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Building a new home

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gravitywell

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Location
Cumberland, MD
My wife and I are looking into getting out of this apartment, and into a home. We've found some used homes as well as new homes in communities in our price range.

We're currently leaning towards a particular complex, which is starting a new building phase to be completed a few months prior to our apartment lease termination date (perfect timing).

We've spoken to the community director and realtor, we're highly interested. We get to customize the house (to certain extents) and home networking came up in conversation.

I have a meeting scheduled with the builder to discuss how many rooms I want wired, where the central location should be, and what equipment I'm going to purchase...

I know the basics of the little Linksys routers, but what am I looking at here? The house isn't going to be huge, I'm thinking 6 cat-5 jacks total.

Should I just get a Linksys and run the wires through the walls to that? Or is there something a bit...more substantial I can look at?

And, before I end this, should I look at hardware firewalls? Or is this all complete overkill?

I've searched over google relativly unsuccessfully. I simply want this done right, the first time. I don't want shoddy equipment in my new home.

Any help would be fantastic :)
 

hkgonra

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2001
Location
West TN.
I would get all the small rooms wired with at least one jack and the larger rooms with two jacks. You need to decide where you want your broadband coming in and then I would put a patch panel in a closet in that room.
 

9mmCensor

Disabled
Joined
Oct 23, 2003
Location
Banned Camp
Allways add more jacks then you think you will need. It will suck if you (in the future) have to add another jack and have to go drilling holes and spend hours running cable through ducts. Get a good switch too.
 

Deathknight

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2002
Location
Chicago
What you probably want to do is have cat5e run to all the rooms. I am not sure that builders really use cat5 that much anymore, considering the small price difference. My builder used cat5e for my telephone lines as well, which is nice.

Typically what they will do is homerun all the wiring to 1 place in your house. Cable TV, telephone and networking (usually the basement but I could see doing it elsewhere).

My main advice would be to run the stuff to the same place your cable comes in if you think its even a remote possibility that you will be using a cable modem. It will just make life easier for you if you can run your cable modem to your router all in the same spot.

Also when adding jacks I think its a good idea to run cat5e to wherever your home theatre/stereo whatever is if you are into that sort of thing. The future (and the now) of home entertainment is going to revolve around a converged device (pc & digital music or digital video). Sharing shows between pvrs is cool, as is playing digital music on your stereo in the family room that a device is pulling off a fileserver in the basement. Also it would be cool to store home movies, slideshows etc on a pc and watch it on your couch.

Ahh just remembered one thing to watch for. A friend of mine's builder ran cat5 for him to a bunch of rooms. For some reason the builder put rj-11 connectors on all of these (which is for telephones) instead of rj-45. You shouldn't have to worry about this stuff, but evidently you do!

As for a firewall well thats personal preference. I would recommend a hardware firewall. Sounds like you are going to be running more than just a couple of machines?
 

Deathknight

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2002
Location
Chicago
9mmCensor said:
Allways add more jacks then you think you will need. It will suck if you (in the future) have to add another jack and have to go drilling holes and spend hours running cable through ducts.

Nod. Not sure why I let my wife talk me out of adding more jacks than I did. Talk to any contractor that runs wiring and their rates for an existing house are probably 2.5x or more than the cost was when the house was being built. Its just no fun running wire through walls :(
 
OP
G

gravitywell

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Location
Cumberland, MD
Thank you for your words of advice. We have two huge walk-in-closets in our bedroom (house is one floor, no basement). I'm thinking because of my average clothing selection, I'll sacrifice some of that space for the equipment.

First bonus question...what's a patch panel? I was searching online and found www.greyfox.com are these the types of panels you were talking about?

Currently, I personally own three desktops, my wife owns a desktop and a laptop. (Yes, we have to differentiate who owns which machines...so I can't touch hers, lol). I doubt I would be using all of them at the same time, but as was mentioned above, who knows what I would use it for in the near future.



Does anyone have any recommendations for the patch panel? Brand? And what about the Firewall? Are there particular brands to use or stay away from?
 
OP
G

gravitywell

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Location
Cumberland, MD
I quickly looked over the greyfox.com site...I'm rather impressed, everything seems straight forward...except pricing, lol.

Are their products just glorified versions of something else? Or is this a good option for my home electronics?
 

9mmCensor

Disabled
Joined
Oct 23, 2003
Location
Banned Camp
For a Firewall, what about a Server running as the Firewall. Get an old box, put a striped downversion of linux on it and a firewall, then put it in your closet with your switch and you can share files an stuff to, and fold with it... plus tehn you can say you have a server room :)
 

JohnnyTheRed

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2002
Location
Brockton MA
I'd have at least 2 jacks in every room. I'd also have them run two lines to each jack (for backup). And might as well use Cat6, for whatever we'll be getting into in the future.
 

Wedo

Senior Kitty Power!
Joined
Oct 31, 2001
Location
Lost Angeles
Ok ok ok......

For home use, you do not need GreyFox equipement. Their stuff is nice but it's overkill. A patch panel is just a termination point for all the ethernet jacks in your house. Thus, if you have six jacks, all the cables will end up in this wide rectanglular panel with six jacks. You then plug those six jacks into an eight port switch and also plug your router/gateway into it as well.

As far as a firewall goes, your router/gateway will work just fine as a firewall. Linksys, D-Link, Netgear, and even (gulp) M$ are making SOHO router/gateways for under $60 that will connect to your DSL/Cable modem, establish your connection, work as a firewall, and dish out IP address to all the machines on your network.

I agree with Deathknight, have your patch panel placed next to where your cable connection (or sat. tv conneciton) will come in. This will make things easier in the long run.

Just to make sure, here is the data flow from the Internet into your house:

phone lines on telephone pole or cable from cable company >> dsl/cable modem >> router/gateway >> switch >> patch panel >> every machine in your house.

Wedo
 

Deathknight

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2002
Location
Chicago
9mmCensor said:
For a Firewall, what about a Server running as the Firewall. Get an old box, put a striped downversion of linux on it and a firewall, then put it in your closet with your switch and you can share files an stuff to, and fold with it... plus tehn you can say you have a server room :)

This is the best option in my opinion. I am running IPCop on an old 266mhz machine and I love it.

As for patch panels, well they are nice but not 100% neccessary. I think they are more useful in an office building where there is a ton of cable ran that you might need to connect and disconnect. It certainly would add a nice finishing touch, and would be easier to label and keep track of which cable is which but you could also terminate your cat5 with rj45 connectors and just plug them right into your switch/router. The fact that you are going to have this all in a closet in your bedroom though might be reason enough to go with it. If you will be looking at it every time you get dressed...
 

AMD Phreak

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2003
Location
255.255.255.255
http://www4.tomshardware.com/network/20030630/index.html

That is a link to tomshardware and a pretty in depth explanation of home networking in a NEW house. I recomend reading it.

As for cabling, i would spend more and invest in cat6, along with cat6 rated jacks, of your choice, which can include an RJ-45 conection, RJ-11 using like cat5 or even cat3 if it is just voice only, and even a cable connection on some models. Toms explains all of this and has lots of photo's.

I would recomend having a patch panel installed, again cat6 rated. This should be in a room or even in a closet that doesnt get used. You want to touch wiring as little as possible once it is installed, to prevent wear and tear of it. The patch panel runs network lines to your networking hardware in the closet, ie firewall, router, switch, hub, modem, or any combo of the above.

In the punch down side, the wiring goes out to all of the rooms hidden in the walls, and is terminated in the wall jack. From the wall jack, obviously it is run to the apropriate appliance. The only interface made to the wiring is via jacks and patch panels, so the in wall wiring is not disturbed; i.e. flexing and bending. If you can afford it, spend extra and get patch cords that are made using stranded wiring, as they flex and are less prone to failure.


These are all just suggestions i have, as i have been doing alot of research on the subject myself. I am getting ready to install a patch panel and clean up the wiring at my parents house so it is not a mess. Feel free to email me, as i have more sites that talk about wiring and such of houses.
 

cobray

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
I used to pull cable for commercial sites.

What you need to do is identify the central point where all the cables will meet, like in the basement somewhere. Preferably away from your breaker box or any source of noise (including flourescent lighting). Try to keep the cable lengths as short as possible. Also where they terminate in each room leave at least 1foot of "slack" in the cable to work with.

Pull **TWO** sets of 4-pair cables for each drop. That way, if one cable degrades or gets knotted when its pulled (yes this does happen), plus for expansion if you want to wire additional drops and future-proofing

Termination equipment is up to you. You can get good stuff from Black Box corporation.

I dont even know if you want to go thru all this for the added cost you may want to look into a wireless solution, although I have never worked with wireless personally, so I cant recommend it over pulled cable

I have also never worked with Cat6 but if Cat5 is signifcantly cheaper that will probably do you fine.

If you choose to only pay attention to one thing in this post
it is PULL TWO (2 2 2 2 2 2 2) cables

Also expect to pay out the *** for this. At least a few hundred dollars if your lucky. Also hope they do it right.

Do you plan on doing your own punch-down or let whomever is doing the cabling to do it for you? If they are gonna do the punching this is more $$$$ its gonna cost you. If you think your gonna save money and do the terminations yourself your going to need to buy some quality punch down tools - and some band-aids cause I guarantee you your gonna get your finger caught in the punch down tool at least once if your a noob and man its gonna hurt.

Also I havent pulled cable in a few years but I dont think it has changed much. Good luck on your house. My place is gonna be done in two months and im gonna dive into wireless since I only have two desktops and a laptop
 
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SniperXX

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2002
Location
Folding in Diamond Bar
I'd also like to note using a puch down tool isnt that hard, and you could do it yourself if you know/look up the pinouts (some are even printed on the jack). I had done it for my 1st time in my CISCO class for a lab activity and it was easier than I expected and pretty quick once you got it down on how to do it. So basically I'd look into terminating the wires yourself since it will save some money and will be valuable info to know.
 

Crash893

"The man in black fled across the desert,
Joined
Mar 13, 2001
We had a simmilar situation when a freind of mine bought a house in norfolk


what we did is we ran 3 cat-6's to each room ( 3 rooms) and 1 coax to each room

we labled them all yellow ( 1-3 stripes) red and green)

we then have everything meet in the basement were the first 2 catv go into a patch pannel and from the patch panel into a regular 10/100 router/switch then into the cable modem

we left the last cat-6 to become a phone line if we should so feel it

and then we set up a coax amplifier and ran coax to each room



then ( this is the best part there are also 3 drops on the main floor ( kitchen tv room and yes dinning room)

and there are 4 drops in the basement ( much easier since thats wehre the pacth pannel is )

there are two linksys waps one on the top level and one one the ground level



this may sound a bit extenive but he does lease out the other 2 rooms to two other navy guys and they both have comptuers and wifi laptops ( for when there on the ships)

and he has a kinda of lab in the basement

the reason for the cat-6e was so they could go gigabit when the router prices fell more

the reason for having 3 drops per room is they could use one for computer 1 for phone and one for mics ( we saw a neat speaker over cat-v system but we never got around to it)


we did all this one a house that was built in the 1950's for aboutttt 300-400 bucks including renting a lader witch was supriznly like 60 bucks 100 bucks for cable ( 1000 foot spool) ends pach pannel room plates pvc conduit etc


if you want more detail pm me
 

Crash893

"The man in black fled across the desert,
Joined
Mar 13, 2001
gravitywell said:


First bonus question...what's a patch panel? I was searching online and found www.greyfox.com are these the types of panels you were talking about?

Currently, I personally own three desktops, my wife owns a desktop and a laptop. (Yes, we have to differentiate who owns which machines...so I can't touch hers, lol). I doubt I would be using all of them at the same time, but as was mentioned above, who knows what I would use it for in the near future.



Does anyone have any recommendations for the patch panel? Brand? And what about the Firewall? Are there particular brands to use or stay away from?

a patchpannel is is kinda of a mass termination point for all the cat-v


basicly you have like 15 drops in the house
they all lead back to the patch pannel where you punch them in to ports 1-15 appropratly

then on the other side is a female ethernet plug

then you get small ( 1 footers) to go from the patch pannel to diffrent things like the router or phone system

why would you do this basicly so everything is clean and labled and neaty you know that ports 1-3 are room1 and 4-5 are room 2 so on and so forth so if you need to to use
 

Huckleberry

Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2002
Location
Just East of the mall
My recommendation:

1) find if it's cheaper to have the electrical contractor do the network wiring or if it's cheaper to do yourself. Consider (of course) if you have the time and patience to give it a try. If you really want a learning experience, doing it yourself is priceless. (even if you don't use MasterCard :) )

2) If you're a person who's likely to change your mind regarding the type and number of wires to pull to each location, install inter-duct (the blue corrugated conduits) between your central location and each box. You can later pull additional cable or whatever in the future without opening up the walls.

3) If you're a person who's not likely to change your mind, then decide how many drops and install Cat 6. Spend a few pennies more per foot and get something you won't regret in a year.

4) Get an inexpensive patch panel, at least cat5e, and an inexpensive shelf to hold all of your network "crap," as my wife would call it.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
I did this work for a friend. We ran ALL of the low voltage stuff. TV, phone, Data. I can tell you that it's easy to do if you want to do it yourself. Just some general rules to keep in mind. I'll post more if you want.

I agree with what many have said. Pull more than you think you need. Try to imagine several different ways to place furnature in each room and how that might affect where your computer would go. Just because you have the desk in one corner today doesn't mean that you'll keep it there tomorrow. This is by far the biggest mistake made and it's made at the earliest stage of installation.

The patch pannel is overkill. I may get one later on but that's just 'Bling bling' and totally overkill. For my friend, we just used two (2) electric wall boxes. They cost like $0.19 ea. Then we got two face plates that have six (6) openings each for RJ-45 jacks. Then we have a little wooden shelf for the switch and cable modem to sit on.

I should try to get photos. Hmmm, who do I know that has a camera that I could use for that?