I have been using Ubiquiti UniFi gear as my home networking equipment for a few years now, but have recently become pretty frustrated at the quality of the releases and pace of development by Ubiquiti – and I am not the only one, their forums and Reddit are filled with complaints.
The UniFi USG seems pretty much dead to Ubiquiti, and their new shiny thing is the UniFi Dream Machine (a few more years of shoddy software updates? No thanks). No new features have been released for the USG in years, bugs are not resolved, and certain features do not work at all. Hell, you can’t even get statistics over a specific date range, despite numerous requests for this basic feature! The quality of updates for all equipment leaves a lot to be desired, with many reports of people having to roll back updates. So enough with Ubiquiti.
A new era
To replace these two ancient relics, I needed something beefy that can make the most of a 1Gbps Beanfield fibre line (is 2Gbps coming Beanfield…?) and can maximise througput over a VPN connection, as I am planning to move my Transmission to use multiple load-balanced WireGuard connections…
I would have got the i7-7500U, but it was out of stock at Qotom, so I went for the i5-7200U model with 8GB RAM and a 64GB SSD, more than enough for OPNsense). You can buy these devices on AliExpress for varying amounts, depending on RAM and SSD sizing. Even after paying shipping and duty, it was way cheaper than Amazon (no surprise there).
After a bit of work to set up with a fresh install on OPNsense, the pic on the right is the result of the telecoms cabinet in my condo – which is messy because of all the ISP cabling from Rogers (hell no), Bell (hard pass), Fibrestream (minor issues) & Beanfield (back there now). The Qotom attaches nicely with the provided mounting plate, and only pulls about 15W in power.
The resulting network, with only one piece of UniFi gear left, is shown in the diagram below. One thing that I have done since installing the Qotom MiniPC is to connect my Ubuntu server with both NICs using LACP link aggregation, effectively providing a 2Gbps, fault tolerant connection between the Qotom and the server.
In theory this means I can max out my 1Gbps internet connection while simultaneously watching 4K media from my media server. What’s better, a single lane highway or a two-lane highway with double the speed limit? 😀