Need some guidance on a home network install

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by D83, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. D83

    D83
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    Hi All,

    I hope you might be able to help me and forgive any stupid or obvious questions I may put forward here.

    In short, we are moving house to a grade II listed building in a conservation area in the near future and I plan for this to be our long term home. Those in the UK will likely be familiar with the constraints this puts on the property, to those not in the UK, I need to be very careful about making changes to the property and for some work I will need permission to get it done. This might be a painful process but I am keen to persevere given it will be our long term house.

    The nature of the house and estate means at the moment, copper broadband service is woeful (2mb download max), but 4G reception is excellent (40mb down, 25mb up when I did a speed test on my iphone). I am looking to leverage a 4G modem for at least part of my internet connectivity, but am aware of eating through data limits very quickly (50GB is currently max 4G data plan available that I could find). There is a chance fibre might be coming in the next 12 months which would be revolutionary. Similarly, Sky dishes are not allowed on buildings, though I think there may be workarounds available.

    My brief. What I am looking to do is get some connectivity around the house. If I manage to install Sky, the box will need to be placed out of view in a central location (maybe in the future TV can be run over fibre service). We would likely have TVs in no more than 2 rooms downstairs and potentially one outbuilding (which I am hoping to make part into a home gym). There is a small chance of wanting TV in an upstairs bedroom. I am looking to have a centrally located blu-ray player and NAS. I currently have an Amazon Fire TV box, which is great, but not really an option on a data limited connection. Ideally this would be centrally located, but I understand there may be remote control issues that mean it would be simpler to have a Fire TV stick attached to each TV? Lastly, any Blu-ray and Fire TV content can be screened to all TV's, I dont need multi channel viewing on these, but it would be nice to have multi channel Sky in different rooms if possible.

    On a room by room basis, this is the equipment I would like to have:

    Living Room - TV, Amp (perhaps replaced by Sonos Playbar), Sonos (if no Playbar), wifi coverage and perhaps a couple of ethernet points for laptops if needed
    Kitchen - TV, Sonos, couple of ethernet points
    Outbuilding and 2 bedrooms, as Kitchen.

    I would also like PoE IP Cams in some hallways and in the outbuildings, and will likely need a couple of WAP's around the house to provide wireless coverage (was looking at PoE, but could make use of old routers I have lying around if power is available?). Where possible Id like to hardwire the devices per room, Sonos wireless is an option.

    There is a convenient cupboard to house all the kit that needs to be centrally located. I guess I would look to invest in a rack to house the kit. The outbuilding has electricity and is approx 10m away from the main house. Only part of the house has historical interest, which is the living room and one of the bedrooms (which is one of the rooms listed as a potential TV candidate).

    Given the specific nature of what I want and the house, I am tempted to get a company in to do the work, but I expect it will be expensive. I am looking for some guidance of what kit I will need to complete these install, how many cat runs I need to run into each room (is a "run" just a single run of cable, opposed to a pair?), what cable I should be looking to buy (solid core, braided etc), whether a separate circuit for data and TV content would be needed, whether I use an HDMI matrix, or HDMI baluns, any faceplate considerations and any other issues I might encounter.

    Implementation is my main concern, budget less of an issue. Some renovation and building work will be taking place and I daresay we will need to overhaul some electrics, so I want to be on top of things when we get going. I am pretty competent and confident that with guidance I can source the kit, install the rack, get some cables run, but would need help in terminating cables, installing faceplates and potentially some of the more tricky cable runs.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and for any advice you have.
     
  2. mickevh

    mickevh
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    Everything you want to know about UTP here... How to wire Ethernet Cables

    Solid core UTP terminated onto IDC sockets and patch panels is used for permanently installed cables. "Stranded," often called "patch" cable is used to hook up the equipment at the ends. It's much like the difference between the solid core twin-and-earth installed for permanent mains cables versus the stranded cabled you used in appliance leads.

    "Braided" is usually something else - cables that are electrically shielded using a Faraday Cage use a braided tube of conductors (usually earthed) just inside the sheathing. E.G. you TV "aerial" lead or satellite cable. UTP doesn't have this - the "U" means unshielded, though there are UTP variants that use foil screens for shielding, however for data networking, it isn't necessary.

    We generally refer to each single cable between one point and another as a "lobe." As you infer it's not at all unusual to run more than one lobe (cable) along any give physical route.

    You need separate cable lobes for different applications. For example, you cannot mix ethernet, HDMI and phone on the same circuit. You can drive all of them over UTP, (HDMI with the right baluns) but they must be kept electrically separated which in practical terms means if (for example) you wanted to send ethenet, HDMI and phone between point A and B, you'd need to have 3 UTP lobes, one for each application.

    HDMI runs at much higher frequencies that ethernet and consequently need better quality infrastructure. Running it over UTP is something of a "bodge" - HDMI was designed to run on it's own type of cabling over relatively short distances. Many advocate minimising the number of connectors in the pathway as much as possible if running HDMI over UTP.

    Personally, I wouldn't "design in" any kind of HDMI distribution in a green field. I see it as a "hook up" technology for connecting kit to kit over a short distances. However, other disagree and inventive people have come up with ways of using HDMI as distribution mechanism, (including over UTP) but it's more complex and thus costly.

    As you imply, "remote controlling" a centrally located BD player is a challenge, though again clever people have some up with solutions for doing so. However, it would be interesting to compare the cost and (relative) inflexibility (can only play one BD to all TV's) of such a solution with the cost of simply buying multiple BD players located near each TV with their own remote.

    If you were real smart, you might look for BD players (or TV's) that have in built "media streamer" clients that can play back from your NAS and potentially save yourself having to buy separate media streamers.

    What you need to "distribute TV" depends on what you mean by that - are you talking FreeView, satellite or something else...?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  3. D83

    D83
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    Thanks for the reply, I appreciate the explanations. So if required, for data, voice and HDMI, I need discreet and exclusive rings which do not interact with each other? Or is there a way you can connect them all to some kind of managed switch to isolate the channels? Or am I massively over complicating things? And on the subject of switches, assuming a data only ring, do I need a managed switch or will an unmanaged switch suffice?

    To answer the question about distributing TV, it would be Sky satellite in question. I know Sky offer a few solutions (Sky Multiroom, Sky Q), Im not too familiar with them and not sure what would best suit my situation given the spec.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read.
     
  4. Kristian

    Kristian
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    Just a comment on the 'Sky dishes are not allowed on buildings', the dish doesn't have to mounted on the building, nor elevated. As long as the dish can 'see' the satellite, and you can get cables back from the LNB to the receiver, then all is good. If you do a 'hail Hitler' impression in a SSE direction and there's clear line of sight, then that will work.
     
  5. mickevh

    mickevh
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    Yes, though ethenet and IIRC HDMI use a "star" rather than a "ring" topology. In ethenet, each cable lobe must have one, and only one, "active" component on either end. In a small SOHO LAN that's almost inevitable an ethernet switch one end (including the ethernet switch built in to a SOHO router - that's what the "LAN" ports are,) and then your equipment (PC's etc.) the other. (Faceplates and patch panel are "passive" components - basically just cable termination.)

    I'm not an HDMI expert, but I believe it's much the same - you'd need some kind of "matrix switch" I believe it's called, but others here are much better informed than me on HDMI.

    Analogue phones, (often called POTS - Plain Old Telephone System,) use a "common bus" wiring topology which means you can daisy chain port-to-port-to-port which you cannot do for ethernet & (probably) HDMI. However, if wiring up a house from scratch, I'd still plan POTS lines on a star topology and then "jump" the lobes of the star together in the centre (we can get into that more if you plan to do phones.) POTS doesn't need active "thing" to join the lobes together- you more or less just splice all the wires together.

    Not unless someone has invented such a combination ethernet/matrix switch. Otherwise you need to use separate devices - ethernet and HDMI signalling (over the wires) and packet formats are completely incompatible.

    For a SOHO LAN, unmanaged will be fine (and probably cheaper.) Managed and Unmanaged switches function exactly the same at ethernet switching. Enterprise class switches have "extra" features over and above ethernet switching, many of which will be of no interest to SOHO users. Such bonus features often need a degree of "configuring" and hence the switches availing them need a way to be "managed."

    Unmanaged switches are much simpler and require no "configuring" - power them up, plug in your ethernet devices and off you go.

    I advocate buying 10/100/1000 (AKA Gigabit) switches even if you don't (yet) have any Gigabit devices as the cost difference compared to slower/cheaper 10/100 switches is minimal. Though, if you're planning to buy a NAS, it'll very probably have a Gigabit NIC.

    I'm not a Sky expert - others here can speak to that in detail.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  6. D83

    D83
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    Very useful information, much appreciated, thanks.
     
  7. gagaga

    gagaga
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    Think carefully about the wiring upfront as it will reduce the number of cables a lot, and the nuber of holes you'll need. If you're going to be having clusters of devices in a room (WAP, camera, media player etc) it's a good point for a switch that can also power other cameras etc (or even a switch - netgear/ubiquiti make switches you can power from PoE, with a powered passthrough for ubiquiti as well).

    Given you want cameras too, make sure they are proper IP as many use cat 5 cables and PoE but you'd not wanting to be plugging them into your network.

    My network grew from old bits, but eventually I bit the bullet and went ubiquiti for everything bar firewall - got the controller (new on can do cameras too), switches, WAPs and the IP cameras. Easy to setup and it just works. All their kit also plays nice with vlans (i've got main, guest, iot and security vlans with all available from all parts of the house).
     
  8. maf1970

    maf1970
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    First I would get familiar with the regulations regarding listed buildings. Then make an appointment to go see your local planning dept. Each dept is different,some enforce the rules to the letter others don't. Pitch a rough idea of what you want to do and get them to tell you what you will need planning permission for. To be safe also ask them to put it in writing to you as well.
    For Sky, the dish can be in the grounds somewhere or the more common method is the same as for a block of flats, place the dish in the loft space and distribute the cable required as necessary. You will need to talk to Sky directly for exact details etc.
    You mentioned having a central BD player but that would still need the disc changed so have you considered ripping the films you own to suitable file format on the NAS box instead ? You could then just stream to each TV using inbuilt software or suitable streaming box.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  9. mushii

    mushii
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    Given that my brother was not allowed to install central heating in his 18th century Grade II Listed farm house, I think the above advice is extremely prudent.
     
  10. Markr123

    Markr123
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    Maybe a typo, but that’s not going to work. As someone mentioned earlier, line of sight required. Darn it, very heavy rain can impede the signal let alone a roof tile.
     
  11. maf1970

    maf1970
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    Right I've looked into things a bit more and apparently mounting a Sky dish on a Grade II listed building can be done with List Building Consent from the Local Planning Authority.
    So I can only reiterate very strongly this time that your first action is to visit the Local Planning Authority and find all about your Grade II listed building(Some listings are very exact about what is listed) and the conservation area rules/requirements as well.
    I would also try and find out when fibre may arrive in your area and also see if there is wireless point to point broadband available as that maybe an option as well.
     

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