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Rack mount router suggestions?

Zigourney

Active Member
I'm considering a rack mount router to replace the standard issue BT Superhub. I currently pay for BT FTTP service 300down/50up and am consistently get more than my rated speeds. I will be upgrading when BT launch a faster consumer service (i need it to transfer very large files to and from the office server) I think the 500mbps service is launching this March and then the consumer 1gbps to launch by the end of the year.

Anyway, surprisingly I have no complaints whatsoever with my current ISP issue BT router, in fact I am very happy with it, it's stable, its fast, the wifi works fine no complaints, it provides plenty of coverage in my home and I think I've only had to reboot it once in the last 6 months since it has been up and running and that was not due to any performance issues. This BT router is the most stable router I have ever owned, and I have owned plenty of routers over the years and this one just works without any headaches, for a change, and that's the main reason why I haven't chucked it in a drawer already on day one and replaced it with my own equipment like I have done in the past with ISP provided equipment.

Since every appliance that has an Ethernet socket in my house is plugged in via cat6, I only use the wifi for relatively light use such as phones/ipads and internet connected appliances such as the fridge, eco dots, you get the picture. The bandwidth heavy appliances are all hard wired.

I wanted to tidy up my rack closet and free up a little bit of space for the misus's storage needs, the top half of the closet the wife uses to store the usual plethora of household bits and bobs, yes I know, I already tried having that conversation but dare I bring up that subject again! The bottom half of the closet is completely boxed up and separated for my rack, but I currently have the BT superub sitting on the top half of the closet because I didn't want to constrict the wifi by placing the router on a rack shelf i.e. in a metal cage.

I have done a bit of reading on rackmount routers, need something that is simple to set up and manage via a web GUI, most of the rackmount routers I looked at need a bit of command line knowledge, which I have very little of, so I am looking for suggestions please..a rackmount router first that will be able to handle a future 1gbps connection and need it to be relatively quite. You can see pics of my current set up for context in my sig.

Thanks Z
 

Kristian

Well-known Member
I don't get what you're trying to solve here. You say that wifi is good with the AP/router at the top, so are you going to leave it there just running WiFi, or are you going to buy a new WAP? Where would it go? If you're after a new rackmount router with a built in WAP then you'll be back to putting it 'in a metal cage', so why not put the BT kit there instead? Have you tested the wifi with the BT kit on the shelf?
 

Zigourney

Active Member
no I will be removing the bt router completely, put in a new rackmount router and get a wireless access point - leaning towards unifi AP at the moment, and install it in the ceiling of the upstairs landing (I've already got cat6 there) so no issues installing the wireless access point, just need some recommendations for a rack mounted router.
 

Kristian

Well-known Member
Then why not just stick the BT router (that you're obviously happy with) on the shelf and connect the WAP to the network? /still not seeing the point of changing ;)

The only rack mount routers I've used are 3Com (yes, I'm that old) and Cisco, which will be way overkill for what your after, so I can't recommend one, sorry :)
 
would it be worth getting the existing router in the rack, maybe with some kind pf mounting as its seems to be working really well for you as a router ? Disabling wifi and and getting the AP as well ? I only suggest this as you sound happy with its performance, would be very annoying to replace it for something that isnt as stable in some way just beause its rack mountable.
 

Zigourney

Active Member
yes the BT router itself has been stable and working fine, I did try leaving the router on the rack shelf last year when I first got the fibre installed and the signal was very much weaker from inside the rack, and that is why I ended up putting it on the top shelf of the closet rather than on a rack shelf.

But now the top half of the closet is quickly filling up with household bits and bobs, so I wanted to remove the router from the closet completely and install a rack mounted router with an AP in the landing. I could just install the AP and move the router back on the rack shelf I suppose and see how that works out - but thought if I was going to do that, I might as well get a rack mounted router.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Assume there is a separate modem?

I upgraded to a Mikrotik router from a Linksys LRT224 as I wasn't getting the throughput I needed.


There are various ones to suit most budgets depending on what you need.

They do have a nice web interface, however, they do also offer a command-line interface which can get pretty complicated pretty quickly. I went for the CCR1009-7G-1C-1S+ which is not cheap but is 10Gb. I did also look at the RB4011iGS+RM which is also 10Gb but there are a few limitations if you look at the block diagram of it.

Just trying to figure out how to get my Guest WiFi SSID from my UniFi AP to get properly through my VLAN on switch and to DHCP relay to my server ...
 

NinjaMonkeyUK

Well-known Member
I have a DrayTek 2860n in my rack with two Edimax external magnetic aerials that are stuck to the sides of the cabinet. The DrayTek's aerials were insufficient when using them inside the cabinet but with the Edimax aerials (that connect to the DrayTek via cable) I have absolutely no issues in my house now.
 

Zigourney

Active Member
Assume there is a separate modem?

I upgraded to a Mikrotik router from a Linksys LRT224 as I wasn't getting the throughput I needed.


There are various ones to suit most budgets depending on what you need.

They do have a nice web interface, however, they do also offer a command-line interface which can get pretty complicated pretty quickly. I went for the CCR1009-7G-1C-1S+ which is not cheap but is 10Gb. I did also look at the RB4011iGS+RM which is also 10Gb but there are a few limitations if you look at the block diagram of it.

Just trying to figure out how to get my Guest WiFi SSID from my UniFi AP to get properly through my VLAN on switch and to DHCP relay to my server ...
The BT FTTP service does come with a Huawei Fibre GPON terminal, small little box that's fixed to the wall behind my rack, the external fibre cable feeds into it and an Ethernet wire connects it to the BT supplied router. I've had a look at those Mikrotik routers, the Dude edition looks fairly priced and is silent too. I checked some youtube videos and the set up procedure looks long and complicated, the Draytek's look easier to setup and manage and the easiest ones are obviously Unifi gear. I had a think over the weekend and I'm leaning towards just going full Unifi now.

I've been researching the USG and USG Pro, and lots of people are saying basically its overdue an update and new models will probably be out soon. Anyone here own the USG and can comment on it? If the USG non pro model can handle 1gbps fibre speeds then I'm leaning towards that and pair it with a AC Pro access point.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Even though I already have two UniFi access points I discounted both the USG and USG Pro in my research.

As you say both are old and they had a change of direction of the really expensive version and dropped it completely.

If you enable deep packet inspection on either of them you may struggle to get a full throughput on a 1Gbps link. I didn't want that risk and there are too many inconsistent posts on their help forums. :(

I didn't look as much at the Draytek as it was creeping up in price and from memory I wanted one with a 10Gb port anyway.

Having lived with the Mikrotik router for nearly a month and a PoE switch I would say so far I am pleased. Yes there is a lot of configuration you can done and quite a lot of videos.

However to set the router is actually really simple and there is a wizard you can run. Most settings are already setup the only thing you might want to change is the ip address of your LAN.
 

Zigourney

Active Member
There are a lot of comments on the forums saying the same thing i.e. if you enable deep packet inspection or the the intrusion protection system then you cannot achieve the 1gbps line speed. Although nice to have, not essential for me in the home office. I currently don't have those features in the BT standard issue router, so I won't be missing anything. I also don't need a 10gbe port on the router as my 10gbe enabled nas is directly connected to the workstations 10gbe nic.

But just from reading comments the USG (non pro) version can happily do 1gbps routing and that's my minimum requirement along with it being rack mountable, which can easily be done via the 1u rackmount plate available on amazon. So total cost of outlay £275 (USG £118+ 1u adapter plate £26+ AC Pro £130) which is REALLY good value for money considering what you are getting vs. what a typical consumer router would cost.

Only thing AC Pro isn't wifi 6 :( would have been nice as i've got wifi 6 on my iphone, but other than that seems like a good proposition.
 
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ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Yep I need to go the 1Gbps otherwise I lose a quarter of the provided by VM as it really runs at around the 1.2Gbps. If you put it in modem only mode with a single cable you drop to 930Mbps ish.

Still good but I wanted to make sure that it could be used in the best way.

Actually looking at DPI it seems a bit limited now, but I did want more power from the router in my case. They also run really quietly too, not like some of the stuff you get :)
 

Markr123

Active Member
Another one for the Draytek 2860.
I personally never got on with the BT routers. Admittedly not used one since a HH5 for a v.short period. Often had to restart and didn’t handle all our devices well. I also didn’t have ability for me to have things like VPN back to the house etc. For years I used Draytek kit in SME business and home. Super reliable kit. Not a pretty web UI (perfectly functional, just looks a little dated). No need for any CLI stuff. X4 or more Ubiquiti AP’s take care of the WiFi and absolutely love the kit. Tempted by the USG Pro but like other have mentioned, I’m kind of holding out for an updated range.

Back to the Draytek, despite the slightly odd shape, they can be 1U rack mounted and the metal bracket can be found on eBay for ~£20. You can see mine mounted about half way down below the switches...
 

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Zigourney

Active Member
Another one for the Draytek 2860.
I personally never got on with the BT routers. Admittedly not used one since a HH5 for a v.short period. Often had to restart and didn’t handle all our devices well. I also didn’t have ability for me to have things like VPN back to the house etc. For years I used Draytek kit in SME business and home. Super reliable kit. Not a pretty web UI (perfectly functional, just looks a little dated). No need for any CLI stuff. X4 or more Ubiquiti AP’s take care of the WiFi and absolutely love the kit. Tempted by the USG Pro but like other have mentioned, I’m kind of holding out for an updated range.

Back to the Draytek, despite the slightly odd shape, they can be 1U rack mounted and the metal bracket can be found on eBay for ~£20. You can see mine mounted about half way down below the switches...
Nice looking rack! What lighting do you have in there, I want lol!

Yes I did look into the Drayteks too, nothing for or against it, I just thought might as well go all USG and keep it nice and simple, the power draw on the USG3 is also only just 7watts, but to be honest I aint fussed whether its 7 watts or 30watts, don't make a huge difference in annual running costs, but it did raise an eye brow when I read the specs.

I was considering the USG pro 4 at one point due to its extra horsepower but really there is no point in me spending twice as much for that in the interim on my current 300/50 service as I expect to move to the BT fibre 500mbps service expected this March and then eventually upgrade to the 1gbps some time next year and by that time there maybe a new USG launched and I'll probably upgrade to that if there is a need for it at the time since the USG3 is only just shy over £100 so I could just toss that on ebay and upgrade later down the line as and when required without losing much on it.
 

Puntoboy

Well-known Member
I've been using a Ubiquiti ER-X with my BT FTTP service for ever a year now. It works brilliantly. Whilst I was happy with the BT Home Hub 6 (like you), the ER-X is more flexible, I can set my own DNS servers for example and I have configured OpenVPN on the router. I'm using 3 UAP-AC-Lite WAPs and have the Controller installed as a Docker image on my Synology NAS. All sitting nicely in my wall cabinet.

The ER-X isn't rack mountable by default but it's so small I just left it in the bottom of the cabinet. There are people that make rack mounts for it though.
 

Markr123

Active Member
Nice looking rack! What lighting do you have in there, I want lol!

Yes I did look into the Drayteks too, nothing for or against it, I just thought might as well go all USG and keep it nice and simple, the power draw on the USG3 is also only just 7watts, but to be honest I aint fussed whether its 7 watts or 30watts, don't make a huge difference in annual running costs, but it did raise an eye brow when I read the specs.

I was considering the USG pro 4 at one point due to its extra horsepower but really there is no point in me spending twice as much for that in the interim on my current 300/50 service as I expect to move to the BT fibre 500mbps service expected this March and then eventually upgrade to the 1gbps some time next year and by that time there maybe a new USG launched and I'll probably upgrade to that if there is a need for it at the time since the USG3 is only just shy over £100 so I could just toss that on ebay and upgrade later down the line as and when required without losing much on it.

Thanks. I still have loads of Ethernet runs to do hence all the empty patch panels. Just used low cost RGB strip round the inside of the cabinet and then linked into Philips hue via a £30 zigbee controller from amazon.
 

Puntoboy

Well-known Member
Thanks. I still have loads of Ethernet runs to do hence all the empty patch panels. Just used low cost RGB strip round the inside of the cabinet and then linked into Philips hue via a £30 zigbee controller from amazon.
Which zigbee controller did you buy and would you recommend it? I have a few Wi-Fi ones that use the Cloud - kinda annoying last night when our internet when off for 5 hours and I couldn't turn off the bed lights.
 

Markr123

Active Member
I have about 3 of these...
PeakLead ZigBee LED Strip Light Controller, RGBW Color Changing Dimmer Switch for 12-24V Rope Light, Compatible with ZigBee Light Link ZLL, Philips Hue Bridge, Amazon Echo Plus, Lightify, SmartThing PeakLead ZigBee LED Strip Light Controller, RGBW Color Changing Dimmer Switch for 12-24V Rope Light, Compatible with ZigBee Light Link ZLL, Philips Hue Bridge, Amazon Echo Plus, Lightify, SmartThing: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

There are a bunch of rebadged version on amazon / eBay but they all seem to be the same / very similar device.

There are a few different flavours depending on the choice of LED strip type. Mine have all been reliable, paired with Hue very easily and reaction time to the app is as good as a native hue bulb.

If you are an iOS user then only thing for me was they are not directly exposed to HomeKit (like any non hue bulb) but solved with Homebridge.

Just to add, these do not rely on Cloud and talk directly to Hue bridge.
Ouch 5 hours without net connection and unable to turn lights off?!?! Wow, yep, I’d want to address that!
 

Zigourney

Active Member
I ordered the UAP-AC-HD and that arrived last night, unfortunately the USG-3 was out of stock from Amazon at the time of ordering, although it is availble from other market place sellers, I didnt want to order it from non amazon seller, so I kind of contradicted my own comments earlier and ordered the USG-PRO 4 today as I got impatient and wanted to set up everything before the weekend had ended. The USG-Pro will arrive by tomorrow evening. Hoping the set up process for the router is painless on BT FTTP - any tips are welcome.

I'm going to ceiling mount the AP in the morning ahead of the USG-Pro arriving in the evening. I did power the AP last night to have a quick play and boy is it fast, I was getting my full wired speeds 300d/50up on wifi pretty much in every room in the house with the AP sitting on the floor of the landing pointing upwards. I'm so glad that I went with the HD instead of the AP-Pro. The unifi controller software also looks and feels so polished, and due to that brief experiance with them both last night I wasn't hesitant at all to pull the trigger on the USG-Pro 4.
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
I have just upgraded my AC-Pro to an AC-HD. Not noticed that much difference yet but then again my house has thin walls but quite a lot of steelwork. Watch the signal distribution on the AC-HD as it is a bit different to the Pro.

If stuff connects at 5GHz then I can pretty good speeds. In the same room on an XS Max I get 650 ish or so but it drops back to 2.4GHz in some rooms which drops the speed quite a lot.

Did you play with any of the settings?

You are right the UniFi controller is certainly pretty but I found it more informative than actually useful which is a shame.

Still getting into the Mikrotik stuff which interface by comparison is not as pretty but can do a whole lot more :)
 

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