Need Desperate Help With Firewire Cabling Issue!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Bazzy, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. Bazzy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #1
    Hi All,

    I have a June 2009 17" UMBP. I will soon be starting work whereby I will be hiding all cables under the floor from one of the room to the other and plan on using wall-plates at each wall to which I can then connect stuff as need be.

    I am really not that technical so please forgive me if I come across really ignorant & Firewire really confuses me - there seems to be so many different types of cables and connectors, that I just do not know which to get.

    I guess I would want Firewire so I can at least use it to do higher speed transfers from the UBMP to say a hard drive or future Apple media computer/NAS as USB is way too slow.

    If I am correct, the 17" UMBP has a 9 Pin Firewire 800 port? My idea is to have a short Firewire cable connected between the UMBP and first Firewire Wallplate or Keystone Jack Couplers (KSJC’s) preferably. At the back of this first wall-plate will run a cable of about 6 metres (20ft) under the floor to another wall-plate/KSJC’s at the other end of the room. From this second wall-plate/KSJc’s, I plan to connect a second shorter Firewire cable again to say the hard drive/Future NAS etc.

    All I know at this stage (if correct) is that I will need a Firewire cable connection that my June 2009 UMBP has Firewire 800/9-Pin to connection. What others do I need whilst keeping maximum transfer capability?:

    1) Are there any Firewire 800 9-Pin Wall-plates or Keystone Jacks Couplers? (I can only find Firewire 400 & 6 Pin on the web)

    2) Can all the different Firewire's be mixed up and what are the consequences - mixing 400 & 800, 9-Pin & 6-Pin etc

    3) How should I best cable this and which cables should I get at the various stages - would I ideally want Firewire 800/9 Pin cables all the way?

    4) Can I bypass all this and still use the Firewire 800 port on my UMBP but instead of using Firewire Cables use some sort of adapter & use Cat5e/Cat6e cables instead and still have the high speeds? (sorry if that is really stupid - just clutching at ideas!) - What other options can I try?

    I have attached a diagram as best I can to illustrate better what I am trying to do - please kindly have a look and advise me of my best options, I would be so extremely grateful! Please kindly explain very simply as I am a novice & lost as it is!

    Many Thanks,

    Bazzy!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. rowsdower macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    #2
    I'm not sure what kind of cables you can use for this. Wikipedia says that you can get 100Mb/s for 100 meters on standard Cat 5e cables, and that you can get 3200Mb/s for 100 meters on optical cables. The standard maximum for FireWire 800 seems to be 4.5 meters. Keep in mind that every connector will degrade your signal.
     
  3. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #3
    Why don't you give us a little more information in terms of what type of files you will be working with and therefore what type of speed you need for access. For example, if all you are doing is word processing, database, spreadsheet, kind of stuff than you could access your drives wirelessly and may not need any cable connection at all. However, if you need the speed of a hardwire connection then I would suggest doing a standard network with Cat5 or Cat6 cabling and using network attached storage drives.

    Firwire is typically used for short length connections like portable external drives, cameras, and other peripherals. I'm not sure I've ever heard of someone doing what you are asking with firewire.

    Where are wanting to do this, your home, a small rented office, etc. ? Are you setting up a server that will house your actual programs and using the laptop as an access point or are the hard drives just storage only?
     
  4. Bazzy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #4
    Hi Mscriv!

    “Why don't you give us a little more information in terms of what type of files you will be working with and therefore what type of speed you need for access. For example, if all you are doing is word processing, database, spreadsheet, kind of stuff than you could access your drives wirelessly and may not need any cable connection at all.”

    Hi, Well, all files really, I am planning to set up something whereby I can download stuff including documents, music, movies, photos, HD movies & stuff etc. Is wireless safe? can anyne else “intercept” & break into one’s system like they can at WiFi spots? Is it fast enough? If it is then great but all I know, is the Firewire 800 is the fastest possible way to transfer files & data aand I find USB very, very slow.

    “However, if you need the speed of a hardwire connection then I would suggest doing a standard network with Cat5 or Cat6 cabling and using network attached storage drives”

    I am having Cat5 cables installed - are they as fast or faster than FW800? Is Cat6 even Faster as I have redundant spaces for a couple of Cat6 cables as well.

    “Firewire is typically used for short length connections like portable external drives, cameras, and other peripherals.”

    I see, I did not know that - It;s just that I see FW cables that go up to 32 ft - even more with something called repeaters/extenders(?) and my need was less than that!

    “I'm not sure I've ever heard of someone doing what you are asking with firewire.”

    I just wished for a clutter free environment by hiding all the wires permanently - it’s just the same as having one’s computer at one end of the room & the back-up hard-drives permanently at the very other and instead of having a long cable trailing across the room, having it set up prior instead whereby I can plug a short FW Cable from my UBMP to a wall-plate nearest my computer from which a longer FW cable will be connected under the floor to a wall-plate on the other side of the room. From this wall-plate, I can then connect a final short FW cable to the back up hard drives. (Just like people do with speaker cables) - everything is permanently in place and instantly accessible with no wires in sight or out of the way at least.

    “Where are wanting to do this, your home, a small rented office, etc. ?”

    It will be in my home. I want to be able to easily and very quickly transfer stuff from my computer to a set of future Hard Drive bays across the other side of the room and these bays will act as back up for my computer & others to old various other things like music collections, movie collections, HD definition content etc. I also will be planning to try and integrate everything with a HDTV so I can make best use of multimedia & file sharing between the computer & HDTV if that makes sense.

    “Are you setting up a server that will house your actual programs and using the laptop as an access point or are the hard drives just storage only?”

    I really do not know what a server is but I think I will use the Hard Drives for storage & access only (unless there is a better way?) I know very little about these things & usually blindly follow the crowd!

    For example, I need to plan for a decent multi-media capable back up solution & I know there are so many options but I keep reading about how very good “Drobo” is. However, upon checking, the only way to connect to Drobo is via USB (way too slow) or Firewire! In my case, the Drobo unit would be physically too far away so I would need long enough FW Cables to connect to it with my laptop if that makes sense!

    Is Drobo good? Is there any better way to back-up & store multiple forms of different data & that which is really fast? Please forgive me, I am very ignorant regarding these things! PS: If optical is so fact, can that be used instead of Firwire 800 between my MBP & say a set of Hard Drives?

    Bazzy!
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    You DON'T want to run firewire cables underneath the floor or through walls.

    Firewire is not intended for such things.

    On a very simplified basis, think of Firewire as you would think of USB. It's a method of connecting one or more devices close to the wherever the computer is.

    There are also "maximum cable length" issues for Firewire, and that maximum length is far less than for Ethernet. As poster rowsdower mentioned, the "max" for firewire is about 4.5 meters or 15 feet. Longer than that, and you're tempting trouble.

    Cabling is simple. You look at the port of your host device, look at the port of your device to be connected, and pick out the proper cable to fit between them. Most drives will come with at least one cable. If it isn't the right one, go to a place like monoprice.com and find what you need.

    If it's a matter of backing up to a hard drive that's "across the room", either bring the hard drive to the Mac, connect it, do your backing up, then disconnect and move the hard drive back to storage. Or, just take the laptop to the other side of the room and do the same thing.

    You're trying to read way, WAY too much into what firewire is, and what it is for.

    Get your Mac and firewire devices relatively close together for connection.

    Doing what you want to do will probably end up causing you more trouble than it's worth.
     
  6. Bazzy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #6
    Hi!

    Thanks for the help! Are there any external Hard Drives that are compatible with Time Machine (& that can be possible accessed wirelessly as well then) which have the faster ethernet connections at the back? Most seem to have only Firewire & USB so I hope you can see my predicament. In my case, You have stated FW is not suitable & USB is way too slow! What would be the very fastest way to back up, access, download & transfer in my case?

    Also, would "Multimedia Hard Drives" or "NAS" be of benefit to me? I keep reading about such things but the technical aspects leave me a little lost! I would like to integrate computer/HDTV/Multimedia as much as possible like a HTPC I guess using my UMBP.

    Bazzy!
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    "You have stated FW is not suitable & USB is way too slow!"

    I never once stated that, anywhere.

    "What would be the very fastest way to back up, access, download & transfer in my case?"

    Get yourself a firewire drive. Make it a firewire 800 drive if your Mac has a firewire 800 port.
    Connect it.
    Back up, etc.
    When finished, either disconnect it, or turn it off (disconnection preferable).

    What could be more simple than that?
     
  8. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #8
    OK Bazzy, I think what seems to be confusing people is that it sounds like you want to set all of this up in one room, like a home office. If I'm understanding correctly then why the need to have wires run under the floor or available at multiple wall plates? Most people who want wall plate access do so for the availability of having a network throughout the home/office and thus available in multiple rooms.

    Based on what you want to do I think a wireless home network with N speed would be sufficient to transfer files and it would not require any cabling at all. Wireless networks can be encrypted for security so I would not worry too much about people "intercepting" your signal. If you want a wired network then Cat5/Cat6 is the way to go and it will give you the fastes possible speed. For HTPC options you will get the best result with a wired network.

    The way a wired network works is you have a central server, computer, or just a network router from which you run cabling to multiple rooms for connection to specific devices through a wall plate. Then you connect items to the network and they are available to any computer that can access the network. Using this method, the most simple solution for storage is a NAS (network attached storage) drive that will connect via Cat5/Cat6 to the router.

    I hope this makes sense. Let us know if you have any other questions.

    EDIT: Do you have multiple computers or is the UMBP the only computer you will be using in this set up?
     
  9. Bazzy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #9
    Hi Fisherman,

    I am so very sorry sir, I did make it clear that I am quite ignorant about these things and not very technical & therefore it is very difficult for me to sometimes express what I mean/intend & convey it to experts in the know in a clear way. Please accept my profound apologies.

    I just assumed FW was unsuitable as it was stated to me that it was suitable only for short distances which at the time, my cable runs would have been 10 metres which exceeds the 4.5 metre limit. I just then assumed it would not be suitable for what I had in mind.

    Bazzy!
     
  10. joaoferro37 macrumors 6502

    joaoferro37

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    Jul 31, 2008
    Location:
    Vogon Planet Destructor
    #10
  11. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #11
    Do as others have stated, just bring your hard drives to your computer and transfer the info that way. Also, USB 2 is almost as fast as FW400 for transferring normal files, ie; movies and music. I don't think the sustained speeds are as fast, but for movie files, we are talking a matter of seconds difference. If it was a whole library (ie 100GB or something), it would be a significant difference...

    Also, you could buy another dedicated HD or server for the price of all the cables you would be buying. Even from monoprice, a 3ft FW cable is like $4. And as said before, FW is like HDMI, as in terms of how effective it is in length. All HDMI cables act the same, transfer the data at the same rate to a certain point. That is where the $50+ cables are worth their money. If you need a 30 foot HDMI cable, you would go with monster (or whatever) rather than a cheap HDMI cable.. but again, i am no guru or expert.

    I think you are better off getting a wireless HDD or timecapsule or something, rather than run cables everywhere. I am sure after all is said and done with money spent and labor, the cost will be about the same..

    BTW, i despise wires:) Thanks Apple!
     

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