Adventures in Networking


Home network mini rack with patch panel and Ubiquiti Dream Machine Pro

It’s no secret that I’m a massive technology nerd. I always have been fascinated with technology and how things work. As a kid, I was constantly taking things apart to try figure out how they worked. And I got my fair share of electric shocks along the way. I think I learned how to change a plug when I was about seven — a skill that’s no longer required as plugs all seem to be permanently attached to the ends of cables now.

I’ve always been fascinated by how computer networks work. How does the information get from one point to another? How does it cross continents? How does an undersea cable work? How fast can it get? Back in my early career I thought about doing a network certification and trying to get into IT full time — it didn’t pan out that way but the interest was always there.

So to scratch that itch to learn more, I decided to embark on a network upgrade in my apartment. Luckily, the place is already wired with ethernet. Previously I was running a pretty simple network but I wanted to upgrade some parts of it and have as many devices connected using ethernet as possible.

The network port near my desk seemed to be broken so I had to learn how to terminate a new keystone jack, make ethernet cables and do network testing. It was a totally over-the-top project and not at all necessary but I really enjoyed it. It was a nice mix of technical theory and physical work.

What’s my setup?

I decided to go with all Ubiquiti gear. Previously I was using their Amplifi Alien Router and it was great but I wanted to take it to the next level. I’m now running:

Total overkill, but it’s all working brilliantly. I was even able to return my Verizon router which is saving me $15 a month — a small victory over a giant corporation!

What does it look like?

This is the network topology as of right now. It’s not showing every device as some things are switched off but it’s a good representation of what it looks like.

Network topology map for my home network, showing router, switches and devices.
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