In our prior townhouse, I had this dream of running Gigabit Ethernet through the walls, so I could have blazing fast speeds. Alas, it was a pain in the butt, it would cost quite a bit of money, and we didn’t know how long we would be in the house for. It’s been a few years now, and we’re in the new house, and we’re still wireless. Well, until now, but no longer.
As part of the recent Living Room / Lounge transformation, we budgeted some extra cash to get the home network project off the ground. [Okay, I budgeted for it, and my wife gave up in the interest of marital harmony.] While we have 802.11ac wireless in the house, the access point is on one side of the house, but should be centrally located to all devices. We have 4 TB of movies and tv shows running on a Plex media server, and I want to stream content to all devices as fast and easily as possible. I eventually want to have a media client at both TVs in order to serve up the Ipe Media Library. Wireless is nice, but Gigabit Ethernet is better when streaming 40 GB movie files. I want to reserve the wireless network for the Sonos music system, plus phones and tablets.
The key elements of the plan were:
- We [Okay, just me.] decided to wire the main floor and basement with Cat6 Ethernet network cable. Cat6 provides Gigabit speeds (up to 1000 megabits per second), and suffers less from potential interference and future-proofs me for the road ahead.
- Dropping 4 port network jacks in the Home Office, Family Room, and Kitchen.
- Moving the FiOS router to the basement.
- Connecting every room via network switch.
- Moving the wireless access point to the kitchen.
- Laying network cable through the basement drop ceiling, and hard-wiring the Basement devices (Playstation 3, Playstation 4, TiVo, and whatever else is next,)
We had a lot of the project completed. I ordered the equipment — wall plates, modular plugs, keystone jacks, 1000 feet of Cat6 network cable, power strip, etc), and the electrician completed most of the work over the course of a few days. Running the network cable was the easy part — capping each end of the network cable took him forever. For the network switch, I choose the NETGEAR JGS524NA 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Rackmount Network Switch. The access point is situated nicely and out of the way in the kitchen, and the kids and I successfully snaked the network cable and power cord in a narrow gap between the kitchen cabinets. (Unexpected bonus.)
The storage room is a bit messy, so that’s a work in progress. I’d like to take down that old wire shelving in the future, and put up a nice rack at some point. I have more equipment planned, and this current setup is quite what I’m looking for. The basement isn’t done yet either. While I wanted to get that done too, we decided to prioritize the kitchen first, and save some money. Instead, I have to run the wire in the basement on my own, cap the wires, etc. While I planned to run four wires there, for now, I’ll only run one network cable, and use a Netgear 5-port switch (also purchased last week.) None of the basement devices is expected to transfer or download files concurrently, so no big deal.