Late last year I replaced my core network switch with a 24 port Ubiquiti Unifi (US-24-250W) managed switch. The Unifi switch was offered on E-bay at an attractive price. It fit into our existing Unifi cloud-key managed Wi-Fi arrangement, so I splurged.
In general, the Unifi switch was a good upgrade. It let me make greater use of POE. It made Wiresharking SIP traffic more convenient.
Alas, I stumbled upon an issue that I had not expected. It was noisy. The noise was the result of a pair of cooling fans.
I knew that this had been an issue for some people. I did not expect it to be worse than the aged and failing fans in the old Netgear switch. In fact, it would not have been so bad were it not for the rack where my network core lives.
This rack is built into the end of a closet in my office. The back of the rack is open and accessible via the closet in the bathroom. The gear fits nicely between two studs in the short wall beside the bathroom door.
At the time I built this I thought it novel. It places the rack mounted gear into otherwise unused space. It attempts to keep the noisy bits separate from my workspace.
Unfortunately, the Unifi switch Gen 1 has fans that are along the side of the chassis. When mounted in my rack there’s very little space right where the vents are located. This causes the unit to get warm, so the fans ramp up to full speed. It never misbehaved, but it was as noisy as it could be.
I had seen a YouTube video where someone who appeared to know their stuff has replaced the fans with quieter models from Noctua. I even bought a pair of these thinking I would refit the Gen 1 switch. When it was apparent that this would not overcome the problem with physical location in my rack, I gave up on that idea.
So, when I saw that Ubiquiti was now offering a fanless Unifi 24 Gen 2 switch, I didn’t hesitate to order one. I installed it over the weekend. It’s exactly what I wanted. Fast. Managed. Blissfully silent.
The gen 2 model is easily identified by a series of horizontal vents across the top of the face. Also, the LCD touch screen where the power button had been on the older model. The chassis vents front and back.
There are a few other differences worth noting. The old switch was POE+ on all ports, up to the 250 watts available. The Gen 2 model is POE+ on just 16 of the 24 ports.
Finally, using the SFP ports on the Gen 2 model does not disable Ethernet ports 23 & 24, which was previously the case.
Despite trepidations foretold by others, adopting the new switching into our Unifi installation went quickly and without issue. After a minor firmware update I was able to swap it into service in my office.
Finally, I removed the old switch from the Unifi installation, effectively factory resetting it. That will make it easy to install when its found a new home. The plan is to resell it on Ebay.
The next step in the evolution of our network is to add a second, identical switch in the house, to be connected by a fiber run. However, that awaits some decisions about minor renovations that may impact the location of the network items in the house.
Today, everything involved in our network core is dead silent. The ambient noise profile in my office had fallen, consisting of just the absolutely essential Fujitsu Halcyon mini-split air conditioner and the ceiling fan.