Question Router / Switch / Patch Panel Confusion?

IrritatedBadger

Distinguished Member
Hi guys,

Currently in the process of getting CAT6 laid around the house by a electrician. I'm using BT Infinity with a BT HomeHub 5 which has a integrated modem. The patch panel and switch will be in the loft space. Ideally, I want the router and phone line downstairs. The BT master socket (with the dsl sockets for phone and broadband) are going in the roof while the phone and router will go downstairs.

Is it simply a case of plugging in the router downstairs via one of the ethernet sockets the electrician has installed, run this to the switch / patch panel first and it will distribute the network through the other usable sockets? We would want the phone line in our hallway so would it be a case of running a long dsl cable down through the roof to the landline corded phone? The dsl cable would need to be at least 5m to do so. Is this even possible? Will it affect the landline quality at all?

If anyone could clarify any issues / problems I may have with this particular set up I would appreciate it. :)
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
Is it simply a case of plugging in the router downstairs via one of the ethernet sockets the electrician has installed, run this to the switch / patch panel first and it will distribute the network through the other usable sockets?

Yes - in the logical topology, connect one (and only one) of the LAN ports of your router to one of the ports on the switch and you're good to go. The "LAN" ports in a SOHO router are a built-in ethernet switch, so there's no reason why you couldn't also use the remaining ones for connecting other "edge" devices if it was convenient or necessary.

How are you planning to achieve the connection from the master socket to the "WAN" port of your router...?

We would want the phone line in our hallway so would it be a case of running a long dsl cable down through the roof to the landline corded phone? The dsl cable would need to be at least 5m to do so. Is this even possible? Will it affect the landline quality at all?

The "master socket" is where the digital and voice of your incoming phone line are "split" (no longer is there need for the pesky mirco-filters of ADSL.) From that point onwards you need to keep the voice and data separate. So from the master socket, you can string up phone cables to anywhere you like as long as you wire them up correctly (any descent sparky will know how to do that.)

Similarly you need to take a separate line from the "DSL" output of the master socket to the "WAN" port of your router (or modem if you have a separate modem.) Generally you'd want to keep that link reasonably short, especially is you use the cheapy flat "DSL" cable that typically comes with your router. Flat cables tend to act like antenna, so the longer they are, the more likely they are to pick up interference. If you want to run that DSL link any distance, it might be better to run it over UTP (same cable type as the data network) as the "twists" reject interference better.

Historically, UTP was originally designed for phones, it was a "reverse engineering" job to put ethernet down it. Often times these days people think of UTP as being "ethernet" cable, but it can be used for other purposes, including carrying POTS or DSL.
 
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IrritatedBadger

Distinguished Member
Yes - in the logical topology, connect one (and only one) of the LAN ports of your router to one of the ports on the switch and you're good to go. The "LAN" ports in a SOHO router are a built-in ethernet switch, so there's no reason why you couldn't also use the remaining ones for connecting other "edge" devices if it was convenient or necessary.

How are you planning to achieve the connection from the master socket to the "WAN" port of your router...?



The "master socket" is where the digital and voice of your incoming phone line are "split" (no longer is there need for the pesky mirco-filters of ADSL.) From that point onwards you need to keep the voice and data separate. So from the master socket, you can string up phone cables to anywhere you like as long as you wire them up correctly (any descent sparky will know how to do that.)

Similarly you need to take a separate line from the "DSL" output of the master socket to the "WAN" port of your router (or modem if you have a separate modem.) Generally you'd want to keep that link reasonably short, especially is you use the cheapy flat "DSL" cable that typically comes with your router. Flat cables tend to act like antenna, so the longer they are, the more likely they are to pick up interference. If you want to run that DSL link any distance, it might be better to run it over UTP (same cable type as the data network) as the "twists" reject interference better.

The idea is to move the master socket into the loft but have the router downstairs in 1 room, phone line in another. The router is a BT Homehub 5 and takes the dsl cable straight into it as it has a modem built in. I do have another separate modem that can take the dsl cable and has a ethernet output to plug into another router / the HH but I am not currently using this. There is another separate cable from the master socket for the phone line alone like you said.

Would the best approach to be to have the modem up in the attic, wire one of the cat cables to go from the modem to the router's wan port (via the cat6 in the wall), and another ethernet cable (via cat6 in the wall) going back up from the router lan port into the switch? I would say the distance from where the sparky is putting the switch / patch panel (and presumably the master socket but I'm not sure on that part) and where we'd want the phone to be would be around 8 meters. I'm not sure I understand what you mean with the running over utp bit but I'm not knowledgeable with this kind of thing. :)
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Maybe it's worth us exploring why you are moving the master socket into the loft - what are you hoping to gain by it if you are not planning to have your router up there also...?

I wouldn't complicate matters with a separate modem. If BT's Hub will accept it's "WAN" connection on ethernet instead of DSL, it would be a way to go, but you're still going to have to run two cables of some sort from the loft to your router (one to carry the "WAN" connection, be it DSL or ethernet, one to carry the "LAN" connection back up the switch.) It would work, as you describe - one UTP link to carry ethernet from modem to routers WAN port, not UTP link to take the "LAN" back up to the switch.

If your master socket and switch are in your loft, it would be much simpler to locate your router there also. If that causes wi-fi coverage issue, then you could deploy additional Wi-Fi Access Points about the building as necessary to fill in the holes.

Wi-Fi is availed by "Access Points" not "routers" - SOHO routers just happen to have an AP built in to them.
 

IrritatedBadger

Distinguished Member
Maybe it's worth us exploring why you are moving the master socket into the loft - what are you hoping to gain by it if you are not planning to have your router up there also...?

I wouldn't complicate matters with a separate modem. If BT's Hub will accept it's "WAN" connection on ethernet instead of DSL, it would be a way to go, but you're still going to have to run two cables of some sort from the loft to your router (one to carry the "WAN" connection, be it DSL or ethernet, one to carry the "LAN" connection back up the switch.) It would work, as you describe - one UTP link to carry ethernet from modem to routers WAN port, not UTP link to take the "LAN" back up to the switch.

If your master socket and switch are in your loft, it would be much simpler to locate your router there also. If that causes wi-fi coverage issue, then you could deploy additional Wi-Fi Access Points about the building as necessary to fill in the holes.

Wi-Fi is availed by "Access Points" not "routers" - SOHO routers just happen to have an AP built in to them.

It's my father's 'bright' idea to keep everything tidy and out of the way. I've explained it's pointless but he's not playing dice. Ok so say the router is in the loft. How would we get the corded phone downstairs? Can you run DSL over ethernet? That's what is confusing me.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
DSL isn't anything to do with voice calls - quite the contrary; DSL is the mechanism for transmitting digital data over the voice telephone system.

Thus, you don't get DSL anywhere apart from the WAN port of your router and you certainly don't need DSL to make voice calls.

"Voice" and "DSL" are multiplexed down the phone line to your property. At some point a filter is used to "split" the two from each other. With ADSL, it was done with little micro-filters on all your phone sockets, with Infinity, OpenReach fit a new master socket with the filter/splitter built in. From that point onward, DSL goes one way and voice goes another - they are completely separate.

So from the master socket, you need one set of cabling to deliver the DSL to your router's WAN port and a second set of cabling to deliver "voice" to wherever you want your telephones.

Voice can be delivered over lots of cabling types including UTP. In big corporate office blocks we use the same type of cabling (UTP) for everything and sort out which lobes carry voice and and ethernet in the comms room by the way we patch things together. (Actually, these days we use VOIP mostly for phones, so I cite the example from olden days for illustration.)

So how do you get your voice link from the master socket? Any way you like - voice is pretty forgiving. Though if you're having UTP run in elsewhere, you may as well use UTP for voice too. Just be sure you don't (physically) connect anything "voice" to anything "ethernet" - the two should be kept separate after your master socket.

Incidentally, the two use different cabling topologies. Ethernet consists of multiple separate point-to-point cable lobes that are "joined" using active devices such as switches and routers. Voice phone use "common bus" topology where all the sockets are physically spliced together which is why you see voice phone sockets "daisy chained" to each other.
 

IrritatedBadger

Distinguished Member
DSL isn't anything to do with voice calls - quite the contrary; DSL is the mechanism for transmitting digital data over the voice telephone system.

Thus, you don't get DSL anywhere apart from the WAN port of your router and you certainly don't need DSL to make voice calls.

"Voice" and "DSL" are multiplexed down the phone line to your property. At some point a filter is used to "split" the two from each other. With ADSL, it was done with little micro-filters on all your phone sockets, with Infinity, OpenReach fit a new master socket with the filter/splitter built in. From that point onward, DSL goes one way and voice goes another - they are completely separate.

So from the master socket, you need one set of cabling to deliver the DSL to your router's WAN port and a second set of cabling to deliver "voice" to wherever you want your telephones.

Voice can be delivered over lots of cabling types including UTP. In big corporate office blocks we use the same type of cabling (UTP) for everything and sort out which lobes carry voice and and ethernet in the comms room by the way we patch things together. (Actually, these days we use VOIP mostly for phones, so I cite the example from olden days for illustration.)

So how do you get your voice link from the master socket? Any way you like - voice is pretty forgiving. Though if you're having UTP run in elsewhere, you may as well use UTP for voice too. Just be sure you don't (physically) connect anything "voice" to anything "ethernet" - the two should be kept separate after your master socket.

Incidentally, the two use different cabling topologies. Ethernet consists of multiple separate point-to-point cable lobes that are "joined" using active devices such as switches and routers. Voice phone use "common bus" topology where all the sockets are physically spliced together which is why you see voice phone sockets "daisy chained" to each other.

Thanks for all the help, think I'm getting there. It's definitely UTP CAT6 we are having run. So let's say the master socket / switch / modem / router are all in the loft. We run a cable from the master socket via the UTP cat6 and simply have a RJ11 port downstairs to plug the phone into?

What would be a solution if we wanted the router / modem downstairs for a better wifi connection? Do you have any switch recommendations? We have approximately 6 ethernet jacks dotted around the house currently but I did ask for him to do 2 runs.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Thanks for all the help, think I'm getting there. It's definitely UTP CAT6 we are having run. So let's say the master socket / switch / modem / router are all in the loft. We run a cable from the master socket via the UTP cat6 and simply have a RJ11 port downstairs to plug the phone into?

Could do. Though you should be able to insert RJ11 plugs into RJ45 sockets. Personally, with POTS analogue phones, I prefer to fit "BT" type sockets on the end so there's little chance of anyone inadvertently plugging a "phone" into a cable provisioned for "data" (ethernet) & vice-versa. If I'm running voice and data into the same patresse, I buy from a "modular" faceplate & socket series so I can mix & match BT, RJ45 & blanking plates as I desire.

What would be a solution if we wanted the router / modem downstairs for a better wifi connection? Do you have any switch recommendations? We have approximately 6 ethernet jacks dotted around the house currently but I did ask for him to do 2 runs.

If you want router downstairs, then I'd run the DSL link from the master socket down a UTP link to your router's WAN. Thence you'd need to take an ethernet link back up to the loft to facilitate the LAN link to your switch. Or leave the router in the loft and add Wi-Fi Access Points where needed.

I can't recommend any particular equipment because I don't see enough of it to make a judgement. A web site called SmallNetBuilder reviews a lot if this kind of thing. That said, these days many switches, even cheap ones, can run at "wired speed" on all ports so they are much of a muchness at the bottom end of the market. I'd just avoid anything that didn't have a recognised brand name and check out what warranty is provided.

A basic (say) 8 port switch is cheap as chips these days. I'd buy 10/100/1000, AKA "Gigabit" as the price difference compared to 10/100 is very little, even if I didn't (yet) have any Gigabit devices.
 

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