The Central Server
I have one central server that runs the lifeblood of the cabin. It handles all of the most critical networking items. It servers a number of roles, and being a raspberry pi 3b, in this case, uses very little energy.
First off, it runs my weather software that updates the website. It utilizes weewx to communicate with the weather equipment. I have also written custom software (blog post to come) to make it communicate with my charge controller allowing me to track it from anywhere in the world.
It also runs OpenVPN, and sets up some reverse shell pipes into my private server that is on the public internet. This allows me to get into the cabin network from anywhere in the world and access the servers. This also allows me to monitor security cameras and other such items from remote.
This tiny little thing also provides me a secure DNS server through pihole. The satellite company likes to steal your DNS server and reroute it to theirs for ‘bandwidth savings’. But in reality, they don’t block ads and such, so it costs me much more data. So I run a pihole server on this same raspberry pi as well to not waste my data on advertisements.
This is all set to reboot once a day just as a safety, so even if I am away I can communicate with the cabin. During the winter it would stay up for months at a time allowing me to check in.
And the Server for Fun
Then we have to have entertainment as well. Again, to save power, we turn to the raspberry pi, but in this case a version 4. It uses a bit more power, but is a lot more powerful and can handle transcoding of video much better than a 3.
So I run a Plex server on this, with a 5TB USB hard drive on it with all of our different media. We can play this on our phones, cast it to our car stereo we use as a stereo (an android unit that also runs 12v), or use our XGIMI Halo Plex client to directly watch movies.
The Server to Keep An Eye on Things
Finally, we have a server that links all of our security cameras together, and provides us a web interface to view them remotely. It will do motion detection, and we get a lot of great pictures of the wildlife, such as this moose using our bridge to cross the river.
Further, when we are away, it lets us know the snow conditions, and what is happening up at the cabin before we get there. This becomes important in the winter when we spend time away, so we know when we need to schedule a trip to shovel off the roof and such.
It also just gives us peace of mind in knowing that everything is OK, or if I am in a really long meeting and need a break staring at the mountains virtually.
It is a fanless windows PC running windows 10, and only draws about 5-10w of power. It does a great job with 4 cameras and the blue iris software.