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Installing Starlink with Dual WAN on the UDM Pro

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.



What is Unifi Access? – Complete Overview

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.

 


IT Support over 14,500km – Remote Installing Amplifi Alien Network

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.

 


A full walkthrough of my Ubiquiti Farm WiFi

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.

So far I have covered roughly 30 acres (12 hectares) in stable WiFi, built Llamacam and installed swipe card access to my office, which is made possible by the following gear:

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.


Installing a Unifi In-Wall HD Access Point

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 wirelessΒ 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.


Unifi Access Installation and Setup – Putting Swipe Cards in Old Walls

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.


Studio Lighting, IoT and Unifi Infrastructure

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.

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Introducing Llama Cam Powered by Ubiquiti and Azure

TL;DR; I used a couple of Unifi cameras, farm WiFi and the Azure cloud to share the joy of llamas with the world.

An Idea is Forming

“Hmmm, how can I share the fruits of my networking escapades with the world? Or, if not the world, at least a couple of people.”

That was the thought I had one evening while probably building a Lego model πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ. In the past 4-5 months I have upgraded my farm WiFi to the best I can make it. Why? Read about that here. In any case, I wanted to find a way to share some of the fun and excitement I get from all this equipment and figuring out how it works. Considering at the time of writing that the world is being turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to make something that could bring a smile, a bit of warmth, a bit of happiness.

The idea of Llama Cam was born. I have about 25 llamas on my farm (I say “about” as they keep spawning), and I often share them on video calls, web shows, social media and many other ways. People always like llamas, and why wouldn’t you! What if I could use my new Unifi cameras to stream live footage of llamas?

In fact, a single tweet confirmed my brilliant idea.

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Farm WiFi Off The Grid with Ubiquiti and Solar

TL;DR; I made a Unifi camera work at my gate using solar power and long range WiFi. Also read my initial setup, and expansion with UDM-PRO and cameras to get the background.

Okay, I know. This networking exercise of my farm in country Australia has gone a bit further than I had planned, expected and anticipated. However, I am having a ton of fun with it, learning about active and passive PoE, NAS type hard drives, antenna radio patterns and so much more. It kinda blows my mind 🀯 how much there is to it. Soooo, why not add some complexity to the whole thing and add a camera at my gate. Where there is no power. Or network. Continue Reading


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