USW Flex Mini… tiny beast!

Ramblings of an IT Guy in Education

USW Flex Mini… tiny beast!

April 20, 2020 Infrastructure Reviews Ubiquiti 10

Ubiquiti recently released their USW Flex Mini, the little sister to the USW Flex. This one doesn’t have pass-through POE nor is it outdoor rated… although it is still amazing.

The first thing you need to grasp is the size of the mini… it is Mini in name but when you finally open the box you can’t help but be blown away by how small it is. It has USB-C for power or eth1 can be used to power the Min via POE-In. After that, it is almost the same as any other switch in your Controller. You can control things like port VLAN, switching, mirrored or aggregate, link speed, port isolation, storm control and enable egress rate limit.

All of that in a switch that has a smaller footprint than my wife’s iPhone 7, granted it is slightly thicker.

USW Flex Mini: https://store.ui.com/collections/unifi-network-routing-switching/products/usw-flex-mini

Datasheet: http://dl.ui.com/ds/usw-flex-mini_ds.pdf

With POE In, 10/100/1000 and capable of handling 5 Gbps total non-blocking throughput means it has the guts to handle all 5 ports running at 1 Gbps. And due to its tiny size, it can easily be mounted in tight spaces, such as on the back of your smart TV.

It also has a tiny amount of power needed, Willie Howe posted on Instagram that he had a Flex Mini connected to a Flir 4000mAh power pack and it ran for 24 hours. https://www.instagram.com/p/B-s8PTIguVR/

You can see here how little power it is pulling to run.

Now I don’t have a network cable running to my TV. So, for the most part, I keep my media gear on WiFi.

Then last week 3 things happened.

  1. I received a USW-Flex-Mini from UI… thanks.
  2. I had a spare UAP-SHD resting on my desk.
  3. And due to COVID-19, I was stuck at home without much to do.

A prefect storm of ‘Let’s do something silly.’

I decided to set up a wireless bridge and link it to the USW-Flex-Mini and then connect my media gear to the Mini so that I could have them on wired instead of wireless.

It’s funny how our minds work some times. I wanted the Flex Mini to sit flush against the cupboard, but having the USB-C cable coming out of the back would have ruined that. So I did what all IT people with a Sunday afternoon to kill would do. I connected the UAP SHD to a POE injector to give it power, from then I used the Secondary port on my SHD to connect to the Flex Mini. However I didn’t want to use the power cable, so the Secondary port on the SHD connected to a LAN port on another POE injector LAN port, then the POE Injectors POE port to eth1 on the Flex Mini… remember the Flex Mini can be powered by a POE in port.

So with both devices now getting power I jumped on my UniFi controller and adopted the UAP-SHD, and once that was adopted the USW-Flex-Mini was visible for adoption and away I went. My network how had a wireless link to the USW-Flex-Mini at 1.3 Gbps.

I know… I need more cable management, but another example of its size here. The USW Flex Mini looks tiny next to an Apple TV!

And after this, I knew that it needed some testing, so the family spent 4+ hours watching Netflix and Disney+ pushing data through it. And it didn’t miss a beat, and after going off to work my wife and kids still used the network at home and didn’t get a single “Hey the AppleTV won’t work!” text message from them, so I guess its working fine.

What is the point of this? Not much… my wireless with 2x UAP-M and a UAP-HD and UAP-SHD already running there I have rock-solid wireless at home, using a wireless bridge to get 3 devices off the wireless isn’t really a huge benefit. Though being a networking guy and someone who loves playing around with networking gear, having overly complicated and pretty cool home wireless is something that is just fun!

 

10 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    You should pull your positive review of this product. I received my Flex Mini yesterday. I am on controller version 5.12.76 and the most recent firmware that is suppose to be stable.

    After Adoption the Controller wanted to Downgrade to 1.6.3.574 after down grading the switch worked for 10 minutes. when I went to move it into its production environment, it did not comeback. it is just looping in the controller Adopting to adoption failed with the Ip address 192.168.1.20. My network is using a class A address.

    This switch is not ready for the general public that doesn’t want to be beta testers and just needs it to work. I paid $38 with shipping to have a really light paper weight.

    • Dave Nichols says:

      That sucks.

      Though my switch is working well. It has been going for days and days (doing a Youtube Review on it soon). And friends I know that also have one has it working well. Have you reached out to Ubiquiti about your issue? And have you used the reset switch and adopt again?

      Also you are running 5.12.76, 5.12.72 is the current stable and I can’t even find mention of 5.12.76 on their website. Maybe try changing your controller.

    • Msp says:

      You are wrong when you say that, this device does “Agregation”. It not does that.

  2. Iain says:

    I know it doesn’t help your situation personally Mike but I’ve got two of these working perfectly with both being managed by a UDM pro.

    I suspect this is likely an issue with the unit you have been sent out like Dave suggests, a controller mismatch?

    The only thing I miss with these is a lack of spanning tree support but other than that, great little devices.

  3. Jesse B says:

    Have you tested that port mirroring works on this device? All I can find is that Unifi supports it but can’t find it specifically listed as a feature. If you could confirm that would be GREAT!

    • Dave Nichols says:

      Yes… if you go to the switch in your controller under device. Select the Ports icon “middle one”… select the edit symbol for the port. You then need to select ‘Profile Override.’

      • Jesse Booth says:

        Thats great news thanks! I am looking for a managed switch to have a network sensor on for Corelight/Zeek.

  4. Victor says:

    What POE injectors did you use? Will the Flex mini pull in the appropriate power it needs?

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