Homelab Setup: Networking
This is the second series of posts where I provide a view into my homelab. In the first post covered the servers that I have and what I have running on them.
In this post, I’ll cover the networking side of the homelab.
Back when I used to host my e-mail and websites, including the Wait Wait Stats Page, at home off of my DSL connection, everything went through a Cisco PIX 501 firewall. After moving all of my public-facing stuff on to cloud-hosted systems, I eventually went back to using consumer-grade router/firewalls, including an Apple Airport Extreme.
Eventually, the Airport Extreme just couldn’t quite handle things under heavier loads. So, I picked up a Netgate SG3100 firewall, since, I wanted to use pfSense and it was a turnkey solution.
NetGear and ProCurve Unmanaged Switches
My wired networking needs are very basic where I just need a bunch of Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect my servers, network-attached storage (NAS), laptops and other devices.
As such, I have a 24-port Netgear unmanaged switch that acts as my main switch. That uplinks to the LAN side of the Netgate SG3100 and all of my servers and NAS plugged in. I have an 8-port ProCurve switch that I use for the A/V stack and I have a 5-port Netgear switch on my desk for my Thunderbolt dock.
All 3 of the switches have a metal chassis to help dissipate heat and tend to be more reliable, in the long run, than cheaper switches encased in plastic.
I don’t have a need for Power over Ethernet or faster connectivity at the moment at the moment. For the former, I could use power injectors for 1-2 devices; but, faster connectivity is something that I probably need sooner rather than later.
Apple Airport Extreme
Even though the Apple Airport Extreme struggled under load acting as both a router and a wireless access point, it is still perfectly serviceable running in wireless access point mode. I don’t have any current need for Wi-Fi 6 or 6E speeds or device capacity at this time.
If I need faster connectivity for my laptops, I’ll plug it into an open switch port via a USB or Thunderbolt dock or dongle.
That said, I know it is getting a bit long in the tooth and will have to replace it in the near future. I haven’t decided on what I’ll replace it with yet.