Help needed with electrical rewire including network cabling

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by j04nse, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. j04nse

    j04nse
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    Hi

    We had our previous house rewired 6 years ago and i regretted not having network cabling put around the house at the time. We have now moved house and this property also needs rewiring, so i don't want to miss my opportunity this time.

    There is a cupboard in the dining room that is perfect to house my amp,router,phone etc, so i also want to run all the network cables and speaker cables from around the house into there.

    In rooms where we have several devices such as ps4,youview box,android box would you suggest putting a switch in each room and use only one network cable, or use 2/4 cables and plug each device into the face plate and not use a switch?

    I am not very up on this topic as you can probably tell, but do people still use HDMI baluns anymore to send av to another room, or is it cheaper to buy another andriod box etc

    Once the network is setup i would like to buy a NAS box and put some of my old cds/films onto it, not knowing alot about NAS boxes am i right in thinking they need to controlled by a media player/ tv to access the audio or video on it? as im thinking about playing the music through my amp and ceiling speakers.

    Thanks Mark
     
  2. mickevh

    mickevh
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    You can do it either way, both have pros and cons. A switch in each room is extra boxes which need power - which for "desktop" gear will probably be some form of "wall wart" brick. Having a single switch in the middle is technically, very slightly quicker, but in a lightly loaded SOHO LAN you would be hard pressed to measure the difference, let alone "notice" the effect in normal usage.

    I always pull multiple cables, (standing instructions to my sparkies are to "always pull 2" if they are asked to do something when I'm not around.) It's highly unlikely that a cable will fail in service, but if one does, you'd be back up and running again quicker with an alternate in situ. With a single cable, if it does fail, that's it - you've off the air until you rip the failed lobe out and replace it. Though if you lay your cables in conduits/trunking (basically plastic pipe) pulling in replacement (or additional) cables is easier, (especially if you leave a "draw string" in situ.)

    There's a few AVF'rs who've done "write ups," some with pictures, of their domestic cabling adventures - you could perhaps search out a few of them for reference.

    IMHO HDMI should be regarded as a "hook up" technology (to get A/V from device X to device Y in more less the same locale - a "digital SCART,") rather than a "distribution" mechanism. Of course there's plenty of kit that can do the latter, but it's not something I would "design in" with a clean sheet of paper, but plenty here hold alternate views.

    NAS's (or file servers) are simply storage system - literally a digital "shelf." In terms of storage on a NAS/server and distribution over a network, media files are no different to any other kind of file.

    So media players don't "control" the NAS - NAS is a computer attached to the network just like any other offering storage shared onto a network The media players simply reach into the NAS and retrieve the (media) files as they require them. You could set up any Windows computer, Linux machine or Apple Mac to do exactly the same - all those OS's facilitated network shares.

    It's the media players that have to be able "understand" the files (there's lots of different formats) "render" the data into sound and pictures and provide the connectivity (HDMI, RCA, TOSLink, etc) to inject the rendered streams into the amps/display panels etc.

    The media players do the clever stuff, NAS is just the storage, albeit accessible over a data network.

    There's a few wrinkles to this with things like Plex Media Server - by way of example PMS (running on the NAS) does a few "other" things like go get meta data about your media from the Internet and PMS will in real time "trans-code" (reformat) the media on the fly to "help" playback devices that cannot render some particular file. But this is strictly "extra" functionality added on top of basic NAS function. PMS and things like it aren't necessary at all of your playback devices are capable of retrieving files from basic CIFS/SMB/NFS network shares - many media players can do so, though you may not get the pretty "media walls" - it's a case of reading their manuals I'm afraid.

    So your playback devices don't "control" the NAS in the way I think you mean it. Admin of the NAS is usually done "remotely" through a web browser on some other device on the network rather than using as screen/keyboard connected to the NAS, (though some can do that too, either temporarily or permanently.)

    There's nothing particularly "special" about a NAS - it's just another type of computer running a particular style of operating system providing a set of features. A NAS differs from a Windows server in a similar way that Apple Mac differs from Windows, differs fro Linux, differs from a tablet... However NAS's tend to have a very restricted feature set, originally offering nothing more than networks shared storage - though there's been a lot of "function creep" over the years as vendors have "added back in" to NAS's lots of feature that they originally "took out" in the first place to make them simple (the thus cheap.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  3. ChuckMountain

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    It depends what you want to achieve.

    I am slightly surprised by this for a couple of reasons. If you centrally locate your kit for cosmetic\location reasons etc. My lounge has no boxes other than the TV and some speakers. Yet I can watch Sky Q, PS3\4, Apple TV, VHS VCR, Blu Ray etc from a one touch remote

    1) There is a limit on HDMI cables with a lot of 4k not working past 8m

    2) You do need a distribution mechanism to get your Audio and Video to the room of your choice. Its quite expensive to employ a HDMI matrix with full blown distribution particularly if you go to one of the big brands.

    3) Provisioning additional network cables for it at the start saves a lot of rework. You have to separate cables for most HDMI distribution (there is a compressed version over IP)

    4) Or for 4k now a number of the retailers are recommending fibre optic HDMI, which again isn't cheap but goes up to over 100m for 4k.

    How else would you get the video where you need it ?
     
  4. mickevh

    mickevh
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    I advance the argument as much as anything to stimulate the debate.

    I think you illustrate very nicely all the "extra" stuff/complexity involved in transporting uncompressed A/V over HDMI.

    If you're not bothered about the minimalist aethetic, I suggest, er, "simply" shipping data over ethernet/UTP to a media player in each locale is technically simpler and very likely cheaper as the only outlay is a media player for each locale and an ethernet socket (which we're putting in anyway.) And the media tank (NAS) in the middle of course.

    VHS eh. I've still got a few tapes, but nothing to play them on! :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  5. Simboo

    Simboo
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    We use Plex, love it.
    Integrated with all phones and tablets to cast movies via chromecasts.
    Also played around with XBMC also known as Kodi.
    That works well with a very nice user interface.
    We have a synology 2 bay nas with 2x 4TB red WD drives.
    Never had a problem.
    Time to upgrade to a 4 or 5 bay nas drive as running out if room.
     
  6. j04nse

    j04nse
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    Thank you all the for your replies.

    Things have moved on this week:

    My 8 speakercraft ceiling speakers have arrived, going to use 5 downstairs between living room, dining room and kitchen and 4 upstairs, spread between 2 of the 4 bedrooms and the bathroom.

    8 way speaker selector has arrived, this is going in the central cupboard so we can select which speakers we want to hear, as and when.

    Pretty much finalised with our electrician, they are going to carry out a full rewire, run two cat5e from every room, again, to the central cupboard. Pull all the speaker cables and fit a CCTV system ( looking at the flureon ones, not a lot of money and seem to get good reviews.)

    I have ordered two pairs of HDMI baluns as i thought they might come is useful, and i would like to know what people recommend in the way of a 24 way patch panel.

    I need to buy a 60" 4k HDR tv for my living room, so i can then mount my current 50" Panny in the dining room

    I said in my earlier post that im a complete novice in this field, so i am wondering how i connect the patch panel to my router for internet access? I presume i have to go from each port on the patch panel to a switch, then from my switch to the router?

    Thanks Mark
     
  7. Simboo

    Simboo
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    Yep run each cat5/6 from patch panel to the switch. Then you only need to run one cat5 to the router. All will be good.
     
  8. mickevh

    mickevh
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    A patch panel is simply cable termination just like in the rooms, albeit higher density and more sockets in a single "thing" (and they are usually designed for mounting into standard 19 inch racks.) Each port in the PP is the end of a single cable lobe and is electrically independent of all the others.

    As Simboo say, you should only take a single link from your switch to your router (routers live at the "edge" of networks joining networks to other networks, which in SOHO is almost always the Internet.)

    If you did take more than one cable from your switch to your router, you would create a "loop" in the topology which is a bad thing: Very quickly your network would stop working (all the capacity would get "filled up" with endlessly circling broadcast traffic preventing the transmission of anything else.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  9. Simboo

    Simboo
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    You can get some nice small patch panels that look and will match your wall power point outlets. That way things look nice.
    I use a 6 port wall patch panel.
     

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