Home Network Overhaul - Where To Start

I’ve recently started with the Complete Cyber Security Course but have been looking into upgrading my home network setup for a while now. Searching the internet for more information on “secure home network” just leads to a bombardment of sponsored content and affiliate links.

My current setup is as basic as it gets (Modem/Router/Wireless/Switch) combo provided by my ISP. My current ISP doesn’t allow me to put the provided modem in bridge mode. (Even if they allowed it, wouldn’t it be just as easy for them to take it out of bridge mode if they decided so?).

This is where the search for a new “Vanilla” modem begins. In this use case, I require the modem to do just one thing. But almost all current modems have a whole bunch of functions. Putting it in full bridge mode is an option but wouldn’t this hurt security in a way since the options are still there they just have to be turned on? I mean what isn’t there cant be used against you. Are there still some plain 1 function modems out there or are these a thing of the past?

The second thing I’d like to do is get a new router. Buying a new expensive router and then flashing pfSense over it seems like a waste, and buying a Netgate router pre-install with pfSense is too expensive. so I looked into buying a Mini PC such as the QOTOM-Q190G4 to do this job. Am I right in thinking that this mini pc would function as both my firewall and router once i install pfSense on it or would it require me to purchase a different hardware firewall? (If there are any other suggestions on what to use as a pfSense router, please tell me).

I do plan on installing a few wireless access points across the house that can be used to connect to the wireless guest network. Are there compatibility issues that I should know off?

And last. Would a switch still have any security benefits in this setup? (If so, what kind of switch would you suggest since there are hundreds of options to choose from.

The total budget for this project is around €500. No problem in spending it all but I would like to get the most out of my buck. If any other setup pops up in your head that’s achievable with this budget, let me know!

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First you should look at volume 2 of the course. We cover home network security there.

For pfsense at home I recommend https://store.netgate.com/pfSense/SG-1100.aspx We have one of these at a home office.

You may still need a modem depending on what sort of connection you have to the Internet and your ISP.

Managed switches can give you an extra layer of security yes through isolation and VLANs.

Hello Nathan, I am currently studying volume 2 of the course. Hence my Questions.

Thanks for answering my question on switches and the Pfsense router/firewall combo.

I’ve made a decision on the router. still looking for the switch part.

Almost everyone tells me it’s best to separate my modem from my router and not buy a combo. Could you answer the question I asked in the quoted part above?