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Planning an HTPC/home network PT 1

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I have been planning a new home theater system/network and would like some advice. As I've spent time researching products and systems, its become clear that there are many different setups and at times I feel like I don't even know what I don't know. I don't plan on getting this all done in one fell swoop, as my monthly budget doesn't allow for a ton of discretionary spending...rather, it will be done in phases.

Here is what I envision the final product looking like and being able to perform.

A) Wired internet access to each room. I already have coaxial outlets in each room but not all are hot at the moment.

B) Sufficient Wifi Coverage for the house

C) A central storage system to hold my collection of TV shows, DVDs and BluRays, and music library.

D) The capability to stream the video and audio to various output devices throughout the house.

I currently have a very basic setup with Time Warner. Heres a rough diagram of my house with the wiring and the location of coaxial outlets.

Here is the list of rooms in the diagram, the devices I am using, and what I'd like to upgrade to:

Room 1)
current: coaxial hooked to wireless router, only ethernet plug-in.
future plan: wall mounted TV with cable access, desktop computer using TV as its monitor, stereo system. (primary location for playing music)

Room 2)
current: TV using time warner cable box
future plan: New TV/cable box, PS3, stereo system

Room 3)
current: desktop computer(needs upgraded), coax outlet.
future plan: new desktop, TV with cable access

Room 4)
current: TV with cable access (no cable box)
future plan: TV with cable access, device for streaming video from network.

Room 5)
same as above.

In order to keep this thread (as)simple(as possible), I'll focus on the first thing I would like to get planned and accomplished, the network. I have a basic idea of what I need to do, but like I said I have no experience doing this. If you see that I am attacking a problem from the wrong angle or missing something critical, please let me know.

The plan is to first redo the coaxial network, with the main cable line into the house going into my office (instead of the outdoor box). From that point, the cables would disperse to 5 outlets (eventually will add more). Here is what I was envisioning:

This location would also be where I attach the network hub, and run cat5 cables to each of the outlets around the house. Lastly, I would keep my wireless router in this room. Here is what I am imagining the network layout looking like:

Is this a good overall plan for laying down a functional network that will be able to handle the usage I am planning for the future?

Any tips and suggestions are appreciated, thanks!
post #2 of 2
Looks good and you are attacking it the correct way. The optimal results would have your coax and cat lines all coming from one source instead of splitting at multiple locations. I have slowly been wiring the bedrooms upstairs with cat6 (actually finished one room last weekend). Here is what my setup is at home:

Basement (Utility Closet):

- Cable Modem
- Wireless Linksys Router
- 8 Port HP Procurve gigE Switch
- Main Coax source, with 2 8 way splitters (one being an Amp)

The cable modem connects to my main coax line, then out to the splitter. The cable modem also connects to one port on the Router.

The router is connected to one of the ports on the Switch

Cat6 run throughout the house is connected to the Switch


- 26TB Media Server (Windows Home Server) serving up all my media, connected to the network via cat6

Throughout the house:

- Cat6 network connections in most rooms (unfortunately I can't run cat6 directly for every room to the Utility closet so for a couple of rooms there is a switch and cat6 is run from there)
- 2 Wireless Access Points set up in various locations to help expand wireless coverage (used mainly for tablet viewing with iPad or EeePad)
- Dedicated Media players (Dunes, PCH, HTPCs, etc...) located in each room, connected via cat6
- Sonos system set up throughout the house for music playback

If it an ever evolving process, so definitely take your time, but you definitely are on the right path and doing it correctly trying to plan out first.

Also, since you mentioned networking was your main concern, it is worth mentioning that only a few years ago I had never done any sort of wiring in my life except plugging a cord into a power outlet It can be a bit intimidating, but there were a lot of resources available online and in the forums, and now running cables is a breeze (mostly due to my ninja like reflexes when moving around in the attic!)
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