New Cons. Home Network Set-Up... Thoughts? Prayers?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by tgeppes, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. tgeppes macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2009
    All Powerful MacRumor members....

    I have been lurking in the shadows the past few months while my home is under construction. In about 3 weeks my drywall will be put in and I am looking to install a wired home network system but I wanted to get your impression... to make sure I am not missing anything...

    House: 2,600 square feet. 4 Bedrooms and 3 baths. I am planning on running 4 drops to each room and wiring completely with Cat 6 cable ( I know it might be over kill but I figure it is better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it)

    Computers: I have a MacBook pro, 24 inch iMac and a mac mini. I use my MacBook Pro when i am on the road. My iMac i use at home and the mac mini actually is going to be hooked up to my big screen tv in my home theater system... (i have never done the mini to tv thing before but heard nothing but good things) I am planning on doing this over the Apple TV idea... (thoughts?)

    Wireless: Although the end state of the system is to be wired I understand that there is a need for wireless service (ie iPhone support). I was thinking about using the apple Time Capsule... This should give me good wireless in addition to offering the back up options on all my systems... Good move or bad? Should i think about connecting the Firewire 800 to the iMac or is that problematic

    Switch: THIS is new to me... Running so many drops i need a switch my comm guys are telling me to go with an unmanaged 10/100/1000 switch -- actually suggesting the $275 Netgear SGS524F 10/100/1000 MBPS system.. What do you think? overkill? not enough?

    Install: I am an EOD troop with the military. I am planning on running my own wires and doing all the crimping/knockdown in house. I know it will be a major pain but I kinda enjoy this kind of stuff...

    Hard Drive... I dunno? Do i buy something that attaches to the switch? Is it possible? VERY open to suggestions on this one...

    What problems do you guys foresee? I know i will have problems but I am just trying to work them right now versus down the road...

    BTW: I have budgeted 6k for this operation... Right now I am coming in WAY under that amount but open to good suggestions...

    Thanks in advance...

  2. DivineEvil macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009
    What the... First of all why do you need 4 drops in each room? Do you really need that "much" performance? Do you want to have a drop at every 5 feet?

    In my opinion it's worthless. It's waste of time and money. Why? Because:
    1) You don't have that much computers. You need a switch like the Netgear one, if you have a Cyber cafe or an office with about 20 Computers... Those computers are online most of the time and they actually use the resources more efficiently than your 3 computer even if they are online 24/7.
    2) I think 1 drop in each room is enough. The place it should be is as close to the work desk as possible. People mainly use their computer's on a desk. This way you save not only money, but also you get to see less cables.
    3) Don't underestimate the power of Wireless N. It can be used not only for iPhone support.

    What I recommend is this:
    1) Make a plan on where you are going to put your furniture e.g where you are most likely to put a PC/Mac whatever in each room.
    2) Put a drop point near each place you are going to put a PC (personal computer for future reference. (You should have a total of at most 6. Usually 4 (1 for each room).
    3) Don't worry that you won't have 16 drops. If you need to use more than 1 PC in the room, you can use WiFI.
    Here is a scheme on how to connect your PCs.

    Internet Device (Cable Modem usually) -> Router (TimeCapsule) -> 4 cat6 drops (4 PCs in each room). WiFi any additional devices... Printer/Scanner via the USB port in the Router and a USB hub if you need more than 1 USB port.

    I think that scheme is the cheapest and most efficient (less cables, both in the walls and from the wall to the PCs, not need for a 24 port switch that isn't going to be used more than 15% at any given time) for a house like yours.
  3. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    You should test and label your cables.

    Um if one cable died, you have extras.

    It doesn't cost much more to do 4 drop than 1 drop, and it's more future proof.
    For example, ethernet cable can be adopted for VOIP phones system, or even regular phone (like you need it any more).

    FYI, you don't need to quote the first post.
  4. DivineEvil macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009
    Please enlighten me... how does a cable die if it's sealed in the wall? When ones sealed it doesn't move/bend at all? I've never heard of a dieing cable in a wall...
  5. tgeppes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2009
    I understand it might be overkill but I really would like the added value security of a wired system and now is the time to install before the walls go in...

    Adding 4 drops to a room versus one costs about 17 dollars more...

    What do you think about the switch? Is that what i need? What about external hard drive selection...

    Do i connect the Time Machine via Firewire or just run it through the Cat 6?
  6. RandomKamikaze macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2009
    Rats eating the cables. People mistreating the connectors. General DIY accidents. I have seen perfectly good cables just die.

    Also, what if people bring their computers round and want to plug-in?

    tgeppes I wasn't able to actually find that switch via both a Google search and a search of the Netgear. It sounds like a 24-port switch. That will be fine, as it will be able to used for expandability as well. And unmanaged for a home setup is fine.

    Wireless, as N is now approved, get something with N. A time capsule will be pretty good actually as it will allow for you to have 2 Wi-Fi networks, one for you and one for your guests that is separate from your own machines. Should you decide on a NAS for your backups, you can just get a normal wi-fi access point which will be cheaper

    Network Attached Storage (NAS): very useful. I am currently looking at the Netgear ReadyNAS, Sybology and QNAP products. All are pretty cool, allow for TB's of storage and feature support for Time Machine Backups.

    In terms of products, I like Netgear products. I have had a Netgear ADSL router with A/B/G wireless and an 8-port gigabit switch. Not had a single problem with either bit of kit.
  7. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    I also agree that running 4 drops to each room is a good idea. The point is that it's cheap to do while the walls are just studs.

    Personally, I'd look into running a few extra cat6 cables to the TV rooms. Many TV devices are adding ethernet capabilities and wired is more reliable than wireless.

    Also, if you have spare cat6 runs, you could always use them to run video using HDMI/cat6 adapters at both ends. Could come in handy.

    Do it now as it'll cost $$$$$ after the walls are up.
  8. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    There have been MANY times I have said, "Man, I wish I had thought to put a jack on this wall." Even last night, I was digging around the basement with a flashlight trying to figure out how I'm going to drill and fish a new run to the living room.

    I don't think you will EVER say "Wow, I put in too many drops", especially not if the price difference is $17!

    Yes, you will definitely want to label everything carefully when you put the jacks and plates on.

    CAT6 drops can be used for many things. Obviously Ethernet drops, for your computers, network hard drives (time capsules), shared network printers, Apple TVs, PS3, Xbox, PVRs, Tivos, cable box, BluRay player... Even modern TVs and home theater equipment can take advantage of internet connectivity. Many of those things support wireless, but hey, if you've got ports, why not take advantage of the extra speed and reliability.

    (As for a network hard drive, I have a D-Link DNS-323, and I'm quite pleased with it. You can throw all your MP3's on it and it will behave like a shared iTunes library, and plenty of other cool features.)

    You might one day want a whole-house music system using something like Airport Express, Logitech Squeezebox, Sonos. They'll want to hook into your network too. Maybe a computer in the kitchen? Maybe an internet radio in the bedroom? Again, many of these things can use wireless, but if you have the jacks, why not.

    Other than Ethernet: CAT6 cable can be used as speaker wire for connecting speakers throughout the house. It can distribute video signals too.

    Oh, and of course, they can be hooked up as phone lines.

    If you didn't know already: is the place to buy all your keystone RJ45 jacks, wall plates, and patch cords. :)
  9. exabytes18 macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2006
    Suburb of Chicago
    I'd consolidate all your networking equipment in a single point in your home so that you can connect it up to a nice UPS. If you still feel like burning cash after that, buy a rack so that you can rackmount everything. :cool:
  10. tgeppes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2009
    Thanks for the help. I did not think wanting to put 4 drops in each room was obtuse but no one was siding with me...

    I will look into the switches and hard drives. I am planning on running everything through a central hub in the laundry room. Complete with BPU and cooling system. Thanks.
  11. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    I think most regular people (the ones that don't check tech forums like Macrumors) will think 4 drops to each room is overkill and a waste of money. For them, it is ... but that's because they don't have the same vision as the folks here do.

    What happens is that the regular folks will buy a new BluRay player with Ethernet and then ask one of us to help them set it up. When we say, "you should have put a couple Cat6 runs here," they look all confused. Then they complain about having to buy a $70 wifi adapter.

    Whatever you end up with will be light years easier to configure and a million times more reliable.

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