CAT6'ing the house (pardon my ignorance)

Ste2

Active Member
Hello all,

I don't like asking for help ALL the time but am just hoping for a steer as to what I imagine is a fairly common situation:

I want to fully CAT6 my house (eventually!) and I am wondering which is the best way to go about it.:confused:

The purpose? well I want to network everything!, have a NAS and main PC, laptop, Wii & PS3 that is accesible by anything that is connected to the network (and vice versa) and of course send internet all round the house and maybe phones also?

However, I have no idea how this will work logistically... do you start with the internet 'in' going to a switch or patchpanel via a single cable from the router and then run everything else from the switch/patchpanel in a star configuration?

also - if I use a swtch or patchpanel, I guess the router will recognise devises (though one port/cable) and be able to reserve IPs for all of them?

at the moment - I only have 4 things that I can 'hardwire' but it is early days and I want to future proof, so I want the kind of set up that is easy to expand/configure and update.

Do I get a router, switch, patch panel or a combination/hybrid!?

I know this is a very basic question, I just need a steer :D

I would be greatful for some examples/suggestions from forum members...

*and I don't want to know about wireless OR Homeplug ;) thanks :p
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
Internet ->router ->patch bay ->devices
This is fine for the number of devices you have but later you can put a switch between the router and the patch bay to get more connections.
Even then the IP management is done by the router.
 

Michael

Well-known Member
Quick tip: Chimney.
If you're in a modern house, with a chimeny you don't use, it is perfect for moving cables up and down floors.
 

majnu

Member
I know I have a habit of referencing this link all the time, but it is a great read and should help you out. It was written by Grimroper who is a forum member here. :)

Get off our LAN!
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Patch panels are "transparent" to things like switches and routers - the are simply a line of sockets formed into one unit used where you have lots of cables all in one place. You terminate the permanent cable runs onto the back and plug patchcords into the front.

You used the right description - "star" topology for your cabling. Pull all your cables back to one location, thence you have the flexibility to "patch" whatever you like to each location depending on what you hook up to each cable at the centre. (Note that cabling topology can be distinct from the "logical" topology of what's connected to what.)

If you're thinking of having (analogue) phone and data to each room, you'll need more than one cable run to each - you cannot run analogue voice & ethernet down the same cable. If installing new cabling it's always worth installing some spare lines in case of some problem in the future and it's surprising how often you can find a use for it latter. Cable is cheap compared to the hassle of installing it.

For your data network, build it "round a switch" rather "round a router." The router logically sits at the "edge" of your network rather than the centre. The router is what separates your network from the rest of the world.

A lot of router have a four port switch built-in. There's no reason not to use those ports and if you only have four devices it would be all you need, but if you need more ports, then you need to add a switch, and these days, if were my money, I'd speed a few pounds extra on a gigabit capable switch (even if I didn't have any GBit clients,) hook everything up to that, thence take a single connection switch to router (unless/until I ran our of switch ports, thence as mentioned there no reason not to use the ports on the router too.)

Patch panels and (SOHO) switches don't intervene in IP addressing. That's handled by something called a DHCP Server built-in to your average SOHO router. As long as you router is hooked up to your switch, it will continue to handle DHCP dutiies.
 
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Ste2

Active Member
Internet ->router ->patch bay ->devices
This is fine for the number of devices you have but later you can put a switch between the router and the patch bay to get more connections.
Even then the IP management is done by the router.

Excellent - Now I see the basic principle

Quick tip: Chimney.
If you're in a modern house, with a chimeny you don't use, it is perfect for moving cables up and down floors.

I am being a little pre-emptive as I dont have my house yet!! due to complete in mid-august :D

I do know that the house is modern (circa 2000 build) but does not have a chimney/flue

I did notice that Sky seems to be wired from the dish at the back of the house around the external walls to most of the rooms. This is something that appealed to me as it seemed an easy way of doing things but I will not really know whehter it is or not until I move in and have a good look...:rolleyes:

I know I have a habit of referencing this link all the time, but it is a great read and should help you out. It was written by Grimroper who is a forum member here. :)

Get off our LAN!


Thanks for the link majnu- I *think* I have come across this before but never got the whole way through as I thought it was about wireless :blush: ... Looks like it will give me a very good guide - thanks again. I dont get the reasoning behind the access point though :confused:

Mickevh - excellent & comprehensive answer on switches, thanks

seems like labelling the cables and is going to be very important!!
 

Grimroper

Active Member
I thought it was about wireless :blush: ... Looks like it will give me a very good guide - thanks again. I dont get the reasoning behind the access point though :confused:

You are correct. Its does indeed start off talking about the wireless side, cos that was the easiest bit to set up, but then moves on to what I did on the wired side.

Which bit about the Access Point dont you get? Happy to explain my thinking if it will help.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
seems like labelling the cables and is going to be very important!!

Oh yes - in fact most patch panels and many UTP sockets have a little window you can wedge a label into. Even without, it's pretty simple to make some sticky labels. If you can get hold of a dymo label maker, or print them using and inkjet printer, they look a bit smarter. (Impress your friends and family...:D)

Access Points are what provides wifi hotspots. There is an AP built-in to the thing at home that most people call a "router." Hence, many people think that "router" means "wifi," "wifi" means "router," but actually wifi & routing are completely different things. A SOHO "router" typically has Router, AP, ethernet switch and a few other things built into one appliance and (unfortunately) the name "router" has stuck.

If wifi coverage of your "router" doesn't reach the entire area you need, then the best way to increase coverage is to put up multiple AP's to provide additional hotspots, like the cellphone companies do, then connect them together using cabling and switches to provide the "backhaul" infrastructure.

If you're not planning on using wifi, then AP provision is irrelevant.
 

majnu

Member
Thanks for the link majnu- I *think* I have come across this before but never got the whole way through as I thought it was about wireless :blush: ... Looks like it will give me a very good guide - thanks again. I dont get the reasoning behind the access point though :confused:

seems like labelling the cables and is going to be very important!!

Yes the first couple of pages are about wireless, but then after that it will explain the concept of wiring. You can ignore the access point it was used to improve wireless coverage around his house.

Labelling is important just get a dynmo label printer. I labeled the ends of each wire, then I labelled the wall faceplates and the patch panel. It looks very professional :thumbsup:
 

Ste2

Active Member
Yes the first couple of pages are about wireless, but then after that it will explain the concept of wiring. You can ignore the access point it was used to improve wireless coverage around his house.

Labelling is important just get a dynmo label printer. I labeled the ends of each wire, then I labelled the wall faceplates and the patch panel. It looks very professional :thumbsup:

label printers!!? this is starting to get expensive :laugh: actually that is a very good idea as they are useful for all sorts. It might also help with my house move as everything will be in boxes for a good few weeks I suspect.

Anywho - I was looking at the 'Get off my LAN' guide and realised that I need a basic rackmount case but I can't find what I need by searching. Its just a metal box isnt it?! :rolleyes:

When I search the prices vary wildly so I guess that there is much more that these rackmount boxes can do. for the purposes of mounting a switch and a patch panel, surley I just need a metal box with no 'bits' attatched to it?!
 

RustySpoons

Well-known Member
Label printers are about £20 :)
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
The cheap version of label printing is print them yourself with an inkjet printer and cut them to size. If your patch panels and sockets have the kind of perspex "windows" that you wedge labels behind, they don't need to be adhesive so any piece of paper will do.

The dymo machines are nice because the "tapes" are available the "right" width for the windows so you only need to cut them to length - handy when doing them by the hundred, probably OTT for a one off DIY exercise.

A rack is basically a metal box, with "ladders" at the front (and sometimes the back) that are punched out at the standard "U" spacings so you can mount your rack-mountable kit straight into it. They come in various size and therefore prices, thence you "pay" for bonus features like smoked glass doors, swing frames, locks etc. Don't forget to check all the dimensions of your kit and your rack to make sure one will fit into the other.

If you want a really, really cheap way to mount a patch panel (which normally have very little depth) you could screw it onto a couple of chunky wooden battons screwed to a wall. It won't be terribly pretty, but if it's going to be out of sight, maybe that doesn't matter.

A lot of SOHO kit (switches, routers) isn't rack mountable anyway, some may have optional rack mount kits. If you gear isn't rack mountable, you'd have to put (buy) a shelf for your cab to stand it on (or leave it resting on the bottom.) If it's going to be simply resting on a shelf, why not just put up a shelf.

And if any of your gear is wifi access point, it's not a good idea to put that inside a metal box anyway (metal box forms a Faraday cage which will suppress the signals.)

It might be worth considering buying your gear first, thence when you have it in your hands, figure out whether a rack is worth it.
 
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majnu

Member
Cheers Mate looks good. But £56 inc delivery is too steep for me.
 
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