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uk.comp.home-networking (UK home networking) (uk.comp.home-networking) Discussion of all aspects of computer networking in the home, regardless of the platforms, software, topologies and protocols used. Examples of topics include recommendations for hardware or suppliers (e.g. NICs and cabling), protocols, servers, and specific network software. Advertising is not allowed.

Running Cables - Future Proofing



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 3rd 06, 05:15 PM posted to uk.tech.digital-tv,uk.comp.home-networking
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Default Running Cables - Future Proofing

Jane T wrote:

On the other hand, if you're too cheap for that, you can make do
with less fancy solutions. This is mine:

http://www.saunalahti.fi/znark/kotiverkko/

The location is a clothes closet. I've replaced the 10 Mbps hub with
a 100 Mbps switch after taking that picture. There's also a headless
PC server in that closet, on a separate shelf, but it's not visible
in those pictures. There are 8 Ethernet outlets in the house. (Or 16
connectors, since each outlet box has two of them.)


Without wanting to sound ignorant to which I am.

What does your system actually do?


It's basically just a 100 Mbps Ethernet home network. There is a 100
Mbps Ethernet switch which connects the Ethernet/RJ-45 outlets to each
other, and makes the network tick. There is an ADSL modem/router for
Internet connectivity. For convenience, there is also a headless PC
server located in the same closet, as mentioned above.

The PC sits in-between the ADSL router and the home network, and acts as
an advanced firewall. It is also responsible for sharing the Internet
connection to the other computers. In addition to this, it runs various
other services for the whole family - including a personal web server
(with lots of room for posting files), spam filtering, shell accounts,
ssh/scp/sftp server, etc. At one point in time, it also had a DVB-T
tuner card. (This was for receiving digital tv broadcasts and streaming
them over the home network. The broadcasts could be watched on a
modified Xbox game console, or on any of the PCs.) In the past, it has
run some VoIP services for the family, and lately I've been toying with
the idea of installing some webcams and ZoneMinder on it. (See
http://www.zoneminder.com/.)

(It's an old 233 MHz Pentium II, by the way. Wouldn't do much good as a
generic-purpose desktop machine, but is quite sufficient for the
above-mentioned uses. A headless Linux server simply doesn't need all
that much multimedia oomph, and as all administration is done remotely
over the network from the other PCs, it doesn't even have a GUI
installed.)

* * *

The PC-in-the-closet naturally isn't a _necessary_ component in this
setup. Mere ADSL router would suffice for rudimentary firewalling and
for sharing the Internet connection to the home network. An always-on PC
server is, however, a nice complement to the system because it allows
running some fairly interesting advanced services for the benefit of the
home network - and its users.

The server wouldn't have to be located in the closet, either. But
placing it in there - together with the rest of the gear - takes it out
of sight and no-one needs to sleep in the same room with a whirring PC.

* * *

You might want to take a look in he

http://www.ratemynetworkdiagram.com/?s=9

It's a site on which people can post diagrams of their home network
setups. Studying them might give some ideas.

To see more diagrams, keep clicking on the "skip this image" link on the
left sidebar, below the picture.

* * *

Since this has now drifted quite off-topic for "uk.tech.digital-tv", I'm
cross-posting a copy of this message to "uk.comp.home-networking" and
setting the "Followup-To" header to that group.

--
znark

  #2  
Old September 6th 06, 11:35 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
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Default Running Cables - Future Proofing


* * *

You might want to take a look in he

http://www.ratemynetworkdiagram.com/?s=9

It's a site on which people can post diagrams of their home network
setups. Studying them might give some ideas.


Hi, thanks for your time helping me understand. Bare with me.



I have looked at all the links you have sent and it appears we are still
along way off my ideal system.



I like the Sonos equipment, but until this equipment can also receive TV and
act like a mini computer playing games, streaming music and movies and
viewing pictures etc, its probably best I wait.



I know I could put something together today with PCs but I just don't have
the time, I don't want a computer in every room to act as a receiver with
its noisy fan and I don't want to navigate through early versions of
software which will be regularly superseded.



As I understand it, my ideal system will have CAT6 in all rooms which will
come back to the network hub. Connected to this hub will be an ADSL
broadband router, a number of NAS's which will hold the multimedia files and
also act as backup, some sort of IP telecom box of which I don't quite
understand yet, a slingbox, IP Camera feeds and a media centre. Connected
to the media centre until they become obsolete and dependant upon how many
inputs, are CD player, DVD player, Sky +, and a couple of Sky Boxes (which
should allow me to watch up to three different TV channels) (I'm not in a
good area for TV through an aerial), the media centre or maybe the receiver
will also be expected to be a computer to do such things as web access,
email etc, viewing pictures, playing games and streaming broadband TV and
radio and music and video files. Any of my computers could be connected to
the network either by cable or wirelessly if in the garden. Also a wireless
portable receiver similar to a portable hi-fi ,with small LCD could be used
around the garden. Is there anything I have missed here?



In each room would be a TV, a media receiver with its own built in amplifier
with speaker output , wired speakers and keypad and in some rooms there
would be a telephone. The media receiver would be like an old amplifier but
instead of turning a knob to select the input you would either select the
input from a keypad or remote control via a TV. Presumably we could just
have wi-fi speakers that act as a receiver but eventually we will come up
with the quality of the amp, speakers and media centre question when
selecting the equipment to purchase.



I don't have any current requirement for CAT6 cabling or nothing to justify
the cost. Think I'll just make sure I have decent cabling runs throughout
the house for when I need it and just run basic coaxial cable for the time
being to feed TV into each room. I might consider running some speaker wire
and fitting speakers in rooms where I want speakers, eg in the ceiling.



Oh, and all want all this for under 100.



Cheers.


  #3  
Old September 7th 06, 12:26 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
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Posts: n/a
Default Running Cables - Future Proofing

Jane T wrote:

I like the Sonos equipment, but until this equipment can also receive
TV and act like a mini computer playing games, streaming music and
movies and viewing pictures etc, its probably best I wait.

I know I could put something together today with PCs but I just don't
have the time, I don't want a computer in every room to act as a
receiver with its noisy fan and I don't want to navigate through
early versions of software which will be regularly superseded.


There is a number of digital media receivers on the market, but I
haven't sampled them and their capabilities, so I can't recommend you
anything specific. See, for example,

http://images.google.com/images?q=digital+media+receiver

Since I'm into tinkering with things, I'd rather go with a Linux-based
(Mini-ITX?) HTPC, or a Linux-based modified game console (such as an
Xbox with a mod chip), or a Linux-based DVB receiver (such as the
Dreambox), myself. All these would technically allow doing what you
want, and they either don't have a fan in the first place, or could be
built fanless (or equipped with a low-noise fan), if so desired.
However, installing and configuring the desired software on these kind
of open-ended systems (whose development is mostly hobbyist-driven and
may have a few rough spots here and there) will take more than just a
couple of mouse clicks, so a certain amount of determination, tinkering
spirit, and technical prowess would be required. If you're not into that
kind of thing, perhaps the "black box" style solutions are better for
your intended use.

As I understand it, my ideal system will have CAT6 in all rooms which
will come back to the network hub.


The cables coming from the rooms should preferably be terminated into a
patch panel (which is just a panel with lots of "RJ-45" connectors in a
row.) This makes the house cabling system "fixed" and rigid in
comparison to the other, more variable and changing parts of the home
network: the stiff CAT6 cables will stay in their place for their whole
length, from end to end, and are not unnecessarily touched or bent or
tucked, or moved in any other ways any longer after their installation.

You then connect the ports on the patch panel and the ports of a hub
(rather: a switch) with short RJ-45 patch cables.

There's a technical difference between a "hub" and a "switch". See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethernet_hub
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_switch

Hubs are mostly considered obsolete these days and switches are used in
their place.

Connected to this hub will be an ADSL broadband router, a number of
NAS's which will hold the multimedia files and also act as backup,
some sort of IP telecom box of which I don't quite understand yet,


Hmm. I don't, either. What do you mean by that? Are you referring to
some sort of VoIP gateway that would allow using analogue phones as SIP
(VoIP) telephones? Or, perhaps, SIP phones themselves, such as
GrandStream BudgeTone?

a slingbox, IP Camera feeds and a media centre. Connected to the media
centre until they become obsolete and dependant upon how many inputs,
are CD player, DVD player, Sky +, and a couple of Sky Boxes (which
should allow me to watch up to three different TV channels) (I'm not
in a good area for TV through an aerial),


I'm not a sat expert so I can't help you much there. Despite all great
things home networking can offer, I assume that the easiest and most
flexible setup here would be just getting a sat receiver for each tv and
using traditional coax cabling to the locations where each tv set will
be used. (Sat signal distribution from a single dish to multiple
receivers may place some specific requirements to the cables, LNBs and
whatnot, though. Or so I've heard.)

It is, of course, _technically_ possible to equip a PC (perhaps a
headless server running in a closet hidden from view, as in my setup)
with several DVB-S cards, stream the desired channels to the home
network, and watch them in the rooms (with some sort of networked
digital media receiver or the other receiving and decoding the stream in
each room.) But I'm not sure if it is reasonable to expect implementing
this kind of system in any other way than with a Linux server in the
backend.

If you intend doing the same with a Slingbox (or three), well, that
might work. The signal quality might not be up to the original broadcast
with that method, though.

the media centre or maybe the receiver will also be expected to be a
computer to do such things as web access, email etc, viewing pictures,
playing games and streaming broadband TV and radio and music and video
files.


These all can be done today - with Linux-based openly developed systems,
at least. The question then just becomes how much of your time can you
sacrifice for setting it all up to your liking. (Specific "media pc"
running Windows Media Center Edition might be a contender, too, but I'm
fairly sure those are crippled with DRM, geared towards Microsoft media
formats only, and have all other sorts of nasty restrictions that the
comparable Linux offerings such as MythTV and VDR just don't have - at
least for the stuff I'd like to do - so I'm probably not going jump on
that bandwagon myself.)

Any of my computers could be connected to the network either by cable
or wirelessly if in the garden.


In that case, you will need to add a WLAN ("Wi-Fi") router/gateway to
your setup. And find a suitable location for it so that the signal can
be "seen" in all places where you want wireless connectivity. (Some ADSL
modems/routers come with a built-in WLAN gateway, but the best location
for an ADSL modem is not necessarily the most optimal location for a
WLAN gateway, and vice versa.)

Also a wireless portable receiver similar to a portable
hi-fi ,with small LCD could be used around the garden.


Are there separate devices like that? Sounds like a job for a laptop or
a tablet pc to me.

In each room would be a TV, a media receiver with its own built in
amplifier with speaker output , wired speakers and keypad and in some
rooms there would be a telephone. The media receiver would be like
an old amplifier but instead of turning a knob to select the input
you would either select the input from a keypad or remote control via
a TV. Presumably we could just have wi-fi speakers that act as a
receiver but eventually we will come up with the quality of the amp,
speakers and media centre question when selecting the equipment to
purchase.


This looks all fine and dandy to me. I'm just afraid that if you're
seeking for a turn-key solution for streaming sat channels over home
network, and if watching them should be just as easy and with the same
picture quality as you would get with traditional sat boxes, there's
probably no such thing. Either it's going to be some black box solution
with limitations, or a complicated Linux setup that has everything and a
kitchen sink but is not too trivial to set up.

I don't have any current requirement for CAT6 cabling or nothing to
justify the cost. Think I'll just make sure I have decent cabling
runs throughout the house for when I need it and just run basic
coaxial cable for the time being to feed TV into each room.


If you don't need all that just yet, that sounds like a good plan. It
might also be a good idea to pull in some sort of string or rope through
the unused electric conduits (already when constructing them of bits and
pieces, I mean), so the actual cables can be easily pulled in the
conduit later, if need be. Watch out for too tight bends - these might
prevent you from pulling in a stiff twisted-pair cable later.

If your home building project includes digging a cable ditch on the lot
(from your house to the side of the street or road, for phone and
electric cables from the utility companies), it might be a good idea to
lay a length of unused electric conduit in there, too. Broadband via
fiber is getting more common - around here, even some rural areas are
using fiber-to-house connections now - so it's better to be prepared
than sorry. Empty PVC pipe is a cheap future-proofing "insurance".

Oh, and all want all this for under 100.


That might be a problem. Grin

--
znark

  #4  
Old September 11th 06, 10:03 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Jane T
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Posts: 3
Default Running Cables - Future Proofing


If you don't need all that just yet, that sounds like a good plan. It
might also be a good idea to pull in some sort of string or rope through
the unused electric conduits (already when constructing them of bits and
pieces, I mean), so the actual cables can be easily pulled in the conduit
later, if need be. Watch out for too tight bends - these might prevent you
from pulling in a stiff twisted-pair cable later.

If your home building project includes digging a cable ditch on the lot
(from your house to the side of the street or road, for phone and electric
cables from the utility companies), it might be a good idea to lay a
length of unused electric conduit in there, too. Broadband via fiber is
getting more common - around here, even some rural areas are using
fiber-to-house connections now - so it's better to be prepared than sorry.
Empty PVC pipe is a cheap future-proofing "insurance".

Oh, and all want all this for under 100.


That might be a problem. Grin


Thanks for your help. Having done my research, I am going to postpone this
little project for at least a year. I have limited time I can spend on the
project and I think the industry will be a lot further forward in a years
time. I shall continue to monitor this newsgroup with interest.


 




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