Friday, December 9, 2016

Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway (USG)

All my UniFi posts so far:

Ubiquiti UniFi AC Pro Wireless Access Point
Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway (USG)
Moving my Unifi Controller to my Synology Rackstation

If you read my blog entry on my Ubiquiti access points, you might have noticed that I completely glossed over what you should do about a router if you're using access points, since most home wifi is done with wifi routers.  If you read my cable modem guide you would note that I am an advocating of splitting the roles.  You want a modem/bridge to your ISP, you want a router, and you want access points.  I've covered options on 2 of the 3.

When I first set up my network here at the Angleridge lab, and went with the first generation Ubiquiti 802.11ac access points, I needed a router, but I didn't have the time to research it before getting everything up and running.  My short term solution was to disable the wireless radios in a wireless router and make it my home router.  Of course, this was a consumer (Linksys) router and I knew this wasn't my long term solution, as the software support would certainly evaporate (PSA: make sure you're running the latest firmware on your router, and if there's not been an update from the manufacturer in the last 12 months, replace it ASAP).

A year later and no firmware updates from Linksys, and it was time to take some action.  After doing a little reading, I went back to Ubiquiti for the solution.  The only question was whether to go with the $100 Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway (USG) or the Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway Pro (USG-PRO-4).  Realistically, the only difference for my application is simply speed.  The USG-Pro hardware just has a lot more horsepower.

Unifi Security Gateway (USG)
The Unifi Security Gateway (USG) is plenty powerful for most home and small business needs.

So I looked at my application and said "do I need the extra speed?"  AT&T has been rolling out Gb fiber, and it's now available in my block, so theoretically I need the USG-Pro to get everything out of that, but I decided to save $200 for now and test out the USG.  I'll say that I'm happy.  Once I make the Gb fiber move, I'll reassess and update the post.

One of the great things about going with the USG is that it integrates with my existing Unifi Controller:

The Unifi Controller is used to control the horizontal and the vertical

Needless to say, this beats the heck out of bouncing to a web interface on a consumer grade router.  I originally was running the controller on my desktop machine.  You don't have ot run it all the time unless you're using a few specific functionalities, which aren't needed in most residential applications, so I was only running it when I specifically wanted to make changes and provision devices.  That said, I recently made the step up to running the controller on my Synology Rackstation, and so it's now running 24-7, and I can access it through Ubiquity's cloud controller software.

So, I've got a real router solution with active software support.  I can't stress how important that last bit is.  Check your router and don't use something that isn't supported, and for goodness sake, don't trust your ISP with that job.

Products referenced in this post:

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