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.
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:
- Dream Machine Pro
- Unifi Switch 24 PoE
- Unifi Swithc PoE+ 24 (250W)
- Unifi Switch PoE 8 (150W)
- Unifi Switch Flex
- 2 Unifi Long-Range Access Points
- 2 Unifi Flex HD Access Point
- 3 Unifi Mesh Access Points
- 1 Unifi In-Wall HD Access Point
- 4 Unifi nanoHD Access Points
- 7 Unifi Protect G3 Flex Cameras
- 1 Unifi Protect G3 Bullet Camera
- 1 Unifi Protect G4 Bullet Camera
- 1 Unifi Protect G4 Pro Camera
- 6 airMax NanoStation AC 5
- 2 NanoStation 5AC Loco
- 1 SunMax SolarPoint
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.
— Lars Klint 🌳🐏🚜 (@larsklint) August 20, 2020
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 🤷♂️. 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.
— Lars Klint 🌳🐏🚜 (@larsklint) July 3, 2020
— Lars Klint 🌳🐏🚜 (@larsklint) June 2, 2020
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
If you haven’t read about farm WiFi Version 1, do that first.
Here is what happened. I spend some hard earned dollars on getting two Unifi AP-LR units and two Unifi Outdoor Mesh APs, as well as a 24-port switch and a cloud key to upgrade my oh so patchy WiFi on my farm. I had great feedback on that post from all sorts of people. Some were keen to hear more, some questioned some of my setup (I am a total network newbie), and Ubiquiti also noticed.
They messaged me and asked for more details on what I was trying to do and what my plans were. And a couple of weeks later they send a “care package” with more Unifi toys. I am not getting paid to write anything, I am not promoting their products in any way I wouldn’t do anyway when I like something, and they certainly aren’t telling me what to write. It is just what nice companies do. It is a win-win, as I get new bits to play with, set up and evaluate. Ubiquiti get some real world feedback, some public promotion from the community and everyone is happy.
Initially I had planned on getting a Unifi Security Gateway to handle firewall, access rules and DHCP, as well as 2-3 cameras to cover some portion of the property. As it turned out, it became rather more than that.