Recently I moved and need to rethink my rack and network solution. Previously my server and the main switch lived in my IKEA Oppli TV-Bench, which was already showing its age.

I used a Mikrotik CSS326-24G-2S+RM which is a very capable switch for the price, but unfortunaly don’t have PoE (For 120€ also a little too much asked).

(At the time) my only PoE device was my Ubiquiti Unifi AP AC Pro which I powered via the included injector. Not an ideal solution, but it worked. As my hardware only stayed in one room, this was enough.

My old Oppli solution

In the new flat I don’t have only one room which need network, but four. My landlord has installed a single network socket in every room - two would havee been nice, but its better than nothing.

So, I need a small switch in the office and living room. Because I hate small power supplies and more cables, I’ve searched for small switches, which can be powered over ethernet. My CSS326 can be powered via passive poe, but a 24 Port switch with 2 SFP+ uplinks is a little bit overkill for a few consoles/media players in the living room and two computers in the office.

Ubiquiti has two interesting switches in its portfolio - the USW Flex Mini and the USW Flex

USW Flex Mini

  • very cheap. 23€ here in germany
  • VLAN-aware (with limitations)
  • PoE-powered

USW Flex

  • not so cheap (~100€)
  • VLAN-aware
  • PoE-powered (with passthrough!)
  • suitable for outdoor use

The latter point is not so important for me, but the PoE-passthrough is very interesting. I often play around at my desk with access points, so the pass-through is very useful to me.

For the Core I choosed the Mikrotik CRS328-24P-4S+RM. It ticked all my boxes (PoE, 24 Ports and SFP+ Uplinks) and I was already familiar with SwOS, so no big change for me.

I’ve also replaced the two stock fans with four Noctua NF-A4x20 to silence the switch down.

New fans installed

So the network side was sorted out, now the only thing missing is a rack to house the hardware.

The idea of a Lack Rack was alwas appearing for me, as several friends already built one. So I decided to built one too. Because the required material is so cheap, it is not a big loss if it does not meet my requirements. Especially if the LACK table is already present.

Because I have 2 heavy servers, I reinforced the hollow legs with 44x44mm square timber. The end pieces can be easily cut out with a jigsaw, just drill a hole in the middle, saw a cross from it and break out the 4 pieces.

Build in progress

With a Lackrack you cannot use your normal server rails. In my oppli solution the server rested on the oppli itself, which is not possible with the lackrack, unless I flip it over. So I got 2 aluminium profiles from the DIY-Store (“Baumarkt”) and screwed these in. Nice side effect: This also add more stability to the desk rack itself.

The aluminium profiles in action

Front view. Cables mostly managed
Sideview. I also added a PDU for devices I can't directly plug into the ups
Another sideview. Also (blurry) Cat tax.