House: Network troubles over

The network and internet troubles I wrote about last time are now largely alleviated.

Because of Australia, I can’t do the wiring myself (I have some sort of cabling ticket from a temp job over 20 years ago, not sure if it’s still valid, I don’t still have the physical piece of paper, and I don’t think it was allowable to for me do it unsupervised anyway), so I had to wait for a cabler’s help… thankfully he was available at short notice.

First, we found the boundary of the NBN-managed wiring (I’d actually found this wandering around in the roof cavity beforehand, perhaps saving time), tied by way of a pile of scotch-locks to multiple phone extensions including the aforementioned Telecom 610 socket. We clipped off all of the extras (removing the verboten “star” configuration which is not great for VDSL, I think), and re-routed the sole connection to the corner of the garage.

I then shifted our modem, router, and everything else back into the rack in the corner where the new jack is installed, it synced, and as of the time of writing it’s been synced the entire time (close to 48h) with dead-flat numbers. Overall the results are fairly middle of the road, not amazing but not terrible: around 50mbps downstream and about 13mbps upstream. We’re on a 50/20 plan so we can deal with that, and maybe sometime between now and when the house is paid off I’ll look at getting FTTH installed instead.

After re-arranging some switches (a replacement is in the works), the ethernet cable to Sabriena and Duncan’s desktops now runs out the garage door, across the back of the garage and into the rack. We’ll wire a couple of ethernet drops in the wall later, but it’s fairly low priority for right now as the existing cable is mostly out of the way unless we want to use the rear garage door. I was able to, as of Monday night, game on my desktop by stringing another blue cable across the kitchen floor, down the hall, and into my office… I pack this up when I’m not using it though.

The real pain, however, was my work machine: it’s wifi only, and the experience with the only WAP over on Sabriena’s desk was absolutely miserable. Sync rates looked okay, but under any sort of load the latency increased a lot and it routinely kicked me off (I’m guessing, but did not check, that it was falling below the minimum RSSI I set up in the Unifi controller at the other house). Not good!

So nothing to it, we had to have another cable run, and located one of the WAPs on the ceiling where it’s supposed to be. I had hoped to spend some time experimenting to find the optimal location of the WAP, but we went ahead and dropped it in a convenient location in the middle of the rear hallway. This resolved the issue with my work laptop and provides great 5GHz coverage to the rear of the house.

I still need to run an actual ethernet drop to my office - we’ll probably run redundant ones while I’m at it just to be on the safe side - plus one more drop behind the TV (but that’ll be a project: it’s a double brick wall and I want to hide all the wiring!). I then have to ceiling-mount the front AP, but that should be easy as where it’ll go is easily accessible.

For now though, we’ve spent enough money. At least I’m ready to go back to work!

Update 2021-06-25: After agonizing over what (if anything) to replace the Unifi stuff with (as the sheen has thoroughly worn off their products, IMHO), I came to the conclusion that outside of getting spectacularly lucky on eBay, there’s nothing in my price range tolerance that’ll give me everything I want, so I doubled-down and jumped on what I thought was a great deal on a new core switch for the new house. I bought a 24-port Unifi Pro switch, but neglected to realize that the reason it was suddenly inside my pain threshold is this unit lacks PoE, which led to about 10 minutes of troubleshooting for why the WAP I plugged into it wasn’t showing up.

That’s not necessarily a problem for me, I currently only have two PoE devices anyway: the two APs. Between all the drops in the house, and devices in the rack I’ll want to permanently connect, the 24 ports is probably just about the right amount, and if I want to add cameras then I’ll need another solution anyway. So I’m using the PoE injectors that came with my APs (for the first time ever) and in exchange for giving up PoE I get L3 switching, a pair of 10G SFP+ uplinks (for expandability), and it’s not contributing to the noise/heat of the rack any. I’m undecided what sort of cameras I want to go with yet, but that’s a problem for another day.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle



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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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