I’m planning an update of my parents home network with the following goals:
Use easy to use/maintain hardware/software.
Create a system that can be remotely monitored / controlled.
Allows creation of multiple separated wireless networks (for tenants, guests, etc) that can be throttled, put through a VPN, and overall have a decent level of fidelity of control.
Integrate a few (less than 5) cameras that they can view on an app on their phones.
My current plan is to get:
Ubiquiti Dream Machine or Pro: $300 or $380
2X access points if I get the regular or 3x if I get the Pro (I need 4 total to cover the house an garage): $200 or $300
A cloud key if I don’t get the Pro: $200
Get another Ubiquiti point-to-point system: $140
Reuse a Ubiquiti access point, point-to-point system and camera that are part of the current system: $0
So roughly $840 or $820 depending on if I use the UDM or UDM Pro.
My main question is if there are any comparable systems I should consider instead? It seems Ubiquiti has been a bit questionable of late and I’d rather not invest nearly a grand in an ecosystem if it’s troubled. Engenius looks interesting from recent channel videos but doesn’t seem to have integrated camera products (I could role that out separately though) and there router seems less featured. I want to go with a purchased/supported product/ecosystem as I may not be the one maintaining it in the future otherwise I’d pursue a more diy approach.
Stuff from Ubiquiti that do not require regular firmware maintenance/update is still okay. So things like wireless AP, p2p RF link are fine I would say if you really like the look of Ubiquiti products. Otherwise, TP-Link is acceptable and cheaper alternative for the equivalent kind of devices.
Not so sure what to pick for a router/controller in your case that require regular firmware updates. I would assume you want one with intuitive & simple GUI interface. So that in rare cases you can instruct your parents to operate over the phone or a video link. Ubiquiti has a very bad record in providing firmware updates in the past 5 years or so.
I’ll check them out. I remember looking into them a long time ago and they seemed more old looking enterprise then polished prosumer product but it sounds like that’s no longer the case.
Gotcha, the idea of using one source for everything had an appeal but seems like that’s a no go. I have had decent experiences with TPLink EAP225’s, I’ll keep them in mind.
The house is big enough to need 3 ap’s for good coverage. There will not be a server rack. Form factor is something I’m considering and why I might be inclined to go with the regular UDM, the pro would just have to be happy with sitting on a shelf.
I’ve used consumer routers with ddwrt flashed on them before and would prefer something less diy in this instance. Something in the prosumer/small business class that doesn’t require flashing.
For the AP’s I’m talking about the little disk ones, not rack mounted ones.
I have professionally used Ubiquity in small and medium sized business deployments over the last year and is really hard to beat. I am actually redoing my grandparents and my uncles with UniFi stuff next week. Their RMA service is great if you have any issues and the management system is only rivaled by products that are 3x the price.
I think that some of the issues people have with ubiquity are a bit overblown. I don’t particularly like their routers but if I just need to get someone online with minimal configuration they work fine.
The only gripe I have is that their stock isn’t consistent so if you need something right now you might have to buy scalper prices from third parties. Especially the switches.
Even Lawrence Systems does not recommend Ubiquity when trying to do non-boilerplate VPN things. I would say that you could drop the Dream machine or just use it as a switch and get another device for gateway stuff.
With that said, I would highly recommend Mikrotik. At my house I have a mix so not so easy to use for end users but my firewall and router appliance runs pfSense, my switches are Mikrotik (fibre in the house), and my APs are Engenius. Engenius switches are quire pricey compared to Ubiquity and Mikrotik, but you can get the cloud management feature by going to all things Engenius.
You can’t use a Cloud Key with a Dream Machine. Sounds like the Dream Router would work well for your situation as it can support a few cameras.
I suggest using the Mesh APs for maximum flexibility. You can wire them to the network and they work like regular APs or you just feed them PoE and they wirelessly mesh with your other APs. The regular APs can mesh in a pinch, but are limited to 1 wireless hop.
Gotcha. A few people have mentioned Mikrotik and they have some new router products that appear to be released but not available yet that seem a good option for what I’m looking for. I have run (or I should say have tried to run) pfsense in the past as my own router but struggled to get it doing anything more than basic stuff without breaking everything this didn’t want to go that route here.
I thought the cloud key was a stand alone product that let you manage cameras? Guess I’m out of it, hadn’t even heard of the Dream Router.
In this case I’ll, thankfully, have wired ethernet everywhere they need to go.