Semi advance wired home network help?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by MacMike81, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. MacMike81 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio
    #1
    Hey group, I am slowly moving all my devices that are capable to wired on my home network.

    My question is I have 2 long runs (50' and 100') to separate "entertainment" centers; TV, satellite box, ATV, game system.

    I am using an AirPort Extreme. Is the preferred method to take each long run to a switch and go to each device from there?

    Also in a attempt to future proof myself, at some point I plan to get a NAS. How would that be configured in the network layout?
     
  2. mac8867 macrumors 6502

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    Saint Augustine, FL
    #2
    Don't think of it as "runs," think of it as destinations. 100' destination needs 1 cat 6 cable run to it. If there is only one device there, then you do not need a switch. If there are multiple devices there, then you need a switch. (a switch it almost always less expensive than 3 or 4 x 100' of cat 6 cable)

    You would plug it into your network at a convenient place for accessibilty, clean air, temperature. I plug mine into the main home router.
     
  3. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #3

    There is no requirement for 'cat 6' that I'm aware of for runs over 100'. The 'spec' says 100m, or about 330'.

    The old adage 'Your mileage may vary' holds true for wired as well as wireless networking though.

    The true decision has to be made by what environment you are running this cable through. I've seen 50' runs unusable because of interference, and yet I've had slightly over 300' runs, with standard 'cat 5e' cable, work flawlessly. There are ways to deal with interference, if any, that you could use if the run isn't usable after installation.

    After such a long run, it would be advised to have a switch at the far-end. I'd do it, just for the obvious idea that you may want to add something else at the end of such a long run, and also a switch should be able to compensate for some of the issues from such a long run. Sticking that Airport Extreme at the end would be great as it also has an unmanaged switch built-in.

    Also fiber is an option. I had a run for a friend that I did by getting a rather longish fiber patch cord with a pull cord on it, and got some fairly cheap media converters, and it works gangbusters. We had access to some salvaged interduct and ran it through that and then through their attic, wall, and crawlspace. Fiber has the advantage of being 'future-proof' to a large degree by replacing the ends and the transceivers.

    As far as where to stick a NAS, in a totally switched environment, it almost doesn't matter, but that being said, I'd still recommend putting it near where it's going to be used the most. Like, if the far-end of that 100' run is going to be 'entertainment', and it's going to get the most use by devices at that end, than I'd stick it 'out there'. It's still accessible from the whole network, but you don't have to use your whole network to get the content.
     
  4. MacMike81 thread starter macrumors member

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    Ohio
    #4
    Awesome. Thanks guys!

    My 100' run is prob really less than 75' but I have a 100' cat6. Guess I could cut it for this instillation.

    The Cat6 is running from the 1st floor out of the Airport down to the crawl then up to the attic via the cold air return(prob). At that point into a switch.

    If the switch can handle the elements I am ok leaving it in the attic, if not I'll pop a hole in the upstairs laundry room and build a small shelf.

    Upstairs there will be a TV, sat box, ATV, and one run into a wall plate in the future.

    Downstairs, which is already run, is to a older Netgear switch (GS605) then to a TV, game system, sat box.

    Are there switches that are better than others? Mac friendly?
     
  5. PinkyMacGodess, Aug 4, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015

    PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #5
    According to the 'standard', a switch is a switch. I have run into some issues mixing switch brands in the past. Given that only a few manufacturers actually make their own consumer grade switches, the chances of having the same general switch 'guts' is pretty great.

    I wouldn't worry about it.

    Personally, I prefer 'managed switches' over un-managed ones, but you pay for the intelligence. I have a managed switch at the core of my network. It has helped in the past to pinpoint issues. (Had a damn HP printer NIC go psycho once. It only did it occasionally, but would kill the whole network. But anyway)

    I've used Netgear for a while. I like the Cisco SMB switches with POE. Have an AP with POE, and it saved a power run on that one.

    Switches are commodity items now. I wouldn't worry about it. There are brands that I stay away from, but that's just my personal beef over the years.

    That metal cold air return makes excellent shielding BTW...

    Oh, putting a switch in an attic? I would not do that, and wouldn't recommend it. You need power up there, and, at least in my attic, it gets on the far end of 'toasty'. PLUS some building codes frown on having stuff in attics. If the cold air return shares a wall and you can stick a jack in that without too much drama, I'd really do that. It's a PITA, but beats having to get into the attic on a really hot day to swap out the barbequed switch. I don't know many switches at the big box stores that would take to heat very well. Even one with a fan would probably fail pretty quickly.
     
  6. MacMike81 thread starter macrumors member

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    Ohio
    #6
    Ok. I was thinking I can prob just swap my wifi bridge with a switch and run my cat6 to it. Then I wouldnt need to do anything really.

    Looks like I can pick up a TP-LINK TL-SG108 8 port for under $30 locally. Might get one for each floor.
     
  7. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #7
  8. MacMike81 thread starter macrumors member

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  9. Mikael H macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Re switches:
    I've stopped buying the absolutely cheapest switches simply because of bad experiences with how they age. At least three times (once at work, twice at home), I've had "inexplicable" network problems, which went away after replacing a "cheap" switch (Netgear and DLink respectively) that had been on for a couple of years.
    I still only have good things to say about HP's smaller models of managed switches, but they're three-four times more expensive than the cheapest comparable non-managed alternatives on the market, of course. Then again: If they work longer with fewer issues (which they have, incidentally), then it's not a bad purchase.
     
  10. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #10
    I bought a Cisco SG100-08P, and it rocks! No problems, and it seems to pass traffic faster and more reliably so. There is also an SG100-08, without the 'P', which is for POE (Power Over Ethernet) for access points and other remote powered equipment.

    I'm liking it. It's not the Cisco bought (D-Link?) stuff from a few years ago.
     
  11. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #11
     
  12. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #12
    Routing the physical cable is all about keeping it from being seen, or tripped on. Running through a plenum space is primo space. Also making sure that the cable isn't kinked when pulling. When running through wall plenum spaces, rigging up a strain relief to hold the cable so it doesn't pull out of the jack (You do use jacks and wall plates, don't you?) is half of the deal. The other half is getting the cable to where it needs to be. Don't be afraid of running the cable in out of the way places. You probably won't be running a new one for a while, if ever.

    A home run is not necessary. You can, if you want, but at some point the multitude of cables becomes a logistic issue. THAT is why you would use a switch at the end of a longish run, or between congregations of nodes. Given that most switches work so fast, and the chances of hundreds of people being active between one end and the other of his shortish network segment run, I wouldn't think that traffic is an issue. And less optimized is a rather odd thing to say. But whatever.

    Some cat6 cable is a real pain in the bottom to work with. Bonded pairs, stiffer, odd spacers, yada yada yada. Cat 6 is overkill in many applications. In my company, if the cat 5e didn't work (interference), we went immediately to fiber, as cat 6 isn't immune to interference anymore than cat 5e at many levels, and the other option of STP is a real bucket of poop when you try to use it. As a matter of fact, in my experience, most people screw up installing STP cable. I've run metallic thin wall conduit in some situations, but that is a real pain in the drain...

    But, all that aside, I really like the bimbos, both male and female, that I hear at the local Worst Try, etc, declaring that wireless will 'Fix All Of Your Problems'.

    Yeah... If I had a dollar for every person that went home with wireless gear and couldn't get it to work...

    Oh, and why not cat 5e? The local Home Despot was blowing it out because 'everyone wants cat 6'. Yeah, and cat 5e for shortish, and clean runs is perfect...

    But anyway. As with everything, your mileage may vary...
     
  13. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    on the land line mr. smith.
    #13
    Agreed, CAT 6 is less fun to terminate, at least with an RJ45. And the fact that running/hiding/protecting the cable is the real issue.

    Was assuming this was a home install, and buying pre-made cables Monoprice cable is very good in my experience (much of their stuff is low price/low quality), so why not but these and be done. Terminating for a novice is slow, confusing, and problematic.
     
  14. monokakata, Aug 28, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015

    monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #14
    I just want to endorse what Pinky said about using wallplates and jacks. Be sure to do this. Running a cable either with RJ45s on the ends, or adding them later, locks you in to what you laid down originally.

    So terminate at jack/wall plate at each end. Then do your short runs with ordinary cables. It doesn't sound as though you'll be needing a patch panel, but if you're looking ahead you might consider it (instead of a wall plate/jack at the end where you'll have your router, NAS and so on).

    I've had a lot of gigabit switches (Netgear entry level, and others) and by far the best have been the Netgear GS 108Tv2 -- they can run as managed, or unmanaged, have POE and so on. Mine have worked flawlessly for a couple of years.
     
  15. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #15
    I have seen so many people that have used pulled wire, through a wall, and they crimped a plug on the end, and either they stripped the wires (yeah, really, I've seen it) or the cable broke over time because it was solid conductor. I even, actually, saw someone that got a spool of stranded cable somehow, and terminated that into jacks, and wondered why they failed (the individual conductors were stranded, and the jacks had nothing to hold on to) after a few months.

    Patch panels are for 'distribution'. Place them where you are transitioning from many to one. Like, yes, near the switch at the router. Or, at a floor, where multiple devices feed into a switch from a lead from another switch, or patch panel.

    But yeah, use jacks, face plates, 'low voltage' wall plate adapters. It'll keep things organized, secured, and somewhat more permanent, especially if you are going between floors and such...

    But 'quick and dirty' works, but all my Q&D jobs have ended up being more permanent, and I just figure cutting out the BS, and tripping on cables/etc, things work...

    But anyway...

    Good luck all...
     

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