Network cabinet

I’m slowly tidying up the network stuff here, and even though there are temporary cables draped about and a small handful of semi-temporary stuff the sparky helped me run, it’s still quite a mess. The thing is though is that absolutely none of this is designed, I just kinda threw it together in a hurry.

But it’s time to get serious and start thinking about things, so one of the things I decided to do was look at getting a small network cabinet. This will house the VDSL modem for our NBN connection, the router, and the main house switch. I’ll then run some bundle of cable down to my main rack, where the top-of-rack switch will feed any and all devices in there.

What switch to use? Ideally I wanted something that’d do 10G SFP+, so I could have a nice fat trunk between them, and at least four POE ports would be good to have too. Given that I’ve doubled down on Unifi at each step it probably wants to be that too, but the only switch that currently ticks all those boxes is eye-wateringly expensive at $1100AUD.

However, the UDM-SE is “coming soon”, and it’ll give me everything I want and a better router and separate the concerns of my container host and the Unifi controller, and let us put some cameras in too (though we’re still not 100% sold on Unifi cameras). That sounds good, I can wait for that.

But in the mean time, let’s order a 6U wall-mount cabinet and start thinking about doing this right. I can use a smaller POE switch in the mean time and put up with a 1gbps trunk (or maybe I’ll do a two-cable LAG between them, I dunno).

So the cabinet showed up today… flat packed, bashed to hell and the contents a bit scuffed up. No worries, I can put this together and the scuffs don’t bother me, where’s the instructions? Nowhere. So I battled through figuring it out, it’s not that hard, and eventually got to the point of assembling the lock… where the lock-nut appears to not thread onto the lock at all. I even got a couple spanners and it was clear if I’d kept torquing it up I was going to destroy the old thread and cut a new one, so I stopped and wrote the seller.

In the process of doing so, I realized this thing doesn’t fit the ad at all… it supposedly comes assembled, it’s supposed to have locking side doors (these don’t lock at all, the holes are there with plastic plugs in them, they just clip in place), it’s supposed to have a rear port for cables, and a bunch of other stuff about the ad made it pretty clear this product wasn’t as advertised. So I wrote them a plain query, as I have the thing most of the way put together, I don’t want to return it just yet, I just want them to send me the missing parts.

They responded to my query by… sending the instructions. A single page of black and white drawings that didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Back and forth a bit until they stopped answering shortly before time of writing. We’ll see how this goes… I may have to ask to return it to get any sort of satisfaction, which wil be a pain in the arse.

I’ve got time, as I’m by no means ready to put it on the wall yet, I have to figure out where to put it, how to mount it, how to get cables in it, and so on. I think I will cut a gap in the crown molding in the garage, and mount the thing firmly to the ceiling. I will probably put some 2x4s across above the plasterboard and send some bolts through the top, and then cut a hole in the plasterboard to match the rectangular opening in the top of the rack. I’ll put a brush cover across there, bolt the thing to the ceiling, and send some lag bolts into the brick wall behind it. It’ll take a bomb going off to get it to fall down then!

But where to put it? I was going to put it above the rack on the north wall of the garage, and run ethernet down into the rack and power back up from the UPS, but I don’t yet know where the final home of the rack will be. But also, on that side of the garage is where the end of the roof is, making the roof cavity very narrow above it, so the sparky complains about it. Also on that wall, to the east side, is all the power stuff - the switchboard, the solar inverter, etc… it’s probably fine but running a bundle of ethernet past it seems dodgy still.

So what I could do instead is put it on the other side, with it’s own UPS, and terminate everything there, conveniently close to the manhole in the garage. Run the trunk cables (eventually a single 10Gbps fibre link) over to where the rack is and job’s done.

Yeah, I’m thinking that might do, but let’s see whether this cabinet goes back first.

Update: 2022-03-12: The seller got back to me, and ended up shipping me the part to make the door lock work. What about the rest of my complaints? I’m on the fence about this, it didn’t feel right going full Karen when they essentially provided what I thought I was buying, but while they certainly didn’t provide what they advertised, I don’t want to deal with taking it apart and shipping it back. So in the end I decided I will keep it, and I will simply refrain from leaving feedback on it.

I am still yet to install it, because I had other things to do over the last week.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle



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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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