Network setup for Idiots - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-22-2013, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey networking wizards,
I'm not very educated when it comes to setting up a network. Pretty much an idiot.
I've been searching around quite a bit to try to figure things out, but have not found any simple answers.
We are building a new home, and I would like to run cat6 throughout the house. Also I would like to be able to use something like WDTV in four rooms that access content in a 5th room(study).
How do I go about setting this up properly? Do I have to run more than one cat6 to some of these rooms? As you can see...clueless.
If you could give me the idiot proof network diagram/guide, post your network configuration, or point me in the right direction (I'm sure it's been covered a lot somewhere) I would GREATLY appreciate it. I'm supposed to meet with the wiring guys in about a week.
THANKS!
jason
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-22-2013, 04:25 PM
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I threw together a rough, and I mean rough, diagram of what I'm doing downstairs. Basically "The Internet", shown as the cloud, comes into the house at my utility closet. That closet holds the DSL Modem (fastest service I can get in my area), the router (Asus N16 with DD-WRT firmware), a 24 port patch panel, a Gigabit switch, and a file server (Running unRAID). From this closet I have dragged multiple runs of CAT6 cable around the house. I went with CAT6 instead of CAT5e because it wasn't that much more expensive.

I terminate (ie connect) all the runs into a fully labeled patch panel using a punch tool. From the panel I connect to either the switch or the router for connectivity. Since everything is centralized, all the devices on the network will see each other (given the proper settings). So my file server containing all my movies, music and pictures can be accessed by all my networked devices (ie, laptop, computer, XBMC custom built box, Marantz receiver...or in your case your WD box).

I'm not a network guy by trade but I do build computers and mess with different operating systems daily, so this project was one of the easier ones that I'm doing in the basement.

1000 feet of CAT6 was around 160ish, the 24port punch panel was 30ish, and then add in all the termination points within your rooms. I used CAT6 punch style keystones throughout the house for termination within the rooms. The modem and file server where purchased/built a couple of years ago.


I think it's past time to upgrade my equipment and my room.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-22-2013, 04:41 PM
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I am still planning on how to wire my own home but here are some things I think might help you. Hope this makes sense to you.

One thing to remember is to have a single routing area preferably by where your external internet connection is to put the other ends of the network cables to from each room/location. This can be thought of as a "star" network topology as each distant end point goes to a central location and then out to the appropriate location. A patch panel (endpoint from each distant location cable to go into) is a nice way to go for this location and mark each connection and have patch cables (normal network cables) going from this to your primary switch/router of your network. This central area is where you would place network attached storage (NAS) and any other central device for the network to utilize.

You might want to run two cables (min) to every location for redundancy in case a cable fails or you increase the amount of connections in the room and do not want to add a switch. Make sure none of your cables exceed 300ft in length to any one location.

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post #4 of 6 Old 05-22-2013, 04:46 PM
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Hi Jason,

Here is my opinion, others may disagree. I'm as good an idiot as the next guy . . .

Select a place for a wiring closet. This is where you would run all of your Cat6 wires. Make sure it's big enough for your main network switch, and it is also a good place for your file storage (although that is not necessary). I have my wireless access-point and my NAS in that closet. The closet locks, so if ever the house was broken into, my data is pretty secure. The closet should be central to minimize the amount of wire needed, and for better wireless signal strength. PoE devices can then be powered from the closet.

You only need one run to each room, although for a big room, you might want multiple runs to have access on opposite walls. If you need multiple devices in a room, you just need an additional small network switch for $25. There is no easy way to predict how many devices you might need at any particular location, so the switches give you that flexibility.

Get gigabit switches, but be prepared to upgrade to 10-gigabit ten years down the road. For that reason, you should use Cat6a cabling. Some people will say I'm nuts (which I won't deny), but I was also told I was nuts when I said to be prepared for gigabit. The future is not always your friend.

Do not run any telephone wires - run your network cables to any phone locations instead, and run them to the same wiring-closet. If you go land-line, cat6 works fine for phones. But by having the same wiring, you can run IP phones over your Ethernet instead of dedicated phone wiring. I'm currently converting my phone system to an Asterisk VOIP system running over my network. Also, I don't have any cable-TV cable, as I also run my TVs over the Ethernet. Everything is going Internet-protocol at my house.

EDIT:
While I was typing, B0gus and Herushan both posted. We all seem to agree about the closet, but Herushan makes a good point about the redundant cables. Also, make sure you test the cabling before sealing everything in sheet-rock, although cables can still be damaged as the sheet-rock goes up.
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-22-2013, 05:02 PM
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You will need a central area where everything plugs in together. We bought a house in 2004 that had everyting, including telephone,
cable, satelite and ethernet coming into a box in our laundry room.

It is on OnQue (brand) system. There are problems with it but I think that was that contracter that did the wiring's fault. Each room should have the ability to connect.

In the box I use a router that is conneceted to a switch to handle all the rooms. Cable/Sat are available in several rooms. Telephone available in each room. Make sure they give you a big enough box for all the wires, swithces and router you may need in the future. Ours in way too small and that in itself causes problems. Check out other brands and compare OnQue to them. I am not a pro, only giving you my experience. Hire a pro to figure out the networking.

Best
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-22-2013, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the excellent replies! You guys are awesome. I really appreciate all of the information. It confirms a lot of what I was thinking, but I was totally unsure and I would hate to have my house wired up wrong when the sheetrock went up. Doh! That would totally suck.

Please, do not hesitate to add any other suggestions if you think of them.

THANKS, guys
jason
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