Home Networking

For most of my life, I've lived in a small enough apartment that a single wireless router was enough for my needs. But after moving into my current apartment which has thick concrete walls, and a weird enough shape that the signal didn't happily reach all of the areas, it became clear that I would need to step it up.

I took it pretty far, and now I have a complicated enough networking setup to be worth documenting, partly because it's interesting, but mostly so next time something breaks I have something to go back to.

We start near the door with the networking cabinet. This sounds grand, but it's basically just a little metal box above the fusebox where the fibre enters the house. It also has ethernet wiring to the living room, office and bedroom which are terminated here. This is a really nice feature of the apartment, if I ever own a house I will definitely wire it nicely like this.

In here I have the fibre modem / router - a MikroTik RB760iGS hEX S. This has RouterOS which is fairly capable for the needs of the house, and enough ethernet ports for the room-level wiring. At this point I have gigabit internet to all of the ethernet ports in the house, and routing.

In the living room I have a small switch (A TPLink TL-SG105) attached to the ethernet port, and the first wireless access-point (a Netgear WAC124). I don't recommend this access point, or Netgear equipment in general, but it provides fast wifi to the living room, bedroom and balcony. The switch also gives me some more ethernet ports, so I can wire the home entertainment system, which was nice when I was playing on Google Stadia (rest in peace) for a while.

The home office has a lot of computers, including my NAS so I needed a big switch to distribute the ethernet - I use a D-Link DGS-1016E. This is connected to my trusty old Linksys WRT54GL that I flashed with openWRT and use as the second wireless access-point. I'm currently looking for replacements for this WAP, as the WRT54GL is a little bit long in the tooth, and the slow wifi speeds have caused some jank in video conferencing lately.

All of the other computers are wired into the switch, including a little Raspberry Pi running a PiHole.

Between the two access points, there is a good signal anywhere in the house. But not in the basement, which in typical Swiss style is fashioned more like a nuclear bunker. I had resigned myself to going offline when I'm down there, until a chance comment from my friend Tom prompted me to investigate running ethernet-over-power down there. Remarkably this works well, so I have a little ethernet to power unit (a TP-Link TL-PA4010) in the networking cabinet, and another down in the basement, which I connected to the final switch of the network (a DLink DGS-105), which allows network access to the 3D printers, a final wireless access-point (DLink DAP-2020), and some old computers.