Advice on best way to retrofit wired Ethernet.

Early next year we will be getting a "deep retrofit " done on our house. Basically going back to bare walls and (re) insulating. 

We don't need a full rewiring but I thought it's a good time to have some wired Ethernet around the house.

What's the best way to do this? Is it just to have a mega switch beside current cable router and run a cable to each room and end it in a female socket?

Are there options?

Are there pitfalls?

What sort of cable is recommended?

Shoud I try and cover the house or simply get it to the 3 rooms that I have Naim boxes in and let wifi and Ethernet over power cover the other rooms?

 

SJB

Original Post
Sloop John B posted:

What's the best way to do this? Is it just to have a mega switch beside current cable router and run a cable to each room and end it in a female socket?

That's the usual way.  In your main rooms run 2-4 connections, perhaps even run to a couple of different parts of each room.  Either leave ends to plug directly to a switch, or connected to a patch panel which is linked to a switch.

Are there options?

Are there pitfalls?

What sort of cable is recommended?

Excel cat 6

Shoud I try and cover the house or simply get it to the 3 rooms that I have Naim boxes in and let wifi and Ethernet over power cover the other rooms?

I'd do as much of the house as possible.  1 or 2 behind any TV is a good idea.

I've done that to a large, old flat. Some key points:

  1. Cat 6
  2. Minimum 2 sockets per room (even if you now plan on using one device)
  3. Easiest is to run cables under the floor boards
  4. Terminate with a regular patch panel
  5. Depending on a network size, use an appropriate unmanaged switch e.g Cisco, with some sockets to spare
  6. Dedicated, separate power supply to your engine room
  7. Use a UPS for your network gear
  8. Critical streaming connection (switch to patch panel) - try using Chord C-Stream
  9. Itmay be useful to put all your gear in a 19" rack, with shelves
  10. Put your NAS in the same rack

What Adam said, just remember to label your cables when they terminate in your engine room as its a right pain tracking things down when you get a problem if you don't.  Given what you are doing it makes absolute sense to put cat 6 in at the same time.

ok - my advice which has been followed on one recent house renovate is lay plastic trunking so you can pull wires through - and when wiring lay at least 2x Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable to where you anticipate switches. That way you can manage resilience or bonding like Ether channel for increased capacity. By using trunking you can strip out the twisted pair cabling (that is any Cat type cabling) and replace with fibre in a few years tome when twisted pair ethernet wiring for infrastructure will start to become obsolete. Try and structure your wiring and switches as hub and spoke - and put your router and firewall close to the hub.

For infrastructure try and use basic managed switches. This will allow you to check status and diagnostics when things go invariably wrong over the years. The definition of frustration is not knowing what on earth is happening on home networks when the embedded infrastructure starts going wrong and its all cheap 'unmanaged' equipment - like a socket going half duplex or fibre transceiver going noisy. This is why businesses uses managed switched - i.e. it allows you to manage the status and config of your network - which will be a godsend a few years down stream when the unexpected happens or a rodent nibbles through one of your cables!

Simon

My advice is consider where the best location for the switch is. Remember you only need one wire between the router and the switch, so if the switch was say in the loft or another room would this be a more logical/short route for everything else coming to the switch?

My other advice is consider the most you will ever need in terms of connections then quadruple it.

Bart posted:

Rather than 3 or 4 cables to each room, necessitating a huge switch with lines that may well never be used, why not plan on a small unmanaged switch in any room where multiple devices MAY be installed.

That is always an option.

However when I spoke to a friend of mine, who helped design my network (he is an IT network manager) he advised against this solution. Certainly - use it as a last resort he said. But if there is space, multiple independent wires in individual trunks and separate LAN sockets are preferable at this current state of technology.

As usual, Simon is correct. Put in plastic trunking so that you can change cabling in a few years.

Think about future possible data requirements in each room. Will your fridge/oven/dishwasher ever need high bandwidth? How many rooms are you really going to want video in? Is it possible that you might repurpose rooms in the future? Do you need outside connections?

Simon's advice is the only way to go here.

Plastic truncing to pull wires through. Man I wish I'd thought of that 3 years ago. Given the relative low cost of cable and ease of fitting when a place is being renovated, rather than a couple terminals in each room, you can get mains outlet panels that also contain the RJ45 sockets. This is what I've done so that every mains outlet is coupled with ethernet port. This will greatly reduce the need for local switches in each room. You may need one for the AV stuff if you have a network connected TV, PS4, Receiver and BluRay all together but other than that everything can go via the main managed switch. A managed switch also makes ironing out any issues much much simpler.

I don't know if I do agree that the NAS should be in the same rack or even in the same room. Decoupling it from the streamer can have benefits since it is generally a noisy component (both audibly and for RFI). If all your cables meet somewhere central like a utility room or the garage that can be the perfect place to stick a short 1/3 height unit rack to house the switch, internet router, NAS, UPnP server and any other unsightlies away from view in something that can be locked up and yet really easy to work with at the same time. I stick all that stuff in a 22U cage and it is a doddle to work with and is out of sight.

If you're going to combine Ethernet and mains electricity in the same outlet location, don't forget to keep the cable runs separated.  Preferably physically separate the conduits by 100mm minimum (more is better), or use an earthed metal conduit for one of them to ensure screening (and still use some physical separation).

feeling_zen posted:

I don't know if I do agree that the NAS should be in the same rack or even in the same room. Decoupling it from the streamer can have benefits since it is generally a noisy component (both audibly and for RFI). If all your cables meet somewhere central like a utility room or the garage that can be the perfect place to stick a short 1/3 height unit rack to house the switch, internet router, NAS, UPnP server and any other unsightlies away from view in something that can be locked up and yet really easy to work with at the same time. I stick all that stuff in a 22U cage and it is a doddle to work with and is out of sight.

Absolutely - NASs are like boilers, useful, if not essential, but keep out of sight and mind - but accessible should you need to get to them. Certainly wouldn't have anywhere near my living or listening room. I currently have 2 x NASs on a low shelf in my study - very low noise output - i don't notice them when at my desk - and the NAS fits in with the other boxes with lights on in my study - works for me

 

Huge posted:

If you're going to combine Ethernet and mains electricity in the same outlet location, don't forget to keep the cable runs separated.  Preferably physically separate the conduits by 100mm minimum (more is better), or use an earthed metal conduit for one of them to ensure screening (and still use some physical separation).

or use fibre and be done with it - no issue with screening, separation, earth loops, RFI you name it..... leave ethernet twisted pair patch leads to the edge switches

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
feeling_zen posted:

I don't know if I do agree that the NAS should be in the same rack or even in the same room. Decoupling it from the streamer can have benefits since it is generally a noisy component (both audibly and for RFI). If all your cables meet somewhere central like a utility room or the garage that can be the perfect place to stick a short 1/3 height unit rack to house the switch, internet router, NAS, UPnP server and any other unsightlies away from view in something that can be locked up and yet really easy to work with at the same time. I stick all that stuff in a 22U cage and it is a doddle to work with and is out of sight.

Absolutely - NASs are like boilers, useful, if not essential, but keep out of sight and mind - but accessible should you need to get to them. Certainly wouldn't have anywhere near my living or listening room. I currently have 2 x NASs on a low shelf in my study - very low noise output - i don't notice it when at my desk - and the NAS fits in with the other boxes with lights on in my study - works for me

 

Absolutely - keep the NAS as far away as possible, and ideally on a separate circuit to audio (points 6 and 10 from my list above).

Also - the idea of an UPS unit, is that NAS, switch etc plug into those. Several benfits: anti-surge protection, in case of a short power supply interruption a server is protected, some decent UPS also filter system noise from goint OUT back into the mains.

Huge posted:

If you're going to combine Ethernet and mains electricity in the same outlet location, don't forget to keep the cable runs separated.  Preferably physically separate the conduits by 100mm minimum (more is better), or use an earthed metal conduit for one of them to ensure screening (and still use some physical separation).

Yet another thing I wish I had known 3 years ago. Not that it would have made much difference. Muppets that wired our place up totally stuffed up which sockets were supposed to be on dedicated radials and so forth. Anything that was in my control is done right and works perfectly. Anything not under my control was iffy.

There is always the next home to get these right on

Huge posted:

If you're going to combine Ethernet and mains electricity in the same outlet location, don't forget to keep the cable runs separated.  

Agreed separation = More is Better.     Building regs EN50174-2 recommend 20cm separation for unscreened ethernet & power cables,  but with a screened ethernet (Cat6A or Cat7) it's reduced to 5cm & no separation if the power is in a conduit.   But also it permits the last 15 metres of an install to not be separated.    (you have to remeber these regs are for large office/warehouse/industrial installations)  These regs have been changed in the last year or so & permit less separation with low power (<32amp)  ........  but whatever, if you can,  get the longer parallel power & ethernet runs as well separated as possible.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
feeling_zen posted:   
 

 Anything that was in my control is done right and works perfectly. Anything not under my control was iffy.

The manager's dilemma and the art of delegation 

Too darn right. Of course a good manager in the workplace will (within reason) let his team do things and watch as they make mistakes, learn and maybe do it in away the manager wouldn't choose themselves to allow them to grow and just silently bite their tongue unless real disaster is approaching.

Yet at home, it is best to be a control freak. I mean, has anyone had a good experience with tradies when the weren't watched like hawkes every second?

Bart posted:

Rather than 3 or 4 cables to each room, necessitating a huge switch with lines that may well never be used, why not plan on a small unmanaged switch in any room where multiple devices MAY be installed.

This can be used to expand a network and is good for ad-hoc home networking ... but not the best way to initially cable a house.  For one thing you will end up with wall wart SMPS's all over the house.  Theoretically you will also get better throughput with the one larger switch though that is marginal with a home installation.

You don't need to make all the cables live either ... but its much easier / cheaper to run (for example) 48 runs of cabling now while you have walls stripped back, but only make 12 of them live with a small switch and replace that later, than it is to run 12 runs now and then add 3 5-port switches later because you only ran a single cable to each room.  

However, for upstairs rooms it may be more convenient to run a single (or 2 for redundancy) cable up into the loft where a second switch could be located to allow easy drops into the top floor rooms - sometimes a combination of methods is the best.  It all depends on the layout of your house really.

One thought to the OP: you may want to think about having a length of fibre run to your main "HiFi" location as some people are using that to effectively isolate a streamer from the rest of the electrical noise on the network (ymmv).

I've replaced the connectors of my recently professionally created utp cable and suddenly the connection works fine. One of the wires in the connector was too short and loosing connection frequently. Just 1 mm short.

One more electricien off the list ...

Since there is only 1 cable in my house connecting the 2 most important rooms (second living having tv + audio / home office), I'm forced to use switches in these rooms. Managed though.

A great improvement was to add an utp connector to the ChromeCast. It's hardwired now and much more snappy.

Goal is to have any mobile device on wireless and all non-mobile devices hardwired.

Claus-Thoegersen posted:

I am never moving from an apartment to a house!!!

Okay. But since you mentioned that on this thread, I have to ask why specifically? Surely doing all this stuff in a house is much simpler. You don't need to argue with the resident's committee about the noisy work you are having done or apply for permission to bolt things to the structural girders of the building  in a house. Plus you have other rooms to escape to while work is being done. You have no where to run in an apartment and even if you own the place, silly paperwork to get workmen in or pull up floorboards. Its all or nothing when working on a modern apartment.

Ardbeg10y posted:

 

Since there is only 1 cable in my house connecting the 2 most important rooms (second living having tv + audio / home office), I'm forced to use switches in these rooms. Managed though.

I would recommend against managed switches unless you really know what you're doing...

There really is a mis understanding about managed switches, they provide network management info for diagnostics or debugging if something goes wrong. Even if you are not able to deal with it you can get some who can..having a home network that has developed a fault and being completely blind about how to fix is simply madness...  Clearly a little switch hanging off a broadband router is something else.. If it goes wrong you can throw it away and start again... It's a bit different when it's part of your house infrastructure.

Simon

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

There really is a mis understanding about managed switches, they provide network management info for diagnostics or debugging if something goes wrong. Even if you are not able to deal with it you can get some who can..having a home network that has developed a fault and being completely blind about how to fix is simply madness...  Clearly a little switch hanging off a broadband router is something else.. If it goes wrong you can throw it away and start again... It's a bit different when it's part of your house infrastructure.

That's true Simon, but I think there is some kind of thinking that a managed switch is going to improve your network and this not true.  I guess what you are talking about / suggesting are things like Netgear's smart managed switches rather than so-called fully managed?

Bart posted:

Rather than 3 or 4 cables to each room, necessitating a huge switch with lines that may well never be used, why not plan on a small unmanaged switch in any room where multiple devices MAY be installed.

Yes that is how I am doing it currently. It works perfectly fine but I would say it is a solution to a problem (ie inadequate points or router ports) rather than one which I have designed for originally.

Eloise posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

There really is a mis understanding about managed switches, they provide network management info for diagnostics or debugging if something goes wrong. Even if you are not able to deal with it you can get some who can..having a home network that has developed a fault and being completely blind about how to fix is simply madness...  Clearly a little switch hanging off a broadband router is something else.. If it goes wrong you can throw it away and start again... It's a bit different when it's part of your house infrastructure.

That's true Simon, but I think there is some kind of thinking that a managed switch is going to improve your network and this not true.  I guess what you are talking about / suggesting are things like Netgear's smart managed switches rather than so-called fully managed?

Yes and no. All things being equal a newly slotted managed switch should behave the same as an unmanaged switch. But here is the thing, most managed switches just happen to be, as well as managed, better quality switches than lower cost unmanaged ones. It is not always the case, but they do often have higher aggregate throughput and more buffer memory any number of other minor enhancements. If you are wiring up a modern home with many connected devices, I really would not want to do it any other way.

On the other hand, if you have DVR and and NDX and that is about it, sure, an unmanaged switch will almost certainly do fine.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
feeling_zen posted:   
 

 Anything that was in my control is done right and works perfectly. Anything not under my control was iffy.

The manager's dilemma and the art of delegation 

But a real and serious issue nonetheless.

In a professional work situation the solution is to have well-trained staff with a good work ethic and appropriate systems of work, however it is very different when engaging a contractor to undertake work for you, especially, but not only, in a matter about which you have little or no clear understanding. It is very difficult to determine which tradesman or firm will provide a truly honest, diligent and effective service. Personally I always do whatever I can myself, which has included all plumbing and electrical work in several houses, including full rewiring and complete plumbing, and many other things - primarily to save money, but also because I can ensure the most effective setup, and I know the quality of my work. But trades where I have less knowledge/ability or which is too large a scale in terms of time i.e. building construction, I have to entrust to contractors, and universally every one I have used has attempted to cut corners and/or done a less than perfect job, and other  than standing over them, which I simply don't have time to do, it seems either I have no ability to find a good builder or thhey  are so rare that it is simply pot luck as to whether one can be found, at least where I live. More recently electrical work has become more expensive because of the need to have tested and certified, not being a registered electrician, but that doesn't apply to computer networking, at least not where I am located - and it is simple enough for anyone to do, if they have the time and inclination, and do a little learning.

It can be really tough in an apartment. This place was new so the contractors are in and working from design specs I agreed and signed off on (though they don'T go into detail like whether cat6 cables go in dedicated trunking which for a domestic setting may not have ocurred to me anyway), but before the building has been given the green light by safety inspectors for people to come in that are not licensed tradies for the building. If I could see what they were doing I could have said "Oi! WTF are you doing? The dedicated rung and socket goes THERE you muppet!". But no. All the mistakes happened 3 months before I was even allowed to set food in the building.

Still, it is all relative and what I ended up with is probably better than what half of Naim users have to put up with. Circuits are dead quiet. No room shares a rung. Ethernet to every mains outlet terminating to a central location. It could have been sooo much worse.

Eloise posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

There really is a mis understanding about managed switches, they provide network management info for diagnostics or debugging if something goes wrong. Even if you are not able to deal with it you can get some who can..having a home network that has developed a fault and being completely blind about how to fix is simply madness...  Clearly a little switch hanging off a broadband router is something else.. If it goes wrong you can throw it away and start again... It's a bit different when it's part of your house infrastructure.

That's true Simon, but I think there is some kind of thinking that a managed switch is going to improve your network and this not true.  I guess what you are talking about / suggesting are things like Netgear's smart managed switches rather than so-called fully managed?

Hi Eloise, yes a Netgear Prosafe Smart Switch would be suitable. They key thing here is diagnostics and these Prosafe switches (at least the ones I just looked at, ProSAFE FS526Tv2, FS726Tv2) offer port statistics via a web page and that is fine. But I understand not all'Smart' switches are the same, it's more a marketing term, so best check diagnostic capability first.

The only capability I noticed from the ProSAFE smart switches that might be missed in the home was the ability to support SNMP.. If you had a large house with voice, storage  and network infrastructure you might want to have a PC or Mac somewhere showing you a view of the status of all the infrastructure .. and typically SNMP is how you do this... but I suspect for most 'normal' houses this won't be an issue.

 

I like the ProSAFE switches.

I know a certain amount about networks, I'm capable of learning a lot more if needed; but unless absolutely necessary I just can't be bothered to learn enough to programme a managed switch to use it's capabilities properly.  In my opinion the best approach to home networking is KISS - at least until you encounter some specific reason to make it any more complicated.

Huge posted:

In my opinion the best approach to home networking is KISS - at least until you encounter some specific reason to make it any more complicated.

That was kind of the thinking behind my original statement.  I do agree with Simon though that the web page of stats and diagnosis on things like a Netgear ProSAFE (other brands of switches are available but not as many as there used to be) is useful.

Can't really add any more to what's already been said. It's all good advice.

I cabled my house throughout, running at least a double outlet to every room, and sometimes a pair of doubles to allow for room rearrangement. In reality lots of the wires go unused, but better safe than sorry.

Bring it all back to a central point so it's easy to manage, and can help with isolating noise.

This is what I ended up with:

Very happy with D-Link, TP-Link and QNAP components, all faultless.

Good luck!

 

 

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