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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
TLDR: Installed network rack, conduit, ethernet cable, etc.

Update - Project Part 2 completed
Update - Project Part 3 completed

It has been far too long since I was last active on OCN. What better way to jump back in with a mod (of sorts) right after a major migration?

My family's last house was our first house after apartment life. I was hesitant to take on projects because I didn't want to break anything. Last March, we moved into our current house and I've been slowly doing more DIY type things. The day we moved in, I taped up ethernet cables around the house. They stayed that way until now.
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Project Part 1: Initial Rack Setup, 1st floor cabling
I decided it was finally time to tackle the project of building a more robust LAN. Our house is 1.5 stories, so the project has been broken up into multiple parts. For this part, I planned out where I wanted the network rack and drops (approximately) which was also dependent on where floor joists were located in the crawlspace to drill holes in the wall plates. Planned 4 drops (2 in bedroom - 1x4 port and 1x2 port, 2 in living room - 2x4 port)
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*X = drop

After researching parts I ordered the following:
-Monoprice 24-port CAT6 Patch Panel (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0069MHLCS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
-TP-Link 24-port Gigabit Unamanaged switch (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003BU0EKW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
-Tripp Lite 300W UPS (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002CUA6K/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
-1000ft CAT6 ethernet cable
-Misc parts as needed (low-voltage gang-plates and covers, keystone jacks, etc.)

Last weekend I mounted the rack and laid conduit. Apologies for the low-quality pics of the installed conduit. The crawlspace is not the best place for a phone camera.
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I only ran into one issue with floor joists being in the way for the drop in the living room on the living room/hall closet wall. Unfortunately, due to the stairs and weight bearing capacity, that particular wallplate was directly on top of a double joist. The next best thing was to drill through the hall closet floor, then go through the wall. I built out a small box to cover the holes and cables. If you notice the coax cable, I don't have direct access to my ISP box to run a new cable, so I just coupled a new cable to the existing cable in the wall and ran it through the crawlspace to the rack. Previously, the cable modem, firewall, and other misc network items were located in my TV stand.
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Throughout the week, I re-mounted the rack (didn't feel stable enough) and my wife helped pull cable.
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Today, I punched down all cables on the patch panel and started punching down keystone jacks.
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Project Part 2: Additional Patch Panel, 2nd floor cabling
Direct link

Project Part 3: New PoE APs (thanks to 5291Crash for the PoE suggestion)
Direct link

Lessons Learned
  • Something will always go wrong, roll with it.
  • The hard conduit under the house mostly wasn't necessary. I'm not sure how it will be long term for cable protection, but it will make future drops harder if I want to continue using conduit. New runs will have to be laid. The intention was for the conduit to make things easier, but I feel like it made things harder at points.
  • Measure twice, cut once, and cut long (at least 10%).
  • Run more drops or cables per drop than planned. Cable is cheap.
  • Overall, it was a bit harder than I hoped it would be, but a lot easier than I expected it to be.
 

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Nice work. That feeling of accomplishment from finishing a job you are hesitant to start in the first place is great. Have you considered surge protection for your rack?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! Appreciate the suggestion. The Tripp Lite UPS does include surge protection. I was originally planning on only getting a rackmount power strip, but decided on the UPS instead. Well worth it in my opinion.
 

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Looks great! One suggestion I have is that since you are doing this project now, add a 2 port drop in the corner of the living room as well. That way your wife has options for where she can re-arrange your media stuff and it still works for you. lol
 

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Nice job. I just did my whole house with 3 drops in each bedroom and 3 in the living room & garage. Only difference is I didn't use conduit or a patch panel.

I drilled the joists and ran it to make it easier to finish my basement in the future. Being 6'4" I dont want to lose any ceiling height when I finish the basement. I am also not a fan of patch panels. I dont like having more connections then needed. I just punched ends and plugged those into my switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Looks great! One suggestion I have is that since you are doing this project now, add a 2 port drop in the corner of the living room as well. That way your wife has options for where she can re-arrange your media stuff and it still works for you. lol
Hm...:thinking: It's worth looking into, but it would take another run of conduit. I used 1" and shared runs for the two sets of drops (1 run for the living and 1 run for the bedroom) and split out where needed. 8 cables is about as much as the conduit can handle for a mostly smooth pull. I did try to center the drop on that wall in case we ever needed to hook-up anything up to it. Worst case, I could always run some surface mount channeling along the base board.

Nice job. I just did my whole house with 3 drops in each bedroom and 3 in the living room & garage. Only difference is I didn't use conduit or a patch panel.

I drilled the joists and ran it to make it easier to finish my basement in the future. Being 6'4" I dont want to lose any ceiling height when I finish the basement. I am also not a fan of patch panels. I dont like having more connections then needed. I just punched ends and plugged those into my switch.
Sounds like you went all out with the drops! :thumbsups I can't imagine needing drops in my garage, but who knows? I went with conduit to make it easier to pull the cable for this project and in the future if I ever need to replace. Might come back to bite me later, but don't need much headroom in the crawlspace so hopefully no issues later on.

I initially debated on whether or not to use a patch panel. I wanted to ensure I had all of the ports terminated while only having "live" ports on the switch. Right now, only about half the ports are being used. Two of the drops were just intended for future-proofing. When I eventually get around to putting drops upstairs, it will probably be for future-proofing as well. The 1.5 story layout with split attic has me a bit baffled on the best way to run cables anyway. :upsidedwn

Also, I would have loved a basement to work in, instead of the crawlspace.
 

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Not to shabby

Only part i'd change is to label all the cat6 on the wires itself to aid in future revisions.

When you get to doing the upstairs, it should get simpler as you can pull to the attic then drop back down wherever you need a line.

The UPS and rack is a very nice touch too.
 

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Hm...:thinking: It's worth looking into, but it would take another run of conduit. I used 1" and shared runs for the two sets of drops (1 run for the living and 1 run for the bedroom) and split out where needed. 8 cables is about as much as the conduit can handle for a mostly smooth pull. I did try to center the drop on that wall in case we ever needed to hook-up anything up to it. Worst case, I could always run some surface mount channeling along the base board.



Sounds like you went all out with the drops! :thumbsups I can't imagine needing drops in my garage, but who knows? I went with conduit to make it easier to pull the cable for this project and in the future if I ever need to replace. Might come back to bite me later, but don't need much headroom in the crawlspace so hopefully no issues later on.

I initially debated on whether or not to use a patch panel. I wanted to ensure I had all of the ports terminated while only having "live" ports on the switch. Right now, only about half the ports are being used. Two of the drops were just intended for future-proofing. When I eventually get around to putting drops upstairs, it will probably be for future-proofing as well. The 1.5 story layout with split attic has me a bit baffled on the best way to run cables anyway. :upsidedwn

Also, I would have loved a basement to work in, instead of the crawlspace.
I spend alot of time in the garage.

When you run line to the upstairs try and run a line or 2 to spots where a wireless AP could be installed. Once you go to commercial APs you will never go back to a all in one wireless router.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Not to shabby

Only part i'd change is to label all the cat6 on the wires itself to aid in future revisions.

When you get to doing the upstairs, it should get simpler as you can pull to the attic then drop back down wherever you need a line.

The UPS and rack is a very nice touch too.
I labeled the ends of the cables for pulling, but most of that labeling is gone due to stripping/punching. Still learning. :) I'm absolutely hoping the attic drops are easier when I get to that point.

I spend alot of time in the garage.

When you run line to the upstairs try and run a line or 2 to spots where a wireless AP could be installed. Once you go to commercial APs you will never go back to a all in one wireless router.
Great minds think alike! I currently have a Nighthawk AC1750 running as AP in the living room since it's the most central location. I want to eventually move that to the hall closet (out of sight) and add another router/AP on the ceiling at the top of the stairs. A more commercial grade setup would be wonderful to run them in unison. I would need to install additional outlets though, so not high priority. Regardless, all that's upstairs is my daughters' rooms. They are 6 and 3, so not a big rush for them to have any significant LAN access anyway.
 

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Very nice mod! Come do mine now! Practice makes perfect. ;):D
 

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I labeled the ends of the cables for pulling, but most of that labeling is gone due to stripping/punching. Still learning. :) I'm absolutely hoping the attic drops are easier when I get to that point.



Great minds think alike! I currently have a Nighthawk AC1750 running as AP in the living room since it's the most central location. I want to eventually move that to the hall closet (out of sight) and add another router/AP on the ceiling at the top of the stairs. A more commercial grade setup would be wonderful to run them in unison. I would need to install additional outlets though, so not high priority. Quick and dirty upstairs layout attached - ? is potential drops.

Regardless, all that's upstairs is my daughters' rooms. They are 6 and 3, so not a big rush for them to have any significant LAN access anyway.

My kids are 2 and 5.

I ran 2 ports down low and one up high in the corner with an outlet for a TV. They have no need for a TV or computer right now but in the future they will. Once they do I will build some custom corner desks for computer/homework and the tv will be mounted above the computer monitor to the wall. That way they only lose a tiny corner of there room for everything.

Edit: I also installed an HDMI going from the low box to the high one just incase they want to use a PC or game console on the tv. They will be able to just sit it on the desk and plug it into the lower wall connection.

And I think it was DzillaXx that recommended I go with unifi equipment. Let me tell you with a USG, 2AP's and the controller software & pihole running on a rasp pi I can do just about anything on my network. The only way I lose connection on my whole property is if I would smash the device to tiny pieces.
 

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My kids are 2 and 5.

I ran 2 ports down low and one up high in the corner with an outlet for a TV. They have no need for a TV or computer right now but in the future they will. Once they do I will build some custom corner desks for computer/homework and the tv will be mounted above the computer monitor to the wall. That way they only lose a tiny corner of there room for everything.

And I think it was DzillaXx that recommended I go with unifi equipment. Let me tell you with a USG, 2AP's and the controller software & pihole running on a rasp pi I can do just about anything on my network. The only way I lose connection on my whole property is if I would smash the device to tiny pieces.
And the USG is fast. What's stopped me from upgrading from 100Mbps to 200 is I'm still running an ASA that's setup just how I want it with the Anyconnect VPN. I think I may move it to my lab and upgrade to a USG or an Edge Router eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My kids are 2 and 5.

I ran 2 ports down low and one up high in the corner with an outlet for a TV. They have no need for a TV or computer right now but in the future they will. Once they do I will build some custom corner desks for computer/homework and the tv will be mounted above the computer monitor to the wall. That way they only lose a tiny corner of there room for everything.

Edit: I also installed an HDMI going from the low box to the high one just incase they want to use a PC or game console on the tv. They will be able to just sit it on the desk and plug it into the lower wall connection.

And I think it was DzillaXx that recommended I go with unifi equipment. Let me tell you with a USG, 2AP's and the controller software & pihole running on a rasp pi I can do just about anything on my network. The only way I lose connection on my whole property is if I would smash the device to tiny pieces.
And the USG is fast. What's stopped me from upgrading from 100Mbps to 200 is I'm still running an ASA that's setup just how I want it with the Anyconnect VPN. I think I may move it to my lab and upgrade to a USG or an Edge Router eventually.
I'm currently running Untangle, which has served me well for years. Not against anything new, but not sure how beneficial the USG would be. Definitely need to do some more research.
 

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re: attic pull your enemy is Fire stops. mid wall are a ROYAL pain in the donkey.



If you have them or not no idea, some places require them some do not. Not all builders put them in if not required, in suburbia and not required i doubt you have them as it would cost them more to build them in.

Now as for needing to wire more outlets, like at the top of the stairs, just run an ap that uses POE and put the injector at your rack.
 
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I'm currently running Untangle, which has served me well for years. Not against anything new, but not sure how beneficial the USG would be. Definitely need to do some more research.

I use Edge router's at work and for clients when they need it.


But at home I too use Untangle, The Home version for $50 a year is perfect! Now I run it on my own hardware, an old Atom based Supermicro with dual Intel NICs. Works great for what I do and the connection I have ATM. Was using PfSense before it.

Now Untangle isn't the best router, and probably would be better off with running it in passive mode with a edge router or pfsense as the main router. But it does what it needs to do without problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
re: attic pull your enemy is Fire stops. mid wall are a ROYAL pain in the donkey.

If you have them or not no idea, some places require them some do not. Not all builders put them in if not required, in suburbia and not required i doubt you have them as it would cost them more to build them in.

Now as for needing to wire more outlets, like at the top of the stairs, just run an ap that uses POE and put the injector at your rack.
Hadn't considered that as a roadblock. Stud finder should at least let me know what I'm up against. Worst I'd end up doing is cutting drywall out enough to drill through the stops, then patch it back up. Thanks for the heads-up though.

I use Edge router's at work and for clients when they need it.

But at home I too use Untangle, The Home version for $50 a year is perfect! Now I run it on my own hardware, an old Atom based Supermicro with dual Intel NICs. Works great for what I do and the connection I have ATM. Was using PfSense before it.

Now Untangle isn't the best router, and probably would be better off with running it in passive mode with a edge router or pfsense as the main router. But it does what it needs to do without problem.
I dabbled with pfSense way back when I was deciding on which one to go with. I chose Untangle for whatever reason at the time. The home user license has been a recent added benefit. I'm network savvy, but definitely not a professional. It serves me well. :)

When I'm able to build a new rackmount box for router, I'll give pfsense another shot.
 

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Hadn't considered that as a roadblock. Stud finder should at least let me know what I'm up against. Worst I'd end up doing is cutting drywall out enough to drill through the stops, then patch it back up...
You may not need to cut and patch holes in the wall. If you can drill into the wall from the attic or the basement/crawlspace, you can get long, flexible drill bits and drill bit extensions that can reach up to the fireblock and have a hole in the end of the bit you can attach a pull string to that will pull back through the holes you just drilled. If you are terminating the run at a wall plate, the drills are flexible enough to be angled up the wall through the wall plate opening although it would take multiple extensions to clear the floor. I've seen people put large collars or even just wood disks around the shank of the bit so the hole drilled wouldn't be too close to the wallboard or plaster.

I remember one time I helped a work buddy install outdoor lights on the wall of his patio. We didn't have a right angle drill handy and there wasn't room to get a regular drill and bit through the double wall plate, even if we drilled at an angle, so we went up on the roof removed enough shingles to give us a straight shot through the roof decking into the wall plate, then replaced the shingles with nails and roofing cement; no one could tell what we had done.

I've cut several holes in the aluminum roof of my mobile home so I route Romex I had fished through the tiny "attic" (8" at its highest point) down into the wall, then patched the holes with sheet aluminum bedded in roofing cement, blind riveted into place, and covered with white roof coating to match the rest of the roof. The patches are barely visible from up on the roof and cannot be seen from the ground due to the rather shallow pitch of the roof.
 
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