Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Random Musings #5

I’ve been extremely busy lately. You might have noticed the somewhat reduced number of posts on this blog. I’ve had many things going on at work, and also others at home. Hopefully there’ll be some return to “normalcy” from this point onward.

The return to normalcy should also mean more regular blog posts. I’ve got quite a backlog of items. Some are product reviews I’m kind of “owing”, and then there are many items I’ve bought on my own which I’d like to write about.

Those many new things I’ve gotten on my own are about smart home, WFH-setups, and home appliances. One of the big changes in my smart home is that the Z-Wave ecosystem I ventured into many years ago is now largely replaced.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a single successor to Z-Wave. Instead, I ended up with is a bunch of ecosystems, which is honestly quite a mess. They are very loosely tied together by Google Home, which while not ideal, does still bring some saneness to the whole smart home system.

I’ve a few random things I want to mention. First, it is about electricity prices. I signed up for wholesale electricity plan with SP Services some time in 2019. It was pretty good then. I wrote back in October 2020 how well it worked for me, after over a year.

It was expected that the good thing that wholesale electricity had going would become less attractive in coming years. Indeed, from early this year, things started to turn around. Average wholesale prices have gone up steadily.

Today, if you ask me for a recommendation, I cannot say that the wholesale electricity plan is great. Some people have messaged me to ask, and that’s the take I have now of the situation. I’ve not studied the reseller plans recently, but I suspect what they can offer will not be meaningfully worse than wholesale electricity. I need to remind myself to evaluate switching out too.

The next thing is about Wi-Fi. I gave some serious thought to Ubiquiti’s Unifi line of access points. I’ve been using MikroTik for some years, and I’m getting a bit disappointed about their seeming lack of drive to adopt new technology and standards. There’s no Wi-Fi 6, there’s no WPA3, there’s no MU-MIMO, and there’s no quad-stream support.

For those who asked, well, I eventually decided to continue using MikroTik. I’ve been “piloting” their controlled access point for some time, albeit with just one remote access point. Now, I’ve kind of gone in deeper, getting several of their newer (but basic) access points, and running them in controlled access point mode. They seem to work great, and I’ll be sure to write about them.

There’s probably nothing very wrong with Ubiquiti. It’s just that they are more costly. I thought, with the same amount of money, I can get more MikroTik access points. It’s better to have more access points for better coverage, than to have the fastest Wi-Fi standards which often cannot be fully utilised by most client devices anyway.

I want to give a quick shout out to Ubiquiti for their free online Wi-Fi design tool. Upload a floor plan of your home, mark out the various walls, and let the tool help you plan where best to position your access points. Although it is meant to be used with Ubiquiti products, you can still use the tool to provide a rough guide even if you plan to use some other brand of products.

I’ll sign-off on these random musings here, and expect to bring you a new post in about a week.

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