My Unifi network is at a point where it is maturing rather than expanding. Don’t get me wrong, I am still adding devices where I can and where needed, but I am starting to upgrade as well. One thing that has been on the list for a while is to get a gen 2 switch for the office both so I can use the fun AR feature, but also to get rid of the noise of the gen 1 switch which has its fans on constantly.
Unifi very kindly provided the USW-24-PoE for this upgrade and review, so enjoy. It’s so quiet….
I am up to 15 Unifi access points now on the farm. That is a lot. However, I use the network more and more for various projects and devices, and that includes outside use to a large extent too. At times the signal drops out, gets weak, behaves weirdly or in some way throws me off. I have been using all sorts of (broken) tricks to figure out where the coverage was good and not so good. I even made a video about using the Unifi Design Center, which is a great tool for a building or other defined space. However, it was very limited for outside use.
Based on a tweet by my mate Troy, I learnt about the augmented reality signal mapping feature in Unifi’s WiFiman, which creates a heat map of your Wifi signal strength as you move around.
Check out the latest version of @Ubiquiti’s Wifiman Signal Mapper with AR using the LiDAR on my iPhone 13 Pro Max. This is *insane* the way it maps out signal strength around the house. Mind. Blown. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/oeUGk31NXg
That gave me the idea to use it outdoors for my farm and figure out where my blackspots are. If you are using the Unifi products and have a UDM/UDM-Pro/UDR/UDM-SE on your network and you have enabled the WiFiman feature, you can also use it. So I made a video about how it all works. Enjoy 😊
I finally got Starlink! Yes, the revolutionary Internet service from SpaceX has arrived at the farm. I have been using a Skymuster Plus connection for about 4 years, which is a service provided by the Australian government through retailers. While it isn’t terrible, it definitely isn’t amazing. The ping of 600ms kills a lot of apps, I talk over people on video calls, I always wait for things to load or happen etc. I got used to it, but never should have.
In a nutshell, Starlink operates through a super constellation of satellites in low earth orbit. Because they are only 350-550km up, the ping for the service is very low, but they are not stationary. Each satellite connects to a ground station that connects the user (me) to the Internet.
Getting Starlink meant I had to make a few choices though:
Determine the optimal installation point for “Dishy”, the user terminal, on my roof (or other place).
Either discontinue my current ISP connection, or use it as a backup
Finding the optimal place for Dishy is a lot of trial and error. The main problem I have is trees blocking the view of the sky, thus the connection to satellites. Luckily the Starlink app provides a feature to scan your preferred installation point and tell you if it’ll work or not.
Second, I decided to use my existing internet connection as a backup, or failover, for Starlink. Because Starlink is still in beta, I am not sure I 100% trust it just yet. Having another connection to fall back on could be very beneficial. It turned out that the UDM Pro supports dual WAN natively, and I went down that path. It didn’t quite go to plan though. Check out the video below for the full story.
Some months ago I wrote about installing Unifi LEDs in my office. It was an interesting project figuring out how to fit LED panels meant for a suspended ceiling in a big office, to my little tiny room. But it worked well, and I have since had questions on how it works and how I did it. In response I made a short video explaining the whole setup. 🤓
I installed Unifi Access some months ago, both to add some security but also because swipe cards. Why would I not want that on my office? Anyway, Unifi Access does a whole bunch of things, some of which I don’t use with a single door lock, but also some that I keep getting questions about. So, as an add-on to my first installation video I thought I’d do a full run-through of what you can do with Access. Enjoy.
As most IT nerds are destined to do, I also support my family (which means I mostly fix their printers). I thought I would do some more in-depth support and organised for an Amplifi Alien system to be sent to my brother in Denmark. He is not a technical person beyond using a phone and hooking up a home stereo, so it was an interesting experiment to see how easy Amplifi is to set up.
Check out the video for some multi-angle remote IT support from 14,500km away.
For the past year I have been upgrading, expanding, testing, configuring, adding and breaking my farm WiFi setup. I have been using Ubiquiti equipment, mainly from their Unifi range, and it has changed how I work, how I play and how I use my network day to day. It has upgraded my professional work with better lighting, more stable connection and removed one uncertain element of country living. For me and my family it has genuinely changed our ability to communicate with family overseas, our local community, our volunteer projects and schools. Most importantly, it has increased the safety of working on the farm outside, as we have no, or very limited, mobile signal. We can now call and communicate in general almost anywhere on the farm (and get those important tweets out!)
When I first started changing my WiFi devices it was to get rid of repeater points mainly, but I also had a bunch of other reasons. I didn’t expect it to have this much of an impact, nor that I would enjoy nerding out over networking equipment that much. But I have.
That is a massive list, when I see it like that. It has been a very incremental journey, so it kinda blows my mind to see where I am at now. And because of that, I made this video to give you the tour of the farm and how it is all connected. Enjoy.
To continue my journey into amazing WiFi coverage and farm automation, I installed a Unifi In-Wall HD access point. This is a neat little device that provide both wireless and wired connections. I fit perfectly into the part of my farm homestead I am renovating, giving more WiFi coverage as well as provide wired connection for a future TV, Xbox and PlayStation that will live in this room.
The install and setup was really very simple, and I documented all of it in the video below.
I’ve been wanting to upgrade the security on my farm for quite some time. I’ve written about setting up cameras before, and when I discovered that Unifi has an Access product, which includes door locks and swipe cards, I wanted to get that onto my office. There was a lot of wiring experiments, broken parts, drilled holes and bird poop to get through, but now it works!
I decided to create a video guide for the setup as I went along. I genuinely had no idea how it would turn out when I started. Watch below to follow along with my journey.
Wow, this blog is turning into a bit of a Ubiquiti and Unifi journal. However, in the midst of all of the Azure content I am creating, the networking infrastructure on my farm has taken hold of my attention. I never thought I’d be this much into it, but here we are. Again.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many to work from home, I have seen countless social media posts on how to update your home office. Even though I have worked from home for a number of years, I would normally go to the A Cloud Guru office to film my shows. Suddenly I have to shoot all footage from home. On my own. I have a decent camera, decent microphone and okay lighting. However, there is room for improvement. It is time to plan the next step.