like a champ, I have extra security and filtering stuff enabled, doesn't even skip a beat. I decided to leave the wifi stuff out of it and go separate. Its nice management-wise to have that separated. The router can still be the DHCP server and DNS relay for the LAN and WiFI. But say the WiFi fails, at least your Ethernet still works, sometimes with combos, if one component fails, the entire device fails...which I've had happen to me. Also most all-in-one router/wifi combos are usually insufficient in processing power, wifi strength, security and overall packet throughput and performance. You want to maximize that gigabit WAN, you'll likely want more business-grade hardware that's built for that kind of bandwidth. Fortunately Ubiquity and pfSense gear is generally more affordable than the likes of Cisco, SonicWALL, Sophos, Fortinet, etc.

Good wifi coverage comes from having a good wifi system. Depending on the size of your house, dedicated wireless access points or even a decent mesh system will ensure you have the coverage you need. Separating it physically from the router is a good idea IMHO if you're going into this sort of home poweruser network territory. A cool thing would be having a PoE (Power over Ethernet) switch to power the AP's through the Ethernet cables, 1 cable for data and power makes installs nicer.

The switch should suffice quite nicely for home-use for a long time.

I do recommend doing it right and using a patch panel. You label/number the runs on the panel, and that keeps things clean, organized. Patch cables 1'-3' are dirt cheap or easy to make if you have the time. You can use different colors to identify different things like WAN, WiFi, workstation, etc. Check out r/homelab if you want to see some crazy setups.

It really depends on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, how much work you want to do now and maintain later, some things you skimp on now could cost you in time and money later, or maybe not at all until you move.

I like using Ubiquity UniFi HD and nano-HD access points, they're reliable, affordable (when considering they're business/education-grade), and easy to manage. You will need a separate device or virtual appliance to manage them, but that's really not a big deal since you'll have a rack mounted server. I would assume you're running virtualization?

Have you considered backup solutions for that server as well? Better safe than sorry.

I know this post probably didn't help all that much, but hopefully it gives you some ideas and spurs some more questions so you can make your plan that much more clear when you go to act on it. :toast:

Also @Solaris17 is an excellent resource in this area.

:toast:
 
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Whats the budget for the router?
 
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Are two routers necessary? Would a secondary access point not be the better solution? I use a ubiquiti unify ac-lr for our downstairs (and one upstairs) and it works great. PfSense box handles router-duties
 

Durvelle27

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Congrats on getting into this! I can't wait to do the same in the future.

I'd look at a decent router option, be it from Ubiquiti, Netgate/pfSense (or build your own pfSense or opnsense box), SonicWALL, Sophos, etc., don't get a combo unit. I would bypass the XB7 (assuming that's the ISP unit?) and see if you can either:

A. Have them provide a modem only or you provide a modem only solution that they allow on their network.
B. If they want to keep the modem/router combo, have them enable bridge-mode so that your provided router is the acting gateway for your network.

Running two routers in a row presents a double-NAT situation which could lead to some broken sessions, routes, etc. More often these days its all pretty transparent and error-free, but can add latency and issues not as easily diagnosed when one forgets a double-NAT environment exists. Try to avoid it and you'll avoid potential future headaches. I also find ISP-provided routers are woefully insufficient for gateway security, QoS, routing, and generally only do basic port forwarding. Get something decent.

For home-use I prefer Ubiquity gateways or pfSense/opnsense options. I personally built an m-ITX system that's my pfSense router. Cost me about $350 back in 2016, still runs like a champ, I have extra security and filtering stuff enabled, doesn't even skip a beat. I decided to leave the wifi stuff out of it and go separate. Its nice management-wise to have that separated. The router can still be the DHCP server and DNS relay for the LAN and WiFI. But say the WiFi fails, at least your Ethernet still works, sometimes with combos, if one component fails, the entire device fails...which I've had happen to me. Also most all-in-one router/wifi combos are usually insufficient in processing power, wifi strength, security and overall packet throughput and performance. You want to maximize that gigabit WAN, you'll likely want more business-grade hardware that's built for that kind of bandwidth. Fortunately Ubiquity and pfSense gear is generally more affordable than the likes of Cisco, SonicWALL, Sophos, Fortinet, etc.

Good wifi coverage comes from having a good wifi system. Depending on the size of your house, dedicated wireless access points or even a decent mesh system will ensure you have the coverage you need. Separating it physically from the router is a good idea IMHO if you're going into this sort of home poweruser network territory. A cool thing would be having a PoE (Power over Ethernet) switch to power the AP's through the Ethernet cables, 1 cable for data and power makes installs nicer.

The switch should suffice quite nicely for home-use for a long time.

I do recommend doing it right and using a patch panel. You label/number the runs on the panel, and that keeps things clean, organized. Patch cables 1'-3' are dirt cheap or easy to make if you have the time. You can use different colors to identify different things like WAN, WiFi, workstation, etc. Check out r/homelab if you want to see some crazy setups.

It really depends on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, how much work you want to do now and maintain later, some things you skimp on now could cost you in time and money later, or maybe not at all until you move.

I like using Ubiquity UniFi HD and nano-HD access points, they're reliable, affordable (when considering they're business/education-grade), and easy to manage. You will need a separate device or virtual appliance to manage them, but that's really not a big deal since you'll have a rack mounted server. I would assume you're running virtualization?

Have you considered backup solutions for that server as well? Better safe than sorry.

I know this post probably didn't help all that much, but hopefully it gives you some ideas and spurs some more questions so you can make your plan that much more clear when you go to act on it. :toast:

Also @Solaris17 is an excellent resource in this area.

:toast:
To my knowledge Comcast doesn't offer just a modem only the Modem/Router Combo
Bridge Mode can be enabled by me no need to call up the ISP

And I chose to use their Combo as its cheaper. With using their modem I receive unlimited data versus if I use my own I have to pay extra for it and it get's costly when you exceed over a TB every month

Whats the budget for the router?
I'd say no more than $500

Are two routers necessary? Would a secondary access point not be the better solution? I use a ubiquiti unify ac-lr for our downstairs (and one upstairs) and it works great. PfSense box handles router-duties
Not necessary i just did it to work like a mesh but the router I have now is old and is crapping out. the XB7 wifi is decent but doesn't have a strong reach due to the internal antennas
 

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Subbing as I need to do a bit of thinking when I move home and this might be a good place to start :)
 

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I think @Kursah really hit it. I would go with opnsense or ubiquiti and would reccomend access points from the same as opposed to a router.

If you have already ran into reach issues with halfway decent equipment then more of the same wont fix it. The idea here is more coverage not amplifying the broadcast.

I think you would be happier with this setup in the long run, as its more modular should something fail, but more importantly, its more easily adjusted if you want the stack in a different room, or decide to move house all together.

As for a patch panel, I couldn't agree more. They are needed imo. Always. Not only is it ok to pass POE through them, but the idea isnt just cable management, its longevity.

If you have cables running through your wall and you are unplugging replugging, or have weight on the ends you have and are likely to break a cable that lives in a wall.

Instead of capping a cable ran through the wall and using it on actual devices, you punch it down into a patch panel, this way the only cables you interface with are the small patch cables, if those go bad NBD.

IMG_20210112_175359.jpg


the 2.5gb/s port means jack shit here but I am going to assume you already knew that.
 
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To my knowledge Comcast doesn't offer just a modem only the Modem/Router Combo
Bridge Mode can be enabled by me no need to call up the ISP

And I chose to use their Combo as its cheaper. With using their modem I receive unlimited data versus if I use my own I have to pay extra for it and it get's costly when you exceed over a TB every month


I'd say no more than $500


Not necessary i just did it to work like a mesh but the router I have now is old and is crapping out. the XB7 wifi is decent but doesn't have a strong reach due to the internal antennas
It looks like others have filled in the blanks with some sound advice! I hope you get it sorted. :toast:
 

Durvelle27

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I think @Kursah really hit it. I would go with opnsense or ubiquiti and would reccomend access points from the same as opposed to a router.

If you have already ran into reach issues with halfway decent equipment then more of the same wont fix it. The idea here is more coverage not amplifying the broadcast.

I think you would be happier with this setup in the long run, as its more modular should something fail, but more importantly, its more easily adjusted if you want the stack in a different room, or decide to move house all together.

As for a patch panel, I couldn't agree more. They are needed imo. Always. Not only is it ok to pass POE through them, but the idea isnt just cable management, its longevity.

If you have cables running through your wall and you are unplugging replugging, or have weight on the ends you have and are likely to break a cable that lives in a wall.

Instead of capping a cable ran through the wall and using it on actual devices, you punch it down into a patch panel, this way the only cables you interface with are the small patch cables, if those go bad NBD.

View attachment 183782

the 2.5gb/s port means jack shit here but I am going to assume you already knew that.
Any specific model

interms of router I wouldn’t say what I have is decent. One of them is a pretty low end TP link router. It can’t handle a lot of trafficing before speeds start tanking

Alright looking at the Monoprice Cat6 24 Port Patch Panel
 

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Any specific model

interms of router I wouldn’t say what I have is decent. One of them is a pretty low end TP link router. It can’t handle a lot of trafficing before speeds start tanking

Alright looking at the Monoprice Cat6 24 Port Patch Panel

You mentioned you have a server and you have a switch. Do you have like a little 1/4 rack to put this all in? To be honest, I would connect everything to to the switch if possible, Inter network traffic the switch will handle. It's a misconception that all traffic transverses the router. I don't even have my router giving out IPs or doing my DNS.

My router is literally just a link to the internet. My WAN cable goes to my fiber box on the side of the house. Then I have the downlink cable to my core switch.

I mention this so you can think about capacity, or lack thereof. You can get a route with a few ports or you can get one with literally 2. First, where do you want to put it? Can it be rack mounted?
 

Durvelle27

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You mentioned you have a server and you have a switch. Do you have like a little 1/4 rack to put this all in? To be honest, I would connect everything to to the switch if possible, Inter network traffic the switch will handle. It's a misconception that all traffic transverses the router. I don't even have my router giving out IPs or doing my DNS.

My router is literally just a link to the internet. My WAN cable goes to my fiber box on the side of the house. Then I have the downlink cable to my core switch.

I mention this so you can think about capacity, or lack thereof. You can get a route with a few ports or you can get one with literally 2. First, where do you want to put it? Can it be rack mounted?

Yes the server is mostly for media and storage and the switch is unmanaged

I plan to have everything installed in a 12U rack

So if I’m following

I can do it like this
561930DC-8BFF-494D-BC91-07D5DB9A480C.png
 
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Subbed. I need ideas for my new (very old) house that has Fios on order.

Just for another thought....has MoCA entered the picture at all? My network will include coax, but not for cable TV.
 

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Subbed. I need ideas for my new (very old) house that has Fios on order.

Just for another thought....has MoCA entered the picture at all? My network will include coax, but not for cable TV.
From my understanding Mocs is only used for X1 TV

Or

62D1C191-CB39-4B78-9A1B-B81FACA7A6C0.png
 
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From my understanding Mocs is only used for X1 TV
Right on. I'm gonna do it strictly for academics, as the lan side of moca will be 2.5 Gbps.

Might be fun to put in a few adapters to experiment. From what I gather, MoCA is really smart, and won't interfere with other services on the coax.
 

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So as you guys said to utilize a access point instead of a router

I'm looking at the

Ubiquiti UniFi 6 Long Range Access Point. It's currently available for preorder for $179. I can't find anything to see how much it can cover but if it's long range I assume it should cover a decent amount. I'm looking to Cover about 3200SQft with 2 Stories.
 

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So as you guys said to utilize a access point instead of a router

I'm looking at the

Ubiquiti UniFi 6 Long Range Access Point. It's currently available for preorder for $179. I can't find anything to see how much it can cover but if it's long range I assume it should cover a decent amount. I'm looking to Cover about 3200SQft with 2 Stories.

I have a Unifi 6 LR on my main floor and a AC Pro in my basement running at a lower TX signal. The speeds on the UI 6 are great but i'm not sure if I would recommend it covering 3200 sqft. The signal gets a bit wonky when i'm in my basement and outside in my backyard. I do make A LOT of VoIP calls with my job working from home(basement) and they super sensitive to wifi signal issues. All of that I still would recommend the UI 6 like I said the speeds are great and it has zero problems handling 20+ clients on multiple SSIDs with VLANed traffic.

I use a Untangle router I built and it has zero problems handling my 400/100 connection.
 

Durvelle27

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I have a Unifi 6 LR on my main floor and a AC Pro in my basement running at a lower TX signal. The speeds on the UI 6 are great but i'm not sure if I would recommend it covering 3200 sqft. The signal gets a bit wonky when i'm in my basement and outside in my backyard. I do make A LOT of VoIP calls with my job working from home(basement) and they super sensitive to wifi signal issues. All of that I still would recommend the UI 6 like I said the speeds are great and it has zero problems handling 20+ clients on multiple SSIDs with VLANed traffic.

I use a Untangle router I built and it has zero problems handling my 400/100 connection.
How did you get the 6 as it shows Pre-order only right now and it won't be available until the end of the month
 

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How did you get the 6 as it shows Pre-order only right now and it won't be available until the end of the month

I am in their early access program. There is a sticking on the back that says "beta".
 

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You mentioned you have a server and you have a switch. Do you have like a little 1/4 rack to put this all in? To be honest, I would connect everything to to the switch if possible, Inter network traffic the switch will handle. It's a misconception that all traffic transverses the router. I don't even have my router giving out IPs or doing my DNS.

My router is literally just a link to the internet. My WAN cable goes to my fiber box on the side of the house. Then I have the downlink cable to my core switch.

I mention this so you can think about capacity, or lack thereof. You can get a route with a few ports or you can get one with literally 2. First, where do you want to put it? Can it be rack mounted?

Yep same. I manage a domain that hosts my DHCP, DNS, etc. My pfsense router is my gateway, DNS and IP filter via pfBlockerNG (and OpenDNS forwarders), Snort filtering, OpenVPN server, Squid cache used for logging, etc. It all connects to my core switch. At some point I'll get a true rack, at the moment I'm on a dad budget so I gotta "run whatcha brung" approach this thing for a few more years lol.

So as you guys said to utilize a access point instead of a router

I'm looking at the

Ubiquiti UniFi 6 Long Range Access Point. It's currently available for preorder for $179. I can't find anything to see how much it can cover but if it's long range I assume it should cover a decent amount. I'm looking to Cover about 3200SQft with 2 Stories.

I believe Unifi LR AP's have a range up to 600ft where standard AP's are up to 400-450ft. But it appears they stopped advertising and listing specs that way.

The UniFi Nano-HD has a transmission rate of 23 dBm on 2.4GHz with 2X2, and 26dBm on 5GHz with 4x4. This newer UniFi 6 LR AP has a TX rate of 26 dBm on 2.4Ghz with 4x4, and 26dBm on 5GHz with 4x4, so it will definitely have a farther reach through walls and in general on the 2.4 range. More powerful processor and updated antennas should help with overall range too I would imagine.

For your square square footage, I would probably go with two AP's if you want full indoor coverage and some outdoor coverage, maybe even a third depending on if you have a garage or deck/patio that gets subpar signal that you want to improve.

I always try to go for the opposing side/floor too. Say the upstairs AP goes into a room on the East side of the home, the ground floor AP would then go in a West side room. They are omni directional, and in most cases that provides decent coverage, you can also use this to leverage if you have a West side garage or driveway or East side deck/yardspace that needs coverage.. You may want to do some mock mounting to optimize where you end up putting them. There are plenty of free Android apps for WiFi signal strength tests so you can do your own wireless site survey and adjustments.

Once you have the optimal placements, you can do your drops and permanent mounting.
 

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I am in their early access program. There is a sticking on the back that says "beta".
Now that makes perfect sense

Yep same. I manage a domain that hosts my DHCP, DNS, etc. My pfsense router is my gateway, DNS and IP filter via pfBlockerNG (and OpenDNS forwarders), Snort filtering, OpenVPN server, Squid cache used for logging, etc. It all connects to my core switch. At some point I'll get a true rack, at the moment I'm on a dad budget so I gotta "run whatcha brung" approach this thing for a few more years lol.



I believe Unifi LR AP's have a range up to 600ft where standard AP's are up to 400-450ft. But it appears they stopped advertising and listing specs that way.

The UniFi Nano-HD has a transmission rate of 23 dBm on 2.4GHz with 2X2, and 26dBm on 5GHz with 4x4. This newer UniFi 6 LR AP has a TX rate of 26 dBm on 2.4Ghz with 4x4, and 26dBm on 5GHz with 4x4, so it will definitely have a farther reach through walls and in general on the 2.4 range. More powerful processor and updated antennas should help with overall range too I would imagine.

For your square square footage, I would probably go with two AP's if you want full indoor coverage and some outdoor coverage, maybe even a third depending on if you have a garage or deck/patio that gets subpar signal that you want to improve.

I always try to go for the opposing side/floor too. Say the upstairs AP goes into a room on the East side of the home, the ground floor AP would then go in a West side room. They are omni directional, and in most cases that provides decent coverage, you can also use this to leverage if you have a West side garage or driveway or East side deck/yardspace that needs coverage.. You may want to do some mock mounting to optimize where you end up putting them. There are plenty of free Android apps for WiFi signal strength tests so you can do your own wireless site survey and adjustments.

Once you have the optimal placements, you can do your drops and permanent mounting.
So if i go 2 APs, would the Unifi 6 Lite be better with 2

here’s an example I presume of the 2 options

option 1: 1 AP

761FB883-D972-404A-B625-B20C9C01ABC4.png


Option 2: 2 APs

9C1AE6DF-45F5-4B25-BD86-15CB37AD3E0E.png

These are for the first level
 
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Bookmarked. I only have 2 PCs and a phone, but what the hell, too many good ideas here.

And I've been dreaming of overpowered and overbuilt (for my case) network setups since forever lol
 

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If you're going to do one AP, I'd suggest the beefier Unifi HD, yes it's $360, but it competes with $800 AP's. I would mount it centrally on the second floor and test.

Otherwise, if you want to go with a couple of lites, or nano-HD's, I'd do one per floor and test.

So like Option 2, but one of the AP's would be on the other floor still on the opposing side of the house. This ensures fuller coverage in my experience. Testing is key, especially if you have an older house that's been remodeled a few times and has some hidden brick and mortar or other materials that are harder for wifi signals to penetrate.

Going with the AP 6 Lites, you might still be fine going one per floor. I would think 2AP's that close on the same floor would cause some issues with devices switching AP's, which can be an issue at times. Lowering TX signal strength can help here, but obviously will also mean degraded signal in some areas which may or may not matter. Again, best to adjust and test for best results.
 

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If you're going to do one AP, I'd suggest the beefier Unifi HD, yes it's $360, but it competes with $800 AP's. I would mount it centrally on the second floor and test.

Otherwise, if you want to go with a couple of lites, or nano-HD's, I'd do one per floor and test.

So like Option 2, but one of the AP's would be on the other floor still on the opposing side of the house. This ensures fuller coverage in my experience. Testing is key, especially if you have an older house that's been remodeled a few times and has some hidden brick and mortar or other materials that are harder for wifi signals to penetrate.

Going with the AP 6 Lites, you might still be fine going one per floor. I would think 2AP's that close on the same floor would cause some issues with devices switching AP's, which can be an issue at times. Lowering TX signal strength can help here, but obviously will also mean degraded signal in some areas which may or may not matter. Again, best to adjust and test for best results.
Looking at specs

isn't the UniHD and new Uni 6 LR the same in terms of range


But to sum it up

i need

Patch Panel
Cat6
AP(S)

and that's it
 
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v12dock

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Durvelle27

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So is this all I need


1. Modem (I'll use the XB7 in Bridge Mode)
2. Access Point (Undecided)
3. Patch Panel (Ordering the Monoprice 24port Cat6 Panel)
4. Switch (I have the Dell Power Connect 2724)
5. Cat6 Cable
6. Accessories (Keystones, Wall Plates, etc..)


I would run with two AP and tune the TX as necessary. I believe 802.11k/r are supported with unifi as well.
With Ubiqiuiti there are so many choices, The Unifi LR 6 and Unifi Lite 6 are the newest models that support Wifi 6 which my devices do support
 
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