Home Network - Multiple Patch Panels

strick206

Standard Member
Hello again everyone,

My bar is now built so i'm trying to work out how to optimise the wifi and wired internet across the house

I currently have a Virgin Media Hub and 3 x Ubiquiti Unify Wifi 6 Lite APs (only 1 is set up currently)

I'd like to sort the full system out so have done a floor plan to give an idea which i have added below

The red x on the first floor is a small cupboard i would ideally like to put most of the equipment

The red circle on the ground floor is where the virgin cables enter the house

On the yellow line to the bar are 4 x cat 6 cables run underground in conduit, with the yellow rectangle where they are all coming out of the wall in quite a mess at present (another pic shows that)

There are also two POE cameras on the bar, one bottom left in the pic and one top right, both are POE

Floor Plan.JPG


IMG_0405.jpg


As you can see from the mess in that cupboard, i am very much learning on the go here, i originally planned to terminate the 4-6 cables in a faceplate in the stud wall, but there is so much AV power in that stud wall i cannot find the space necessary

I would like all APs to be on the same network so they can switch over easily

Therefore questions:

1 - Given i can no longer terminate the cat 6 in the wall on a faceplate, would it make sense to put a patch panel in the cupboard in the bar, you may be able to see an 8 port Netgear unmanaged switch that has around 4 POE ports already in there

The reason for suggesting a patch panel is so that once done, that isnt touched so i dont damage the cables that run externally, or is there another way?


2 - at the end of the yellow line, on entry to the house, i had again planned to terminate the cables in the wall so that the stuff underground is not messed with therefore doesnt have as much chance of breaking, except now i wouldnt be able to get them to where i want all the main house equipment. What would you suggest? All i can think of is a keystone coupler for each cable left in the wall, and new cables run internally to the media cupboard, but there has to be a better way i would think?

3 - for the whole house, i am almost certain i will need a patch panel in the media cupboard, i intend to run ethernet to almost every room in the near future, with 2 x sockets in each room, maybe more in the office. Can you have a setup with two different patch panels? and would it be recommended?

4 - I hope to add a couple of security cameras onto the house at the same time as doing this, so i would need a second POE network switch i assume that would be with the main house patch panel (also need to power the two remaining APs (which will be ceiling mounted on each floor of the house)

5 - I have the 3 x Unibuiti Unify Wifi 6 Lite APs, but that's all i have, i would like to get a decent wifi 6 router, so i could put the virgin hub in modem mode so it would have to be compatible, i've looked at the ubiquiti stuff but it baffles me so not sure what would do the job for me

It's not critical i use all ubiquiti kit, but i'd like it to be wifi 6 even if i probably wont see the benefit, but just because i've already got the wifi 6 APs

I've got this far with the help from you on this forum so hoping i will be able to get sorted for the rest of the house or be pointed in the right direction

Thanks again

Gary
 

captain morgan

Active Member
It’s a bit hard to follow your post but based on my understanding my thoughts are:

Yes you can have multiple patch panels, I assume you mean installing local drops in the bar & terminating them in the bar cupboard?

I also assume that any drops installed in the house will terminate in the first floor cupboard?

You haven’t said where the inter building links (ibl) terminate in the house but wherever they are you need to install a equivalent four drops back to 1sr floor cupboard otherwise your bar is isolated.

Always run more cable than you expect you’ll need, as a minimum 2 drops to each point of presentation, high utilisation areas such as offices, media, games rooms I’d suggest 4/6 is not unreasonable

Don’t forget multiple ceiling options for access points as you may find they need to move around to get the optimum coverage

Some drops may not need to be cat 6, I say this not for cost saving but for potential ease of install of cat5e over 6, for example cctv points, ap points, guest bedrooms etc.

Whatever cable is used don not use copper clad aluminium (cca) cable

Re unifi there is no such thing as a wifi6 router in there range, I’d look at the UDM pro & se & and then look at there switch offerings, (I lie they do the dream router but I don’t think it’s what you want)

It’s safe to assume you will need a switch in the bar as it sounds like you already have more than 4 devices planned, keep a link for the ap’s and then the switch, I believe some of the newer unifi devices are using 2.5 & 10Gb/s nics if you have any real network hogs going into the bar, but I suspect 1Gb/s will be fine

If you are going with unifi for the ap’s cameras and router I’d say it’s a false economy not to use there switches and keep within there ecosystem

Take a look at Laurence systems & cross talk solutions on YouTube for unifi setup & config vids
 

strick206

Standard Member
It’s a bit hard to follow your post but based on my understanding my thoughts are:

Yes you can have multiple patch panels, I assume you mean installing local drops in the bar & terminating them in the bar cupboard?

I also assume that any drops installed in the house will terminate in the first floor cupboard?

Thanks captain morgan, apologies, yes to both of these assumptions

You haven’t said where the inter building links (ibl) terminate in the house but wherever they are you need to install a equivalent four drops back to 1sr floor cupboard otherwise your bar is isolated.

I assume ibl are what i am meaning when i say jointing the internal cables with the external cables? If so, they are at the back of the house extension on the ground floor, the media cupboard is in the middle of the house on the first floor. I plan to run four drops back to the media cupboard, i will look into the inter building links to see how i do that

Always run more cable than you expect you’ll need, as a minimum 2 drops to each point of presentation, high utilisation areas such as offices, media, games rooms I’d suggest 4/6 is not unreasonable

Don’t forget multiple ceiling options for access points as you may find they need to move around to get the optimum coverage

Some drops may not need to be cat 6, I say this not for cost saving but for potential ease of install of cat5e over 6, for example cctv points, ap points, guest bedrooms etc.

Whatever cable is used don not use copper clad aluminium (cca) cable

I hadnt thought of the multiple ceiling access points so will give that a thought, it's not the biggest of houses so it is likely it will be ok but i will look at leaving provision whilst all the floorboards are up that makes sense

Covered on all the other points from reading previous posts on here and already have all the cable, but will look at cat5e for some stuff if i run low

Re unifi there is no such thing as a wifi6 router in there range, I’d look at the UDM pro & se & and then look at there switch offerings, (I lie they do the dream router but I don’t think it’s what you want)

Thank you i will have a look at these

It’s safe to assume you will need a switch in the bar as it sounds like you already have more than 4 devices planned, keep a link for the ap’s and then the switch, I believe some of the newer unifi devices are using 2.5 & 10Gb/s nics if you have any real network hogs going into the bar, but I suspect 1Gb/s will be fine

I think it will be pretty simple really and 1 gb/s will be fine, largely just using firesticks/sky q, i dont have a nas system or anything like that

If you are going with unifi for the ap’s cameras and router I’d say it’s a false economy not to use there switches and keep within there ecosystem

Take a look at Laurence systems & cross talk solutions on YouTube for unifi setup & config vids

The cameras i have are hikvision, so not tied to anything particularly, i will have a look at the systems you mentioned and the routers

Is there an easy way to know if a router will work with virgin in modem mode? I got caught out at my brothers house as sky dont allow you to do that so he had to wait to swap to virgin BB

Lastly, does it matter where i have the security camera hard drive, ideally i'd like it in the first floor media cupboard, but that will mean the cameras in the garage will attached to a POE switch in there, then through two patch panels and an ibl before connecting to the NVR i think it is called? If that makes any sense at all

Thanks again
 

captain morgan

Active Member
Re the ap placement
I run a single tp-link Omada eap-225 in my loft and it covers a house that looks approx the same size as yours (hard to be 100% as your floor plan resolution is to low to read clearly).

The benefits of loft placement allow the ap to generate its wifi beam before hitting any walls, in essence it’s firing down through the ceiling into all rooms, rather than at ceiling hitch t and trying to go horizontally through walls.

Generally ceilings are much more transparent to wifi.

Unifi or?
If you are not tied into unifi for cameras already and you don’t plan on useing them in the future then perhaps take a look at tp-link Omada it is a very unifi like platform that does the sdn in similar way, you have a router, controller, ap and switch integration & mgt in a single console just like unifi, you have multiple switch options Inc poe and at present I believe availability is better. It’s also generally 20-30% cheaper.
The main downside is that it’s a networking only product so it doesn’t have the cctv/door bell/lock control aspects that unifi has.

That said with unifi pricing & availability being as they are it might be worth considering selling the ap’s you have and going that way, again the two YouTube channels both have vids about Omada.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I concur with Captain Morgan's advice, so I won't repeat it, I've just attempted to ampliify or add to a few points and discuss some alternate options:

1 - Given i can no longer terminate the cat 6 in the wall on a faceplate, would it make sense to put a patch panel in the cupboard in the bar, you may be able to see an 8 port Netgear unmanaged switch that has around 4 POE ports already in there

In addition to that already discussed - if the number of cable terminations is relatively small, you could forego a "full" 19 inch rack mountable PP and use a "normal" wall plate mounted onto a surface mount patress box, which you can then mount anywhere you like. At a university I used to manage, the sparkies would often do such to avail socket on top of the (rows of) desks the students used for their laptops (before the rise and rise of Wi-Fi.) Electrically, it's the same as a PP and may work out (physically) smaller and more convenient, possibly a bit cheaper, (though PP's can be pretty cheap,) and more aesthetically pleasing. It's something of a "value judgement" weighing up whether to use surface mount wall boxes or a PP based on the aesthetics and number of cable lobes you are wrangling, but to repeat, electrically the two are the same, it's just alternate options for doing the same job. Looking at your image, it looks like you are most of the way there an "just" need a surface mount back box.

2 - at the end of the yellow line, on entry to the house, i had again planned to terminate the cables in the wall so that the stuff underground is not messed with therefore doesnt have as much chance of breaking, except now i wouldnt be able to get them to where i want all the main house equipment. What would you suggest? All i can think of is a keystone coupler for each cable left in the wall, and new cables run internally to the media cupboard, but there has to be a better way i would think?

You could dress off the incoming cable runs onto an PP or faceplate, then run a separate set of cables internally with one end co-located with the incoming lines also presented onto a faceplate or PP (possibly even the same PP.) Then "patch" between the two with patch-cords. It's not the prettiest solution, but it's "what patchbays are for" - hence the name - cross patching one set of cable lobes with another. That would give you a physical break(able) point between the IBL and the "internal" cable runs and separate the two - though of course "topologically" so inter-connected they are still "the same" cable lobe.

3 - for the whole house, i am almost certain i will need a patch panel in the media cupboard, i intend to run ethernet to almost every room in the near future, with 2 x sockets in each room, maybe more in the office. Can you have a setup with two different patch panels? and would it be recommended?

You can have as many as you like. In "big business" comms rooms, we have entire racks full of them! (Google some images.) Each PP is usually (electrically) independent of all the others (just as each port is electrically independent in each PP.) How you inter-connect the presented cable lobes (with patchcords) with each other and any other equipment is how you "make" the infrastructure.

For example, in a big business we often have the phones and ethernet running on the same UTP cabling infrastructure (UTP was originally invented for phones and re-purposed for data networks.) In the "comms room" what lobe gets patches to what equipment determines whether it becomes a "phone" line (connected to the telephony equipment) or an "ethernet" line (connected to the data network equipment.) Consequently, sometimes cable lobes are re-purposed by changing the handset/PC one end and how they are "patched" on the comms. room.

5 - I have the 3 x Unibuiti Unify Wifi 6 Lite APs, but that's all i have, i would like to get a decent wifi 6 router, so i could put the virgin hub in modem mode so it would have to be compatible, i've looked at the ubiquiti stuff but it baffles me so not sure what would do the job for me

If you are provisioning your Wi-Fi solution separately, what makes you think you need to change router...? Could you expand a little on your reasoning for a router swap.

"Routing" and "Wi-Fi" are entirely separate functions. It's just that in the typical SOHO "get-you-on-the-Internet" omni-box both happen to be availed in the same physical device. Attached to the "Using Two Routers Together" FAQ pinned in this forum is a block diagram of a typical SOHO router. To access the Internet, you need all the blocks running except the Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) (and debatably, the ethernet switch) so if you don't need or want to run the routers built in Wi-Fi AP, just turn it off and leave everything else alone.

It is something of an Internet Myth that in order to use an alternate Wi-Fi solution you "have to put your router into modem mode and use something else." You do not. There are other good reasons for changing router, but deploying an alternate Wi-Fi is not one of them. If your router is otherwise delivering your Internet access just fine, then there's no reason to not keep using it. (Just turn off the Wi-Fi - it's rarely more than a couple of clicks to just turn off the Wi-Fi radios.) Save the money on a new router and spend it on something else (like more AP's for example.) (It would be like buying a new car because you want to change the stereo.)

Also, by "decoupling" your routing and Wi-Fi functions, it makes it easier in future to change either without effecting the other. Viz: Changing ISP (and getting a new router) has no effect on your Wi-Fi and vice-versa, changing your Wi-Fi has no effect on your Internet Service.

Incidentally, for your inter-building link (IBL) - there is a technology available called "Link Aggregation" (LA) that allows multiple physical links between (usually) two ethernet switches to be bound up into a "fatter" logical "pipe" with more bandwidth. So, by way of example, you could take 4x 1000mbps ethernet links and bind them up into a 4000mbps "Aggregated Link." Be sure to understand this avails greater "bandwidth" and not more "speed" - it's "more lanes on the highway" not "quadruple the speed limit" - any traffic transiting such a link will still "experience" it as a 1000mbps link, but not you can run up to 4 streams concurrently before they start "competing" with each other for bandwidth. LA's are usually available from 2-8 physical links, I only used 4 as an example since you have 4 physical links in situ in your IBL.

LA needs switches either end that are LA capable, and a bit of time to set them up (unless the automation has gotten better since I last built any) but it's not very hard and is a useful way to avail more bandwidth before worrying about 2.5/5/10Gig ethernet. It also would mean you don't need to provision different IBL lobes for different (ethernet) purposes (presuming you aren't using VLAN's and so forth, though they can also transit LA's.)
 
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captain morgan

Active Member
Again I agree with most of Mickevh's points so wont go over those again, just try to put a little meat on the bones where I can.


Starting where I have a difference of view re routing:
fundamentally Mickevh is correct there may not be a need to replace the routing element, it might simply be a nice to have.

Often the isp provided combined modem/router/fw/access point units are built down to a price not up to a standard, so they could experience poor wifi, cpu or memory constraints or a combination of any of those three, this might not be a issue for most users and often the issues show in larger properties via poor wifi or when there are a large number of devices connected.

Challenges can come with complexity, the more switches, the possibility of having link aggregated Inter Switch Links, the need to manage poe switch points, the more advanced features of wifi roaming between access points, guest networks, isolating iot devices for your trusted networks, etc, etc.

Often in these cases it can be useful to be able to manage the network form a single point and to have devices from a single manufacturer to (try &) minimise interoperability issues & troubleshooting.

As with many things it comes back to time, cost, quality (ease/simplicity of management in this case) balance and what you are trying to achieve.



Inter Building Links (ibl) and patching in general:
In the simplest of terms you have four runs that go from the Bar to the house but not back to the 1st floor cupboard (yet).

You intend to make the 1st floor cupboard the termination point for all the house ethernet runs. Including the ibl to the garage.

You will also have a number of ethernet runs confined to the bar that will terminate in the same location as the bar end of the ibl's.

lets call both of these points concentration points (cp's, house cp & bar cp) as the is where the greatest concentration of cables terminate

I agree with Mickevh the number of runs you are terminating is one of the drivers of how you terminate the cable runs primarily patch panel, face plates and boxes, direct rj45. Neatness, cost, other equipment planned, comms/kit rack or not, etc all play there part in what solution you go for, tbh the how is much less important than leaving slack to re address in the future if plans change, much much less than getting all your cable drops planned as its much harder to address that post install.


That said for getting the ibl's to the house cp if it were me I would look at a deep back box and 'ethernet junction/inline couplers' this will remove the need to present the ibl's on a face plate at the house entry point in the extension, having a additional face plate with the four drops from the
house cp & having patch leads joining them. instead you have one deep 2G back box four ethernet junction boxes and a blank faceplate and the ibl have been extended and now you have a 4*house cp - bar cp ibl's




Access Points:
From your post: 3 x Ubiquiti Unify Wifi 6 Lite AP
These are the disk shaped, ceiling mount devices ,if you weren't planning on ceiling mounting them, how were you planning on installing them?

I know some folk have had (varying degrees of) success in installing them in other ways e.g. table or shelf mounting by screwing them to a book end or using a china plate display stand as a cradle, in essence trying to mount them in vertical plain rather than the horizontal plain.

Thing is they are designed to be ceiling mounted and thats how the aerials are designed to operate, so the penetration through walls can be compromised, meaning you may need more ap's than you envisioned if installing that way.



General Cabling / Patching:
I'm sure you have already done this but just in case not now is the time, take a step back and mark on a plan everywhere you think you need a point now.

EG: Virgin ingress point *2
Media/TV point *4/6
Kitchen TV?
Office *4
house to bar ibl *4
Master bed either side of bed *2
spare bed room either side of bed *2
GF ceiling ap (id suggest aprox central in each room with a lot of slack to adjust placement) 2 per room?
etc, etc...

You can then go round and look (& likely round again) for the ones you have forgotten, do you want a corded phone point somewhere? Have you run a drop near your bt master socket in case you ever mover away from virgin, in the office will your printer be on a different wall to your desk and need its own port, do you think you’ll ever install a wired alarm system, etc etc.

All you are doing is trying to minimise the number of time you go ohh snap I wish id put one there.

As we always say cable is (relatively) cheap I always say put in two runs as a minimum, in case your find you need a spare cable to runs something else it might not be a ethernet device there was a post recently where a member wanted to run hdmi over ethernet and network his kitchen tv bit had forgotten to run two, it can also help if you have a cable run fail as you have a spare to get you back up and running. what would happen if you have only one run from the vm hub to the house cp and it went bad?

Lastly consider the number length and colour of the patch cables you need, I'm a old school type and I think its good practice to use a different colour patch cable for the type of use.
E.G. if a connection has poe running on it I use red patch cables so I know it could have power on it. I use white/grey for my trusted network, for my iot subnet I use yellow it just helps (me) to know what device should be on the end of it and if im troubleshooting its a guide

Keenable is a good source of quality patch cables in various lengths & colours, alsong with other cabling infra (Other vendors are available / I have no commercial connection with them)


If it like sounds a touch overwhelming again just pause thing about what you want and ask questions but the majority of it is understanding / documenting your requirements, planning them and common sense.
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
[ANECDOTE] - I used to have to grind my teeth occasionally when, ahem, "colleagues" would compromise my carefully crafted colour scheme because they couldn't find a patchcord the "right" colour and grabbed whatever they could. The HOD was the worst offender - we did our best to keep him locked in his office with the budget spreadsheets and lots and lots of salesmen, but occasionally he'd give us the slip when we let him out for food and water!

Another variant of the "colour scheme" I saw at one site was that the teks hadn't "worried" too much about the colour of the actual cables, but use coloured zip ties on the ends to indicate "purpose." Above 5e, I guess technically that would compromise the "cat." Coloured labels or wraps would do the same job, though I find they often fall off after a few years.

For big racks I also quite like just having a "random" assortment of colours - it appeals to my aesthetic sense, but I find it easier to "follow" a particular cable through the management than when they are all the same. E.g. today I'm tracing a "yellow" one so I can ignore all the non-yellows. It's not foolproof and one still sometimes gets "lost," but I've got a better chance than if they are all blue, beige, black or whatever.[/ANECDOTE]
 
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captain morgan

Active Member
Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary I still hold a heathy scepticism to poe and it’s ability to fry non poe ports, it stems from the old passive poe days, hence red patch cables, I know I should move on, but…
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I've only ever used IEEE standards POE: We were nervous about it when it was first sold to us and was still shiny and new (and we didn't any use for it until VOIP phones and Wi-FI AP's came along,) but we were assured that it would never supply power to anything without being sure it wanted it. IIRC the POE supplying equipment looks for some particular value of (electrical) resistance on some combination of the lines before letting rip, though I confess it's years since I looked at the details.

I think an interesting development for POE would be to laptop using "hot deskers" if their lappy could derive their power using POE - it would save having to carry a "charger" to work day in, day out, or not be a disaster if you forgot it one day (yeah, I know dock bars, multiple chargers etc.) One "wire" and you get both power and fast data and it's 8P8C (RJ45) which are readily available. We could even see the tail on a "normal" power brick morph into an 8P8C (albeit ones not carrying data) instead of the many and various "USB" style connectors and would save a bit of real estate on the laptop if it no long needed a power socket.
 
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