Keeping "future proof" in mind, would you guys recommend I run CAT6? or CAT6a? Again, the main purpose is BR rip streaming, but it would also be nice to have the speed when transferring files across the network. Theoretically I could even do CAT5e, but I would ideally like to do this once, due to how uncomfortable it is going to be up in the attic.
And it's starting to get coooooold in NY
I'd 2nd this, there is little in the way of extra price especially if you buy it all at once (monoprice). Not much worse than running cables through the attic and down walls just to have to do it again if you change or increase your setup or components.
Future proofing. You never know when you may need an extra drop. You simply run the extra cable. You don't even have to connect it to anything. It's there when you need it. The cost should be negligible as you already plan to run 1 wire to each location.
Getting the cables into the attic is not the hard part (I don't think), it's getting it down the walls from inside the attic. My attic has a truss system which makes crawling around up there very difficult.
Right now I will have 3 switches connected:
wire to office pc wire to 8 port switch1
port 1-5 = all going up to attic. port 6 going downstairs to switch2
wire1 from attic to switch3 in living room for: switch2 for: xbox2, receiver, tv, htpc, ps3
xbox, wdtv smp, BR player, receiver
wire 2-4 all going to other rooms (for later hookups)
The pic above might work, but it's not optimal. First ...
- you run the best wire you can afford ... Cat6a or Cat6e (it will be there for 10-20 years).
- You install the real SOLID WIRE cable from the spool (inside walls), and terminate with Punch-Down Tool with jacks rated to match cable.
- I suggest a real Cat-6 Patch-Panel in wiring closet on main-floor
- At least 2-3 runs into each room. Optimally, each device has it's own wire but can share a bit if all devices aren't used at once.
- If PC is FileServer (or whatever is NAS), it should be connected directly to that main Gigabit Switch-1 (router becomes only for slower Internet traffic).
Edit: Really doubt those pre-made patch cords are in-wall-rated ... but doesn't really matter because you are not suppose to run them in walls. Patch-cords only go from the wall socket to machine and are usually pretty short.
A house should be done pretty much like a small business. I just skimmed this, but looks about right:
Since the main switch, modem, router, UPS, etc are usually in the same room as Patch-Panel, I usually use air-conditioned space. If his setup above is too industrial for your closet or utility room, there are some wall-boxes used for residential structure wiring. Maybe you have seen them now-days at HomeDepot or Lowes?
For the downstairs setup, I could get away with running 5 lines down there. I was going to do the same as the LR and put a switch behind the tv stand.
Do you think it will really make a difference?
Each location (LR and downstairs) has about 5 networked devices. 2 xboxes, ps3, wdtv, receiver, BR players, 2 htpcs, and extra cables for future devices.
The other question is, do you think it will make a difference where the file server/pc is on the network. I drew up 3 different ways I could place the file server on the network. In the pic below.
btw, thanks so much for all the great advice.
I would not recommend spending extra on a managed switch unless the need was clear. Most residential network use cases don't really require those features, or the user would not see a noticeable improvement with them. The simplicity of an un-managed switch is a benefit in itself.
Not if you care more about your media then anything. There are people that epically freak out if they have the slightest buffering. Make no compromises if you're serious.
That plan will work just fine. If you have a gigabit router with enough ports, you might get buy without Switch #1 initially, until you start using the spare runs.
This is better. You want to be able to access (high bit-rate) files and low-ping-game from both rooms at once. Think of Switch-1 as the main back-bone Gigabit switch. It handles all traffic. All rooms terminate there (wiring closet). At least 2 or more runs to Living room, Downstairs, or any room.
Your runs are likely fairly short, so PC-NAS-FileServer could physically be in any room as long it's directly connected to Switch-1 with dedicated wire.
Everything I said in above posts about physical wiring still applies.
Managed switch would be nice (if you can afford it) but for residential, this is fine I think: