The last post covered the basic setup of the home network. Getting the WiFi up and running and connected ASAP was of top priority so that the network devices that I don’t trust could get functioning as soon a possible. This time around we’re covering the home office networking and how I’ve got the VLAN networks configured.
Starting with the main piece of kit is the Dell PowerConnect 2824, I picked this up from eBay at a pretty decent price. I found a seller that was looking to get rid of it and I messaged offering slightly lower than what was asked and mentioned that it was for a “home lab” style project. Needless to say, the final price I picked the switch up for was £45.00. It’s not the worlds most current switch but it has VLAN support which is super important for what I want it to do.
My primary concern was to break out my network into logical segments that allowed me to easily switch kit in between networks should I need to without configuration. Handily the switch offers 3 banks of 8 ports which I used for this logical configuration as follows:
- Home VLAN (ports 1-8) – No VLAN tagging
- Work VLAN (ports 9-16) – Tagged VLAN 10
- DMZ VLAN (ports 17-24) – Tagged VLAN 20
Depending on the growth of my Home VLAN I may need to expand its capacity and take ports away from the Work or the DMZ VLAN to accomodate for this but for now it’s easy to understand where things go.
This particular switch is located in the main office with all my other equiptment. I have to say that the audio levels are tolerable given I work in here everyday but that might not be the case for everyone. It’s louder than my home PC put it that way.
For connectivity (my office is located 1 floor above the Unifi USG) I’ve run CAT6 cable downstairs and tagged it to the skirting boards. It’s a rental property so drilling/wall routing isn’t an option and I’ve got to reverse it when I leave. This actually works really well as when I’m gaming /downloading/working as I’ve never got to worry about any lag or range issues that come with typical WiFi. As an additional plus it also negates any transfer speed issues giving me full 1Gbit ethernet speeds upstairs away from the incoming fibre connection to the house. I’ve used the wall plugs that use the existing copper of a building and have found that you’re luck & reliability can vary.
The Dell PowerConnect comes with a decent user manual and fairly straight forward configuration. It was easy to setup VLAN tagging for my other home networks (Work and DMZ). Setting up the networks in the USG is fairly straight forward.
What’s really important here is adding networking rules to the USG to prevent inter-VLAN communication. This is entirely down to my preference, as I didn’t want my work equipment talking to my home network and vice-versa. A really handy post from UniFi helps with this UniFi – USG Firewall: How to Disable InterVLAN Routing
I can now allow inter VLAN connections by adding the rules with a higher priority than the blocking rules. This allows my home LAN to connect into the other networks for sensible things like RDP or SSH.