I had been researching different mesh systems like Netgear Orbi, Eero, Google, Asus AX6100, and the upcoming Asus AX6600. However, I noticed that 2 wall jacks that I thought were phone jacks were in fact ethernet jacks! One is in the kitchen and the other in the master bedroom. I tracked the lines down and found that they terminated in a wiring box in our basement. This changed my approach from thinking that I would need to use wireless mesh and could instead use hard lines. I also planned on adding 2 jacks to the tv cabinet in the family room for the tv and playstation.
Because I would want to mount an access point in the kitchen and bedroom, I would need something relatively inconspicuous. This led me to the easily mountable Ubiquiti Unifi series of access points. After doing extensive online research, I decided to go with Unifi.
Here are a list of parts that I needed:
|156.99||2||Unifi nanoHD Access Points||Microcenter|
|79.99||1||UPS with 5 battery backup outlets||Best Buy|
|26.99||1||TRENDnet 8 port patch panel||Amazon|
|14.99||1||LAN tester for RJ45||Microcenter|
|12.99||1||5 pack of 5 foot ethernet cables||Amazon|
|7.99||1||Right Angle ethernet cable||Amazon|
|6.99||1||100 mount points for zip ties||Amazon|
|4.46||1||Wall plate with angled keystone||Amazon|
|2.99||1||Keystone surface mount||Microcenter|
|2.99||1||10 pack of Blank Keystones||Microcenter|
|Free||Ethernet cable||Donated by my brother|
|480.34||Total before tax|
My brother, brother-in-law, and I installed 2 cables up into my family room where there was an already existing hole running along the existing cable lines. However, it turned out that despite being a cat 5e jack in the kitchen only 2 of the 8 wires were actually connected. I just had to install the other 6 wires. The bedroom jack was wired correctly, but I swapped out the faceplate for one with angled connectors since it was behind our bed. This would reduce the chance of the ethernet cables getting pinched and ruined. All the cables were then connected to the patch panel in the basement.
I then installed the kitchen wireless access point and configure it with the installed Unifi Controller on my server (see: installing-unifi-controller-on-ubuntu). I then went about switching all my devices to the new wireless network name. Afterwards, I was then able to move the Asus router downstairs and turn of the wireless. It will still handle the routing for now.
The wireless performance of the one Unifi nanoHD was so great that I decided to return the second. This lowered the total cost of the project so far to 323.35. The improvement of the wireless was likely 2 fold: 1. an improved wireless signal and 2. a more central location.
The 2.4GHz performance is still so-so, but that is more due to the amount of interference from the more than 20 networks in range.
Future improvements I am considering are:
- network rack and shelf to place all the equipment on instead of the simple shelf that I am using
- PoE network switch
- Unifi Security Gateway (router)