Now that I’ve had a couple of years to get used to running a Ubiquiti network setup, I thought I’d give an update with how it’s all going…
This article on Ars Technica about IRC turning 30 sent me down a nice memory lane. I’ve had my share of antics and fun borne from various IRC channels I’ve been a part of. From the beginnings of streaming video online and running a rogue server at college, to “hacking” trolls that were students at Georgia Tech, there were some really great experiences. I’ll share some of these stories on here sometime.
Given we received confirmation on the closing date for the house, I used that as an excuse and purchased the Ubiquiti network equipment. Partly to familiarize myself with getting it setup and running – configuring the gateway to work with Google or AT&T fiber connects directly will be a challenge.
Ideally, I’d want to not have the ISP’s equipment involved. To do that, the Ubiquiti USG will need to be provisioned with a custom profile – the details of which will be the difficult thing to nail down. I’ve had little luck on finding details for an AT&T connection, which will be the likely provider since Google Fiber isn’t available yet. (Why you do this to me, Google?!)
The fallback option is to have the ISP equipment serve as the “dumb” gateway, of which the wifi capability will be disabled, and only one of the routing ports used as a pass-through to the Ubiquiti USG. This is how I’ve currently set it up in the apartment, and it works. I just like the idea of eliminating that one extra hop.
The setup for the equipment went pretty smoothly. I opted for the Generation 2 Cloud Key – still in a limited access program. It’s a nice little device.
The Deep Packet Inspection feature in the Ubiquiti interface is slick. Here’s a high-level breakdown, of which you can drill into for details:
The stats are over a period of Saturday through Wednesday. Yeah, you can be sure that I am against data caps on ISP plans. (Fortunately, the highest tier fiber plan with AT&T has no caps.)
Drilling into the above graph shows a more detailed breakdown:
I’ll post more in an upcoming post.
This week was the selection of window coverings. (As a side note – if you’ve never been through this process – prepare yourself. The selection of designs, colors, etc. is the easy part. The tough pill to swallow is the cost.)
It seems that one of the holy grails in the world of home automation is the window covering. There’s a myriad of products you can DIY – all of which perpetuate the impression that home automation is the realm of the tech nerd who likes to hack. Nothing in the DIY world is clean, minimal, and easy. You are looking at “solutions” that will essentially look like a Rube Goldberg set of gateways, radios, wires and circuit boards – all strung together to… open or close your shades.
On the other end of the spectrum, all of the solutions that are turn-key are expensive, in addition to an already pricey financial commitment.
We chose the latter – I’m at a point where I don’t want to fuss with rolling a DIY solution. Perhaps it’s the Apply fan in me, but I want a solution that looks good and just works. So we went with the Somfy motors on the shades in the Living Room, with the thought that I will have the scenes setup to be able to press a button or ask Alexa, “Turn on Movie Mode” – and the shades will drop, the lights will dim, and the TV and surround system will turn on and be ready to go.
At least that’s the goal. I’ll post again once we’re settled in and I’ve set things up.
Ubiquiti’s Controller software has a nice feature that assists in planning. You can upload a floorplan, trace the walls (with the defined wall type selected), and then place the AP version to see the signal strength. I laid out the first floor of our house here:
I’ve discovered from this tool that I will have to rethink some of the devices I had originally planned for. Very nice.
Continuing on the topic of planning the new home automation, I’ve been researching and earmarking various components to kit out the network/server rack.
The new house will have all the structured wiring converge in the master suite closet, as is the practice here, so I plan to place the rack in the same location.
In this post I go over the initial set of Docker containers I’m using.
Once I had the OS online and Docker installed, I deployed a sample container (Hello World) to learn how it’s done. I quickly grew to desire a UI and looked for something that would serve as such for Docker. Portainer quickly turned up in my search, and since I was still new to the world of Docker, it amused me that Portainer was deployed as a container on Docker. Of course.
This post will cover the steps I took to install Ubuntu 18.04 on the Intel NUC (NUC7i7DNHE) and bring it online and ready for the Docker environment.
Since this server was going to have some exposure to the internet beyond my house, I needed to ensure I followed some basic security best practices. I made a list of the various aspects to consider:
- Minimal OS – Install only the packages needed, and on an as-needed basis.
- Lockdown ‘root’ access – No external login for root, use a unique password.
- Create a dedicated user for the Docker environment instead of using root.
Fortunately, the OOTB implementation of Ubuntu handles most of the mundane server administration details such as log file management, date/time syncing, etc.
The purpose of this series is to document what I have done for my home automation, and to also perhaps share some information I’ve learned in the process. This first post is an overview, and the subsequent posts will delve more into the details.
I recently have been working on setting up a home server in preparation for the new home. The goal of this server will be:
- Central hub for the various home automation components.
- Media server (music, movies, photos, etc.)
- Backups repository.
I thought I would write a post on what I’m using to accomplish these functions, and what changes I’ve made on the journey.