/ Technology

Running Commercial Grade Networking Equipment in your Home

Most of the days we go about our business in our homes doing the normal day to day tasks of life. Weather it's that simple task of paying bills to the entertainment we use online.

Over the years, I have had a number of issues with the branded "Cisco" or "Netgear" routers and access points (WiFi) devices that were designed for the home and not really a business to give me the basic of connectivity to go online. Every two years or so, they would just die or quit working reliably. Sure I could have gotten the "2 year replacement" plan they offer, but the would always die after 2 years, so it would not be covered at the time. A waste of money.

A while back I completed 3 webinar/demos with Cisco Meraki at one of my jobs where afterwards you would get a commercial grade piece of networking equipment for the webinar you finished. This was great. I did complete each category of their webinar getting a single router, switch, and access point with a 3 year license of each.

The models I got were:

So what does this have to do with my home? A lot of things. All the devices are cloud based management which means you can change settings as long as you have an internet connection to your dashboard.

The "Router"

The router has some clear benefits for home use.

The logs show that it can reach online and if it does stop, it will stop communicating with the dashboard (which is in the cloud) and you can give the ISP detailed time information on when the internet was out. This will help with troubleshooting if it is a constant problem. ISP only see up to your modem and most of the time these devices do not keep when they lost connection. They usually have to look further downstream to find where the issue is located.

For those with kids, the normal basic routers like Netgear and Cisco do not have content filtering, or if they do, they are not a commercial grade. You could use the Cisco Meraki's contenting filtering settings to prevent them from visiting pages you would otherwise not want them to find. But what about you? You can whitelist yourself and your device so it doesn't get blocked.

The Switch

Have "devices" that are not wireless and you want them shut off a certain time? Plug them into the switch and set a port time. That XBOX or Playstation won't be able to get internet connecting if the ports are turned off late at night. A lot more options, but you get the idea.

The Wifi/AP

You can setup your wireless networks to also shut off at different time. With this basic one that I got, you can setup 8 different wireless networks. In this case one for the adults and one for the kids which will shut off at night. Again, with all the security features throughout the devices, content filtering can be turned on. You can setup a guest wifi system easier in yur home for those doing Airbnb and even make sure that your Airbnb guests are not using your Wifi/Internet for illegal purposes.

So the typical cost for all three devices if you were getting this yourself is just under $1000 but as you will have them for a very long time, the cost of ownership over 3 years or more will be less than buying two basic Netgear or Cisco routers that promise to do the same thing over the next four years with some added and positive benefits of a high grade commercial system.

Overall, I am very happy that I setup this system in my apartment and will not have to worry about my system "going down" for a long time.



Shane is the founder and author of 'the rabbit hole'. By day, Shane is a System and Network Engineer living and working in the NYC area. Free time includes movies, escaping to the non-tech world.

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