Home and Lab Network Infrastructure

Reviewing the network infrastructure, planning a massive overhaul and improvement. Thoughts and problems.

So, throughout this blog, I have looked at Identity, and whilst rebuilding the lab, I touched on the infrastructure, the fact that it is a HP C7000 blade chassis, the blades are G7, etc. One thing I haven’t really addressed is the network infrastructure and what it all supports. Lets start with the current infrastructure and what I would like to see.

Current Infrastructure

The current infrastructure consists of a Vodafone Hub for ADSL connectivity and Wi-Fi, a 5 port Netgear Gigabit unmanaged switch, a Cisco C3750-48PS switch and a Cisco C2020X Blade Switch.

The Hub, Netgear and C3750 are all ‘VLAN 1’, providing Wi-Fi to the household devices and the Sophos XG firewall public interface. The C3750 also has management interfaces and used to run PoE for some Wireless Access Points that I borrowed for learning Network Policy Services in depth. The C2020X is a full Layer 3 switch providing IP routing inside the lab environment. There is an LACP link between the two Cisco switches, along with VTP configured so that VLANs are available between the two. On VLAN 1 I also have a PiHole to perform DHCP and DNS resolution for all the clients, offering some protection and giving me the ability to block Roblox for the kids!

Whilst all this works, we do have a few issues.

  • The hub cannot cope with the sheer number of Wi-Fi devices we have as a family.
  • We struggle with accessing Wi-Fi in the garden.
  • The C3750 is a 100Mbps switch so slows down transfers in to the lab.
  • The household sits outside of the lab so manual routing entries need to be added to access it.
  • We don’t get the best performance from our ADSL line despite multiple BT Openreach visits.

The diagram below shows a simplistic view of the network as it stands, with the Wi-Fi router from Vodafone going to a Netgear switch and the 2 Cisco switches.

The Wi-Fi does struggle by the time you factor in door bells, TV’s, Sky, console, mobile devices, tablets etc. So, what’s the plan?

Proposed Infrastructure

To combat the above, I am looking to replace the Cisco and Netgear switches along with the Vodafone router. I am hoping to be able to use Ubuquti networking equipment for switches and wireless, along with a DrayTek Vigor device for an ADSL modem. The Sophos XG firewall will be providing protection from the big bad world.

This overhaul will put a 16 Ubiquiti switch in the middle of everything, performing inter VLAN routing. I will have 2 8 port switches, one to replace the Netgear, and an additional one to support media related connectivity (Sky, TV, consoles etc). Connected to each of these 8 port switches will be an wireless access point to provide 2 internal access points, split between floors to ensure full coverage throughout the house. An outdoor access point will be added to provide Wi-Fi access in the garden. Lastly, the Vodafone hub will be replaced with a DrayTek Vigor 130 ADSL router which can be configured to run as a modem only. Removing the need to double NAT out of the Sophos firewall.

Whilst I can appreciate this seems to be overkill for a home network, it will provide coverage throughout the area for Wi-Fi access and the additional switch ports will also reduce the load on the Wi-Fi. So, how will it look after all this? Something like this:

The logical design will be slightly more complicated with VLANs and VLAN routing, but the physical design will look something like the above. Additional devices will hang off the two smaller switches which are powering the WAPs.

Shopping List

So, the design is thought about, the equipment has been chosen, now for the shopping list. I have been impressed with Ubiquiti Networks UnFi system from everything I have seen about others using it. So my shopping list is as follows:

  • 2 x Ubiquiti UniFi Managed 8 Port Gigabit Switch – US-8
  • 1 x Ubiquiti UniFi Managed 24 Port Gigabit Switch – US-24
  • 2 x Ubiquiti UniFi AP – AC Lite – Access Point – UAP-AC-LITE
  • 1 x Ubiquiti UniFi AC Mesh Indoor/Outdoor Access Point – UAP-AC-M

So with the shopping list sorted, now to acquire the equipment. This, I am currently working on. Once it’s all purchased, I will do an opening and install/configure blog. I am looking forward to this.

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