RIP to my 8-port Unified Switch after years of Texas outdoor temps – Ars Technica

Zoom in / Just before my original US-8-150W was replaced. Don’t judge my zip-tie mounting job—it took eight years!

Lee Hutchinson

This morning, I’d like to get a piece of truly awesome gear that did everything I asked without complaint and died before its time: my Unifi 8-port POE switch, model US-8-150W. Farewell, my love, change. You are real, and lightning took you from us too soon.

I picked up this switch back in January 2016, intensifying my quest to replace my shaky home Wi-Fi with something a little more enterprise-y. All in all, the results were positive (you can read about how that search turned out right here , which includes more reflection on the effects—good and bad—of going overboard on home networking), and this little 8-port switch proved to be the main performer of the design I settled on.

Happier Times - Out of the box when the old US-8-150W was new.  Notice those two SFP slots on the right.
Zoom in / Happier Times – Out of the box when the old US-8-150W was new. Notice those two SFP slots on the right.

Why? Well, it’s a good enough device—802.3af/at and Ubiquiti’s 24-volt passive PoE option made it universally compatible with anything I wanted to connect it to. But the main feature is the two SFP slots, which technically make this a 10-port switch. I have a detached garage and wanted to connect some PoE-powered security cameras to a wireless access point. A simple solution would have been to run Ethernet between the house and the garage, but it’s not really a simple solution—running Ethernet underground between the two buildings. Electricity problem If it’s not done by professionals with professional tools, I’m certainly not a professional. A couple of estimates from local companies said that trenching between my house and garage would cost several hundred dollars, more than I wanted to spend.

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But optical fiber has none of the electrical problems that copper does, and it works better between buildings. All it took to wire up my garage were some cheap gigabit SFP transceivers (I’m sure I’ve used them. These are right here), 40 meters Aqua-clad multimode fiber, and a $75 appointment with a contractor to run the fiber. Then I had to load the switch and, boom, the garage was officially part of the network.

The back of the switch mounted beam.  This also shows the fiber run into the garage.
Zoom in / The back of the switch mounted beam. This also shows the fiber run into the garage.

Lee Hutchinson

The reason this switch warrants a front-page write-up is because it handled a ridiculous amount of heat-related abuse. During summer, which lasts 10 months a year in Houston, garage temperatures can exceed 120°F (about 50°C) for 10 or 12 hours, and the US-8-150W’s CPU temperature sensor spends most of its operational life at 70°–80°C. read between °C. That little switch ate that temperature every day, without complaint Almost eight years.

It is very good, in my opinion. In fact, if lightning hadn’t struck near my house two months ago, the switch would still be in place, happily doing its thing. The strike caused several problems – one of those problems was chasing the switch’s brain.

And even after the strike, change I will not die yet. Two ports stopped working completely, and two ports no longer produce PoE, but the US-8-150W soldiered on for another month while I hunted for a replacement.

In the end, the only thing I could find to replace the US-8-150W ended up being another US-8-150W—so it now hangs in my garage, in the same place as its predecessor. Kudos to Ubiquiti for making this tank—no matter what else the company has done, for better or worse, the US-8-150W turns out to be one hell of a ride. Here’s the US-8-150W I’m replacing it with. If you get another eight years out of this, it will be money completely spent.

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