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Networking my new house

osmononame

Established Member
I'm in the process of finishing work on my new build house and although I have a basic understanding of setting up a network this is on a much larger scale than I have done before so wanted to get it checked before I proceed any further.

Every room in the house during the build was ran with 2x cat5e cables all going up to the attic. I have attached faceplates to all the points in the house using my very own punch tool :D - just how many I will have to redo I don't know yet! The issue I want clarified is how the setup should be arrange in the attic.

The way I'm thinking is:

Terminate at gigabit patch panel -> Connects to 24/48 port gigabit switch -> Connects to router -> Outside world :clap:

It looks simple enough when I've written it down but in my head it seemed really complicated.

Does this seem on the right lines for a home network install?
 

Kristian

Prominent Member
Just about right. Cat5E patch panel to match your cabling, no such thing as a gigabit patch panel. Your size of switch only needs to cover the number of devices you plan to use or sockets that will have devices connected to it e.g. 6 devices probably only needs an 8 port switch, so you can save some money.

As long as your router can plug into your switch and your ISP (adsl or cable) then you'll be fine. The closer an adsl modem/router is to the master socket the better.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Don't forget to label the sockets in your patch-panel (and the faceplates for that matter.) It's amazing ho fast you forget what goes where. ;)
 

osmononame

Established Member
Yeah, I am going to make sure the ports are labelled properly on both ends but it's going to take a lot of time. I will have to terminate about 40 connections and I found out today that the workmen had cut the cables down when they were working removing the markings which showed which cable was which so its going to make labelling and testing each port a nightmare.

About the patch panel - I had already bought one but just realised it was a CAT6E patch panel - I take it that this won't CAT5E cabling I have run?

I managed to pick up a 3COM 4500G 48 port gigabit switch from an office clearout for peanuts last year so although it'll be an overkill if I could get that working it would be ideal.

I have had Virgin run up to the attic and only have the 10meg service currently as it was the cheapest and will upgrade it to 50meg when I move in - I know the 50meg service can be hit or miss when you look at forum reports/complaints but I have it at my current home and it works perfectly.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
...I will have to terminate about 40 connections and I found out today that the workmen had cut the cables down when they were working removing the markings which showed which cable was which so its going to make labelling and testing each port a nightmare.

Bad luck. In such a situation at work, I'd terminate all the wall sockets first, then hook up my "tone generator" to each socket and pick through the spaghetti at the patch panel end with my "wand" (basically, it "squeaks" when you touch the "toned" cable) to locate each cable and thence punch it down where I wanted on the patch panel.

However, that's using a couple of hundred pounds worth of test gear. A cheap and cheerful variant on that theme would be to (temporarily) "loop back" one of the pairs in each cable then test at the patch panel end with a light bulb and a battery. Rather laborious, but doable.

Or maybe buy one of the cheap "loop back" testers that sell for a tenner at the likes Maplin or the auction sites that do more or less the same thing. (You can always punt it on again afterwards.)

About the patch panel - I had already bought one but just realised it was a CAT6E patch panel - I take it that this won't CAT5E cabling I have run?

IIRC, there's not much difference between the wire guage in cat5 & cat6. I'd be (very) surprised if you couldn't punch down cat5e onto cat6 IDC blocks.

I managed to pick up a 3COM 4500G 48 port gigabit switch from an office clearout for peanuts last year so although it'll be an overkill if I could get that working it would be ideal.

I've got a few 4500 POE's at work. They've been running for five years or so without a problem. Not exactly quiet, but you do get some "toys" to play with like VLAN's and Link Aggreegation which you may want to explore. To "get it working" I'd reset it to factory defaults and for basic switching duties you shouldn't need to do any more than just plug in. If you want to play with it's "feature" you'll have to give it an IP address. Download it's manuals off t'Internet - they'll explain how.
 
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ukprometheus

Established Member
remember the switch will be running 24/7 so a lower powered switch may pay for itself on the long run. :smashin:
just trying to be green.
how many ports you running to the lounge and are you using the cat5e for your phone too
 
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osmononame

Established Member
Each room has 2 cat5e cable runs so I will be terminating them all and wiring them up to the patch panel at the very least. From there how many will actually be used I couldn't tell you. The lounge has 2 points like every other room but I suppose I can add another switch there if 2 ports are not enough (which I don't think they will be).

I hadn't thought about the phone situation - the phone socket is in the attic too so could go with a 5 handset DECT system and maybe a hard wired phone in the kitchen (utilising one of the cat5e runs).

With the switch I will be using the 3COM unit to begin with and will be able to gauge just how many ports I will be using on a day to day basis and if its a under 24 (which it probably will be) then I'll get a smaller simpler switch but if its more than that I will stick with the 3COM.
 

ukprometheus

Established Member
if its easy to add another 2 ports to the lounge at this stage it may be a good idea.
evrything is appearing with an ethernet connection these days :smashin:
and i agree the dect phones are the way to go but it could be handy using one of the runs for the answer machine .
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I had a similar problem with tracing my spaghetti of cables and finding their faceplates.
I crimped RJ45s onto the unterminated ends and then
I bought a cheap network tester e.g. Ethernet Network tester | eBay UK
Connected the remote unit at the faceplate and then tried all the cables one by one at the patch point.
It gets progressively quicker to work out which cable goes where.
Then I labelled them up and cut them back then punched them down into the patch panel in a logical order room by room.
If your patch panel has a modular keystones then you can skip to terminating all the keystones and just slot them in in logical places once you've identified them.
I cut down the 'spare' ends with RJ45s on them and made some 30cm patch cables to route things.
With RJ45s at less than 10p each it wasn't as wastefull as it sounds and it also allowed me to identify some punchdown issues at the faceplates before I did the final punchdown into the patch panel.
All in all the punchdown too, tester, crimping tool and RJ45s cost less than £12.
 

osmononame

Established Member
I had a similar problem with tracing my spaghetti of cables and finding their faceplates.
I crimped RJ45s onto the unterminated ends and then
I bought a cheap network tester e.g. Ethernet Network tester | eBay UK
Connected the remote unit at the faceplate and then tried all the cables one by one at the patch point.
It gets progressively quicker to work out which cable goes where.
Then I labelled them up and cut them back then punched them down into the patch panel in a logical order room by room.
If your patch panel has a modular keystones then you can skip to terminating all the keystones and just slot them in in logical places once you've identified them.
I cut down the 'spare' ends with RJ45s on them and made some 30cm patch cables to route things.
With RJ45s at less than 10p each it wasn't as wastefull as it sounds and it also allowed me to identify some punchdown issues at the faceplates before I did the final punchdown into the patch panel.
All in all the punchdown too, tester, crimping tool and RJ45s cost less than £12.


I thought about doing it that way but thought you couldn't terminate solid cable with rj45 connectors? I have all the tools you mentioned apart from the cable tester which I have now ordered.
 

Kristian

Prominent Member
Variation on Mick's suggestion. Assuming you have a cheap modtap/continuity tester you could terminate all room cables and then terminate a cable at the central end to another module. You'd need to visit the rooms and test to find the far end of the one you've just tested. If you don't have a tester then use a laptop and switch. keep plugging the laptop in until the NIC gets a connection. Then terminate properly onto the patch panel. You'll only need to terminate 1, 2, 3 and 6 initially as this will give you 100M.

Or just terminate the lot on the patch panel however and put up with cable numbers that don't follow a pattern in the rooms. Doesn't really matter as long as they are labelled correctly...
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I thought about doing it that way but thought you couldn't terminate solid cable with rj45 connectors? I have all the tools you mentioned apart from the cable tester which I have now ordered.

There's no problem with terminating solid cable with RJ45 connectors. As my patch panel cables will rarely (if ever) be removed I wasn't bothered about them being less flexible or a bit longer than they would be with stranded.

This video explains how to terminate solid core cable, I've never used stranded cable so I don't know what (if any) difference that would make.
YouTube - How to make a Cat5e Network/Ethernet Cable

I bought this crimping tool but there are loads on the bay for pocket money.
RJ45 RJ11 Crimping Tool Crimper Cable Cutter Strippers | eBay UK

[edit] Didn't realise that video would embed - very shiny :) [/edit]
 

osmononame

Established Member
Hey guys,

Thought I'd update this thread to tell all how I got on. I bought a cable tracer as was suggested on this thread and although at first all the tones sounded the same to me I got used to using it and after that finding the cables was easy.

What I did was terminate all the wall plates around the house and then attached the pulse bit of the tracer to the faceplate and went looking for the cable in the loft, when I found it I terminated and labelled it. Did that for every cable in the house and then when they were all terminated I went round testing it with a cable tester. Had to redo about 15% of the faceplates but curiously every connection on the patch panel was fine, got them all done and tested in the end.

I fixed the patch panel into a rack and put the switch in there also. As said before the switch is an overkill and is pretty loud so if I can find a fan less switch for a decent price then I will consider getting that.

Pictures attached.
 

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