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My network upgrade

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dale00474

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Joined: 30 Jun 2011, 11:28 pm

Location: Adelaide, SA

Post 24 Sep 2014, 10:01 am

My network upgrade

As I said in another post I am currently working on my home network. Just thought I would throw in a few bits of what I am doing for those wishing to one day network a house. I wanted to give brief explanation of some of the choices and maybe even get some of the community into a discussion on home networks and anything you guys may have done yourselves.

Purpose of my network: Primarily as an internet and media server.

I have two bedrooms, an office, lounge room, kitchen and separate shed with a solar array.

The kitchen has my phone connection. I am switching from Telstra cable (so bloody expensive) to Optus ADSL 2+. First I have to run twisted pair Ethernet from the phone jack (can't be bothered using dedicated twisted pair phone cable) from the kitchen to the office which is where my ADSL modem is. I have installed Raspberry Pi development boards in the two bedrooms and lounge room to serve as media players. The Raspberry Pi runs XBMC (X box media center OS.) I have installed CAT6 Ethernet to each of these rooms. I am purchasing a 8-16 port switch in my office. A PC running FreeNAS will host my media to each Pi. This allows me to display my photo library, play movies, and even surf the net from the TV's in those rooms. The Pi boards offer HDMI in 1080p playback. Now, just a bit of network info for those of you running wireless...

Wireless is not perfect. On cable internet I was on a 100Mb/s connection. However, when going to speedtest.net on my laptop over wifi I would typically get 60-70Mb/s downstream. This equates to a loss of 30-40%. This is typical. I might also add I was approx 5 meters away when I did the test. Believe it or not their is a "healthy" range with wifi. Too close and you can experience signal degradation. Too far away and you get the same thing. This also proves true for walls and other obstacles. Under the best possible conditions with consumer level equipment you will never get better than 20% or so signal loss. A friend of mine who was a network architect for HP until only recently, did a test with two satellite dishes (small types used for ground based line-of-sight comms. We measured out a perfect alignment and broadcast a signal from 10 meters apart. We experienced a loss of 24%. So when you have that nice connection speed in your home and speedtest over wifi don't be surprised with the loss of speed on your wireless devices.

Due to the limited capabilities of Wifi it is always best to operate your home media server on wired Ethernet. You may notice issues with broadcasting 1080p HD video over your network. The greater the number of wireless devices connected, the more limited your media network will be able to handle HD video. So I have opted for Cat6 Ethernet. I am also experimenting with POE (power over Ethernet) to power my Pi boards. Since I have never really set up POE this is new territory for me. Lets hope all goes well. The Pi consumes 5v of power so this should work well and will eliminate the need for a power cable to each device.

I decided to go with FreeNAS for a couple reasons. First, it's free! WOO! Second, it is very easy to set up. Last, it is compatible with all OS types, windows, linux and Mac OS. I am also able to dedicate drives in my freeNAS box to saving hard drive images for various computers so I am able to keep my data backed up. FreeNAS also requires very little in terms of resources so you can install it on an old computer you have laying around.

The Raspberry Pi is an awesome little board. It consumes little power. The OS is stored on a standard SD card.The Pi also has heaps of options for various Linux distros. Since the OS is stored on the SD card, I can swap to any OS I may have available at any time by simply swapping for a different card and booting up. These little devils cost less than $50 and have all sorts of accessories available. I have included some helpful links at the bottom for those interested in any of this. Did I mention the Pi (even in a case) is about the size of a cigarette pack? Go anywhere and try to find an HD media player that compact! =D And for that price.

So, below I have outlined the setup.

-Modem connects to switch. It is also a wifi modem which serves my wireless devices.
-A fixed IP address is assigned to all my wireless devices so I can keep tabs on which device is what and for future problem solving.
-A wired connection from the switch runs to the 2 bedrooms, lounge and shed.
-Each bedroom and the lounge has a TV connected to a Pi allowing media to be played from my collection.
-The shed is another story (below)
-The remaining ports on the switch provide a wired connection for my printer, gaming rig in the office, a wired raspberry pi to perform tasks for my media center, FreeNAS box, and an ASUS dvd player which is shared on my network and can be used by a Pi when desired.

As I said in the beginning my shed has a solar array. A wired connection to the shed allows me to connect a Pi which is then connected to the serial port on my solar inverters. This allows me to remote in to the Pi in the shed and monitor my solar array. I suppose I could go out into the redback and white tail infested shed and look at the inverter screen but screw that when I can view all the data from inside the home. Did I mention the Pi in the shed also has trend logs to keep a record of my solar? Pretty nifty huh?

Additional ports on the switch will be used to connect cameras and a security system at some stage. The great thing about POE is that many security devices can be supplied power from the Ethernet connection without the use of any adaptors. FYI, as in the case of my Pi boards, a splitter to separate the data from the power wires on the Ethernet is required. These splitters can be grabbed from Jaycar for cheap.

I may add more to this as I progress. If any of you have questions or comments please post. I'm interested to see what you guys may have set up or answer any questions if you're interested in setting up your own home network.

Suppliers-

www.jaycar.com.au
http://au.element14.com/
Raspberry Pi B+
http://www.raspberrypi.org/
Nice wireless touchpad/keyboard
16 port netgear poe switch I like this one b/c of the two blocks of Ethernet and two rows. It keeps things organised.
-Dale :moderator:In-game admin/GM

Refuge: n. That which shelters or protects from danger or from distress or calamity; a stronghold which protects by its strength or a sanctuary which secures safety by its sacredness; a place inaccessible to an enemy.
 

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meach51

Posts: 317

Joined: 05 Jun 2012, 4:36 pm

Location: Gosford, NSW

Post 24 Sep 2014, 4:10 pm

Re: My network upgrade

Sounds like good progress Dale. Can I add a few points that might help (or not!)?

The only difference between CAT5 and Cat6 is that the copper cables are braided in the latter. On a home network, you will only notice the difference in cost, never in performance. Cat6 is also a real pain in the ass to punch, because the braided cables all mess up. I always use CAT5 for this reason more than anything. CAT5 is so much easier to set up and maintain and half the cost.

In Australia, almost everything wireless works on the same frequency (2.5 GHz) that being GSM phones,WiFi, most cordless phones and even microwave ovens! Wired is definitely the way to go.

While you are at it, why not run CAT5 to the phone socket, (Instead of a pair, or a phone cable) there is less degradation of the DSL carrier signal over the clever twisting in a CAT5 cable. You can put phones (and modem cables) into RJ45 sockets and run everything over standard structured cabling, so the phone/modem connection can run over the standard patch panel to any socket in your home. Your incoming phone line should be 4 wires, unless Telstra gave the other pair to a neighbour.

I also use MC Media Center, but on a dedicated PC with a huge screen. (we use an ICETV subscription to get the guide and schedule recordings http://www.icetv.com.au)

No need for any streaming, because all recorded TV is available over the entire network. Every room and laptop, has full access to TV, movies, photos and music.

I put 2.5 Kilometers of cable in the last house,will probably end up doing the same in the next one. I just promise the wife that it will be less - haha!

There is a golden rule in putting CAT5 (or6) cabling in the home:

Put DOUBLE the amount of sockets/cabling in that you originally planned. It still won't be enough!

Good luck with it mate, it all sounds fun!
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huioliver345

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Posts: 179

Joined: 08 Jun 2013, 5:32 pm

Location: Gold Coast, QLD

Post 24 Sep 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: My network upgrade

Sounds awesome, and fun too. :)

I am actually quite set on setting up a small to medium sized internet hosting server business in my own home one day! At the moment I am studying I.T at Tafe, and the whole next term is going to be Networking which I am looking forward too.


Anyway, I have noticed on my current connection, at Speedtest I get around a 30mb download speed, but on my laptop connected via wifi, I can only ever get up to a 3Mbps downloading speed. The wifi router is about half way across the house at 15m+ away through about 2-3 walls. So I tried connecting my laptop directly to the router, but the connection was no faster, if anything worse. I will try another day (when no one is home to use the internet) connecting my laptop directly into the wall, disconnecting the router while I do it to test the download speed then, just for curiosity.
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rolyd90

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Posts: 1241

Joined: 13 May 2011, 7:15 pm

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Post 12 Oct 2014, 3:25 am

Re: My network upgrade

Just for everyone to have a quick read, http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/telecomms_cabling
It's about cabling in Australia, just a quick guide a user on whirlpool put together. (I think its up to date?)


Also made this PDF (Basic network item guide)
http://delta.rolyd.com/downloads/home_network_stuff.pdf
* Make sure your PDF Reader can use hyperlinks, eg. chromes built in PDF viewer works

Might not be perfect, but someone might find this useful? :mine-D:
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rolyd90

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Joined: 13 May 2011, 7:15 pm

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Post 12 Oct 2014, 3:45 am

Re: My network upgrade

dale00474 wrote:FreeNAS box
Just throwing this out there, Gigabit will be fine for most people. *For now, future nope.

But not sure what content you stream, but *if* you do max out your uplink to the nas box because 3 people are trying to copy/read files all at the same time or something?, if you get a managed switch and network cards with multiple ports, and use link aggregation can get upto (2-4 Gbps).

Cheaper than 10 Gigabit right now. But still not cheap at all!

But could be useful for a nas *only if* you need more link speed. (More HD Content coming out all the time)

I mention this, because the Netgear JGS516PE supports, Port Trunking, :mine-P:
and a network card to go with it, yeah... $$$
http://www.scorptec.com.au/product/Netw ... XPI9404PTL
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rolyd90

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Posts: 1241

Joined: 13 May 2011, 7:15 pm

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Post 12 Oct 2014, 4:08 am

Re: My network upgrade

Power Over Ethernet
Never used it yet, but read up alittle overtime, please correct me if I'm wrong.

The only kit from jaycar I can find is http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=YN8410
Is there another one because that's a Passive Kit.

If your using a 24 Port PoE switch, what outputs to the IEEE 802.3 af (PoE Standard)
http://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/ ... itches.pdf
http://www.scorptec.com.au/product/Netw ... 8-JGS516PE

You need a PoE Splitter like
http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/deta ... =TL-POE10R
http://www.mwave.com.au/product/tplink- ... er-aa38656


Passive kits, will use 2 pairs for power and 2 pairs for data. Cheap and easy, can have voltage drop though on long runs.

While Active kits from what I've read, uses differential signalling (similar to phantom power), meaning a common-mode voltage is applied to each pair, this does not interfere with data transmission. It also steps the 48v ish from the switch, down to 5,9 or 12v. Also less voltage drop.


Also this is the coolest bit of PoE gear I have found so far
http://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/ ... ov2013.pdf
It's a small switch, you can power from another PoE switch :mine-D:




Also will re-read all everything tomorrow again, sleep now.
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rolyd90

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Joined: 13 May 2011, 7:15 pm

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Post 12 Oct 2014, 4:44 am

Re: My network upgrade

Post space reserved, for tomorrow or the future.....

'Also I'm never right, or never wrong' :via09:

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