A Home Network

Anders Brownworth
The Startup
Published in
36 min readJun 27, 2020

--

I spent some time overhauling my home network. There was no way I was going to settle for the default WiFi access point you get from an internet service provider. (Verizon in my case) My house is big enough to need more than one access point anyway and I run some local servers so I needed a bit more flexibility. Additionally, I’ve started to deploy some IoT devices, mostly related to home automation, so I wanted some isolation from my user network should a device spiral out of control. (flooding the network / general security issues) All of these things and the fact that we moved to a new house acted as my excuse to entirely rethink my home network. This post covers where I am now and attempts to rationalize to myself the unnecessarily large mindshare I’ve devoted. Don’t blame me if I send you off on a similarly unreasonable direction!

The goal: reliable, flexible and (reasonably) cost effective Internet infrastructure. In my experience, however, “because I’m already working on it” ended up to be rationale enough to make it a bit more feature-full. You’ll see.

The Hardware

WiFi is the dead-center of everything in a network these days, be it home or enterprise. The choice here needs to be very solid and overbuilt enough to support future realities. I think you can take the number of expected WiFi clients and multiply it by 10, for example, because IoT is invading. Realizing that every light switch and even many power receptacles are becoming WiFi clients, you can see where 10x might be conservative. Therefore something more enterprise oriented is where I started.

As you move into enterprise class, you start to get the unbundling of features. For example, the home WiFi access point is typically much more than that. It is a WiFi access point, a DHCP server, a NAT device and usually a switch and some kind of terminal adapter all rolled up into one device. So it is no surprise that a device like that might not have the rock solid quality you might need in all areas — compromises have been made. So as you move up and those parts get unbundled, you can start building out only what you actually need and at whatever level of quality your situation and resources demand.

UniFi nanoHD WiFi Access Point — $160

I landed on Ubiquiti’s UniFi nanoHD WiFi access points for the center of the network. Ubiquity is one of those companies that…

--

--

Anders Brownworth
The Startup

Applied CBDC Research — formerly Federal Reserve, USDC @ Circle.com, Bandwidth.com. MIT / Podcaster / Runner / Helicopter Pilot