Saturday 2 November 2019

Network Upgrade at the cottage complete

Following the earlier plans, yesterday at the cottage the Broadband internet connectivity was migrated from the old ADSL method (Plusnet) to the the faster FTTC internet connectivity. This is the service type named as "Superfast" by the underlying provider BT Openreach. I hadn't been aware of the exact timing of the changeover, but was alerted by an email just before noon to my smartphone. The message was that the Ubiquiti access point in the cottage had become disconnected.  Our UniFi cloud-based network monitoring tool keeps a constant eye on the network access point device, connected devices, and lets me know of any problems. I checked online to discover there's only been a couple of minutes of outage.

I took a trip to the cottage later to check what Internet bandwidth was actually being delivered. The raw figure is 78 mbps download and 18 mbps upload with a 24 msec ping time. This is a good result for future guests in our cottage. I've set the Guest Wifi (password protected and encrypted) band to 45/5 mbps. This should be more than adequate for a couple on holiday. I reserved some bandwidth for the network cable connected VOIP telephone provided in the cottage.  There is also an open unencrypted Visitor WiFi service which I've set to 6/0.2 mbps for casual visitors. The cloud network management allows me to remotely rebalance the WiFi at a moment's notice.

As part of the routine turn-around process for new guests at the cottage, I reset the access password for the Guest WiFi. We leave a note of the new password for incoming guests. This limits the number of people who can access the faster WiFi service. We could run a voucher system, built into the Ubiquiti system, to control access but it is an over complication. The access point is set so that guests and visitors devices cannot directly interact across the WiFi LAN.

The Broadband upgrade was a simple process. Plusnet sent me a new router via ParcelForce to our home. I took this unit to the cottage and plugged it in to the old ADSL service. It worked without problem. Plusnet requested BT OpenReach to switch to the FTTC service. That is what happened yesterday, unattended, with a down time of a couple of minutes.  When I visited the cottage I altered the settings on the PlusNet Router to turn off their standard WiFi delivery, choosing instead to delivering WiFi via my Ubiquiti Access Point. which is connected via Power over Ethernet (POE) network cable directly to the PlusNet router. The faster Internet service increases our costs by approximately £5 (GBP) per month, but the improved network performance for our guests is noticeable.

Last night I used the UniFi cloud based network management tool to remotely upgrade the resident software on the Ubiquiti Access Point in the cottage. It just takes a couple of mouse clicks from my desktop PC at home and only leads to a few seconds of service outage. Timing this process carefully avoids any disruption to our guests.