Important Terms:


  • Full LittleBird - SmartHome, Smart Access, and Smart Community, with network cable running to each SmartHome panel

  • WAN - Wide Area Network, or more clearly defined, the ISP

  • IDS - Intrusion Detection System

  • IDP - Intrusion Detection/Prevention system

  • Network Mapping - A full network map showing Uplinks/Downlinks for routers, switches and clients

  • Static IP - Recommended but not required

  • MDU - Multi-Dwelling Unit, or “Apartment Complex”



LittleBird Network Recommendations


ISP Recommendations


SmartAccess ONLY / Full LittleBird under 25 units:


  • Static IP

  • 25 download / 3 upload speeds minimum


Full LittleBird under 100 units:


  • Static IP

  • 50 download / 10 upload speeds minimum


Full LittleBird over 100 units:


  • Static IP

  • 100 download / 20 upload speeds  minimum


Hardware


Basic recommendations/capabilities for hardware


  • Full suite of network hardware:

    • Router

    • 8, 16, 24, 48 port switches with PoE options (Multi-port fiber switch option, managed in same infrastructure)

    • WiFi 6 capable AP’s

    • Cellular failover option


  • Router:

    • IDS/IDP capable (recommended, but not required)

    • Line-Level throughput (up to a gig) with IDS/IDP enabled


Software


Basic recommendations/capabilities


  • Network Mapping capabilities

  • Remote monitoring/management capabilities

  • Roles/permissions

  • Notifications of outages/disconnections


Brand recommendations


  • Ubiquiti Unifi

  • Meraki Go

  • SnapAV Araknis

  • TP-Link Omada

  • Mikrotik w/ ISPApp


Overview


A good LittleBird network has 3 specific needs: simple, redundant, and robust. LittleBird hardware is not overly traffic intensive, but uptime is of significant importance as it relates to hardware, especially Smart Home and video intercom devices.  LittleBird is using this white paper to share with their channel partners how to best utilize available networking technologies, to support networks, to be all of the above, and more, while remaining incredibly easy for you to manage. 


Recommendations and capabilities


The recommendations we’ve made above are not requirements. LittleBird has, in the past, used other brands not listed here, but we’ve found that the above are easier to manage. The listed/recommended brands have many  “nice-to-have” features.   These features will only benefit the other divisions of your company (cameras, audio, visual, and more) and help them become more reliable and more responsive. 

The brand recommendations listed above, except for Ubiquiti, do not have the complete list of recommendations and capabilities that we post here, but they have a majority, and therefore, make the list.


A note on hardware


Most of the recommended brands above have a multi-port fiber switch, the exceptions being Meraki Go and Araknis. We note this capability, as fiber is a common element in Full LittleBird installations for Garden-Style MDU’s, which can cover large areas, and fiber is needed. Stacking multiple expensive switches is not cost effective, so it's something to keep in mind when selecting a vendor.


A note on redundancy


The list above, save for Ubiquiti, Meraki, and Mikrotik, do not have a cellular failover device, but have routers with failover capabilities. This is fairly common in the industry, and we recommend Cradlepoint as an alternative for cellular failover. Once set up, a Cradlepoint router can be plugged into a secondary WAN connection, and the system will handle failover itself. We always recommend for both Smart Access and Full LittleBird to have a cellular failover in place to maintain connectivity for Video Intercom and to be able to continuously sync codes and new residents to the devices in the event of an extended ISP outage.


Why ‘Full LittleBird’?


Most sites will look at the infrastructure costs to put a Full Littlebird site in, and will usually go the other direction. We wanted to note some of the cost-saving measures to help you understand and explain the benefits to “Full LittleBird”. 


Per-Unit savings


The LittleBird SmartHome controller is (at the time of writing) about $40 more expensive than the cellular option.  As this is a per-unit requirement, that cost can add up and offset the infrastructure costs.


Single-point cellular failover

A single point of cellular failover (i.e., paying a single cellular monthly bill for the failover device) versus the additional cost of the monthly cellular on each panel causes a significant change in monthly expenditure.  

Reliability


The industry you are in knows the reliability of a physical connection over wireless. Cellular failover can have many interference points, and as such, the physical network and connection to that, along with a normalized internet connection makes for a significantly more reliable connection for residential hardware. This means less truck rolls, less warranty costs, and more remote troubleshooting capabilities.