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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody I have been lurking around on this forum for a few days gathering information. I have to say that this is a great place to get information about anything "media" related!


I have to be honest and say that I am about two months away from being able to start buying the parts for this project. Right now I am in the information gathering stage.


What makes this build "unusual" is the fact that I want this server to house all of my media, as well all of my brother in laws media. Let me explain. We live about 500-700 feet apart (in houses) and we both want a central place where we can store all of our dvd collections, music and family pictures.


So far the only two things that we have talked about is the comparison between building a custom server or buying a good hard drive enclosurement that can house multiple SATA 3.0 drives and building a pc to link it. The second is the networking aspect. Can we link our two houes together wirelessly via wireless n? Or do we need to run cable?


Now a little bit more about what the requirement is for this. The server will need to be able to withstand constant read/write access. I want it to be able to support three tv's streaming from it as well as somebody ripping a DVD to it at the same time. We both use xbmc for our front ends.


On the networking part, I wanted to ask someone if the new wireless n would be capable of holding up.


This is a start of our journey and would like others to give us their input.


Thanks,

Adam
 

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Your houses are too far from each other. Forget about 802.11n. Heck, I can't even think how you'd be able to do it by wire without going fibre-optic.


For sharing family pictures, you might be better off subscribing to one of those online storage services (centralized storage and off-site backup).


No comment on the dvd collection sharing part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/14210324


Your houses are too far from each other. Forget about 802.11n. Heck, I can't even think how you'd be able to do it by wire without going fibre-optic.


For sharing family pictures, you might be better off subscribing to one of those online storage services (centralized storage and off-site backup).


No comment on the dvd collection sharing part.


You don't think if we had the server directly connected to a gigabyte switch at my house then a gigabyte switch at his house it would work?


Funny you should say fiber because we both have at&t's uverse which is fiber like verizon fios.


I also have been looking at the HP (Hewlett-Packard) MediaSmart Server EX475.


Any thoughts?


Adam
 

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The problem lies in the fact that CAT cabling ends around 300 feet for a single run, without getting into repeaters and such. You are too far apart for that. Yes, you could hook "your" server into your gigabit, which is connected to the Internet via your AT&T connection, and then your brother is hooked up similarly on the other end, but you would be taking a very round about and SLOW method of connecting to each other. I'd be surprised if your upload speeds are more than 2mbps, and that's not enough.


My creative thinking side tells me that you'll be better off with a bit of creativity.


1. Measure, how far you can go with a 300' cable run from where your server is going to be inside the house/garage (I'd recommend garage), and in a straight line towards your brothers house (line of sight). Make sure you count the length, if you have to up/down/sideways to get the cable outside.


2. Mark that spot.


3. Repeat the same exercise from your brother's house, and see how far a 300' cable will run from his switch. Mark that spot.


At this point you'll probably have 2 spots in each of your lawns where these cables end.


4. Get two sturdy outdoor enclosures that are weatherproof.


5. Run a power cable (outdoor type, shielded), and your CAT 6 (outdoor type, shielded) cable from your house into your enclosure and put a gigabit switch in there.


6. Repeat the same from your brother's end and put a gigabit switch in his enclosure.


7. Run a CAT6 cable between the two outdoor switches.


voila, shared gigabit between the two houses.


Now, this being said, this is of course "clunky" but workable. Fibre would be your best bet and elegant, but it's very difficult to work with and you'd need media converters on both ends, as well as run an underground conduit to protect the fibre cable (or get armored cables, but they get real expensive, real fast).


Something to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone /forum/post/14210959


The problem lies in the fact that CAT cabling ends around 300 feet for a single run, without getting into repeaters and such. You are too far apart for that. Yes, you could hook "your" server into your gigabit, which is connected to the Internet via your AT&T connection, and then your brother is hooked up similarly on the other end, but you would be taking a very round about and SLOW method of connecting to each other. I'd be surprised if your upload speeds are more than 2mbps, and that's not enough.


My creative thinking side tells me that you'll be better off with a bit of creativity.


1. Measure, how far you can go with a 300' cable run from where your server is going to be inside the house/garage (I'd recommend garage), and in a straight line towards your brothers house (line of sight). Make sure you count the length, if you have to up/down/sideways to get the cable outside.


2. Mark that spot.


3. Repeat the same exercise from your brother's house, and see how far a 300' cable will run from his switch. Mark that spot.


At this point you'll probably have 2 spots in each of your lawns where these cables end.


4. Get two sturdy outdoor enclosures that are weatherproof.


5. Run a power cable (outdoor type, shielded), and your CAT 6 (outdoor type, shielded) cable from your house into your enclosure and put a gigabit switch in there.


6. Repeat the same from your brother's end and put a gigabit switch in his enclosure.


7. Run a CAT6 cable between the two outdoor switches.


voila, shared gigabit between the two houses.


Now, this being said, this is of course "clunky" but workable. Fibre would be your best bet and elegant, but it's very difficult to work with and you'd need media converters on both ends, as well as run an underground conduit to protect the fibre cable (or get armored cables, but they get real expensive, real fast).


Something to think about.


wow that is very creative and it could be a viable solution for us. We both live in a (unfortunately) HOA and our houses are separated by two other houses. But fortunately our houses back up to a pasture so technically I may can either talk with my neighbors to see if we can do this(bury it in their yard ) or talk with my HOA and see if I can bury it along the back of our fences. I do not know what the law is for burying cable on land that is not yours. But I am assuming I would need to get permission.
 

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Stringing copper outdoors is a very bad idea. Not just because it's almost impossible to find burial grade cat6, and the distance, but also you have lightning protection issues to deal with.


If you can get a physical path, use fiberoptic cable. it's cheap, and you can drive it from between 2 gigabit ethernet switches with GBIC's for fiber uplink. With these distances even the lowest power optics will work just fine.


If you can't string fiber, taking a pair of 802.11N (300 Mbps) routers with high gain antennas pointing at each other (line of sight) should net you more than enough bandwidth to stream multiple HD streams from a common server.


Ether way will be much better than stringing copper.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by putnum /forum/post/14211064


wow that is very creative and it could be a viable solution for us. We both live in a (unfortunately) HOA and our houses are separated by two other houses. But fortunately our houses back up to a pasture so technically I may can either talk with my neighbors to see if we can do this(bury it in their yard ) or talk with my HOA and see if I can bury it along the back of our fences. I do not know what the law is for burying cable on land that is not yours. But I am assuming I would need to get permission.

The law says that if you don't own the land, you can't do jack **** to it.
Unless your neighbours agree (maybe offer them access as well??
), you might be dead in the water. You CANNOT bury cable on easements and state/federal property. They just won't allow it.


Another option might be two microwave towers, facing each other.
Expensive, but an option. But your HOA may not allow you to put up towers on your houses as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I might look into what Mike is saying about the 802.11N with high gain attennaes. Thats what my brother in law and I were looking at the other night. I just was concerned about weather and if bad thunderstorms would knock it out etc.... Gotta love the HOA'S!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by putnum /forum/post/14211190


I might look into what Mike is saying about the 802.11N with high gain attennaes. Thats what my brother in law and I were looking at the other night. I just was concerned about weather and if bad thunderstorms would knock it out etc.... Gotta love the HOA'S!!

You can get outdoor antennas with lightning arrestors. They should be safe to use, and low profile if you have line of sight. You could even run one link 2.4 and the other at 5.8 and stripe across them...


You just need to pick the right 802.11n gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM /forum/post/14211244


You can get outdoor antennas with lightning arrestors. They should be safe to use, and low profile if you have line of sight. You could even run one link 2.4 and the other at 5.8 and stripe across them...


You just need to pick the right 802.11n gear.


Mike do you recommend any good 802.11N gear? I do have line of sight to his house.


As far as the comment about the site to site. I do not want to pay a monthly fee for this.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by putnum /forum/post/14211260


Mike do you recommend any good 802.11N gear? I do have line of sight to his house.


As far as the comment about the site to site. I do not want to pay a monthly fee for this.



what you can do is get a Buffalo or a netgear 802.11n and build your own 12db omi-directional antenna on both houses point directly at each since you have a direct line of sight. When you build a the antenna make sure you router is in the attic or on the highest position in the house because with a long cable run to the antenna you will loss db. If you google on how to build antenna there are lots design for it.


Best of luck
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by putnum /forum/post/14211260


As far as the comment about the site to site. I do not want to pay a monthly fee for this.

I thought as much but I figured I would mention it. You may want to do some searching for "Wireless Point-to-Point". Here is a unit to give you an idea of what you are searching: http://radiolabs.com/products/wirele...int-bridge.php


This unit is only B/G rated though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So would this be able to handle what I am wanting(the constant disk read/writes) MediaSmart Server EX475?
 

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Remember how we used to wish for the ability to sync our home and office computers in the good old days (4 or 5 yrs ago), when there were no such things as removable HDDs or thumb drives and we used floppys and windows desktop briefcase?


You are obviously on good terms with your inlaws and know what you want to accomplish, so how about this?


Install a large (750 GB or 1 TB) media drive in each PC and clone them so they are exactly the same (both have all your existing media). Then add 2 removable USB or Firewire HDDs to the mix (1 on each PC). Each family will add new media only to the removable drive and copy it to the media storage drive on their PC (this can be set up as default behavior and/or automated).


Daily/weekly/whatever exchange removable drives and copy the inlaw's media to your internal media HDD. This way, you will have 100% offsite backup of your media (each of you will have the same files on your respective media drives) and no hassles with wires (or not), who is administrator, who owns the server, where it resides, bandwidth (I don't think you will get what you want with n - especially over 600ft), etc. etc.


Not nearly as much fun as the project that you envisage, and certainly a bit stone age by comparison, but simple, easily workable, reliable and far cheaper.


Just a thought from "inside an old box".


BB
 
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