Upgrading the home wifi network – Part 1

Recently my wife left her full-time corporate job to pursue her passion for coaching and developing people in the workforce. Now we are both working out of the house the majority of the time, and my current network infrastructure just wasn’t cutting it. The wifi network was the primary culprit, with our offices on either side of the house and the main wifi access point being in my room the signal was iffy at best for her. I tried putting in a range extender and while that made connectivity easier for her it did nothing to increase the performance in her office. It was clear to me that it was time for an upgrade.

Since I was going down this path, I wanted to make sure I put the money where I could get the best bang for my buck. My wife always says “we’re not wealthy enough to buy cheap things” and that’s a philosophy that has stuck with me. I started to come up with a list of requirements, and these were what I determined to be the most important:

  • Strength and performance of wifi
  • Ability to monitor performance
  • VPN and network segmentation capabilities
  • Expandability
  • Integration with VMware vRealize Log Insight

After speaking with my co-workers, I decided to invest in network gear from Ubiquiti Networks. As it so happens within a day or two, I received an email from Newegg.com offering a discount on the Ubiquiti UniFi© Security Gateway (USG for short) which is a small form factor enterprise gateway router managed by their Unifi Network Management Controller software. The USG offers advanced firewalling, VLAN, VPN, and Radius Server capabilities which fits the bill to replace my existing consumer-grade firewall which I’ll eventually repurpose in a remote location. Now I needed to choose a wireless access point or points for the house.

My co-workers raved about the capabilities of the UniFi© AP AC LR wireless access point. They told me that this access point was able to blanket their entire house in solid wifi coverage. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at this and seriously debated about purchasing two access points just to make sure I had the coverage I decided. Finally, wisdom prevailed and I purchased one knowing that should I need more coverage I could simply order a second access point.

Stay tuned for part II where I’ll cover some of the small challenges I uncovered in this adventure.