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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,
I am looking to setup a home network. Goals for this network are:
  • Media streaming across the house. With a twist: I want to be able to watch movies downstairs, listen to music upstairs and listen to different music out in the garden at the same time without interference.
  • File server for backups of home PCs and phones. These need to be accesible from around the world. The mediaserver only on our homenetwork and with it's own login. (So guests can use our network but not our file or mediaserver via their systems/phones.)
Here's another kicker: I want to control the mediaserver in the three aforementioned locations via touch-screen interface.

I'm thinking of going with a 4TB WD Red drive for media. 1TB WD Red for shared files, 3x 1TB Toshiba drives, and 1 3TB Toshiba drive. Besides that a 128GB SSD for a bootdrive.

As you can tell I need all the help I can get. I have no experience setting up networks, and my friends have not much more.

What I'm looking to find out:
  • Is it possible?
  • What hardware do I need?
  • What software do I need?
 

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Yes it is possible, might be a bit of a hassle to get it set up at first.
1. For your data to be accessible 24/7 the PC must be on 24/7 (duh). But what that means is the hard drives will be spinning longer, wearing them out more, so we will want a way to avoid that. http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/21454-hard-disk-turn-off-after-idle-windows-10-a.html This tutorial should do the trick, but there are alternative ways to do it if that doesn't do the trick.
What you want is the SSD to be the boot drive, since it will last a lot longer being turned on all of the time, and set the hard drives to shut off around 30 minutes of inactivity (more than enough time to go from playlist to playlist while multitasking).
2. You want your data to be accessible through your network and through the internet. You don't really want to be limited by your internet speed when browsing music and especially videos. Some simple tinkering with Windows Explorer and you will be able to link anything to the network (you should probably keep a folder of this stuff on your desktop). And it's very easy to password protect these files. So that half is done now.
3. To be able to access from the internet reliably, make sure you're using an ethernet cable. There are a lot of ways you can go about doing this step, but I think an FTP server hosted from your computer would be the best. This can be done very simply and there are plenty of tutorials online so I feel like I can just leave you at that.
4. Since you want to be able to access the network from touch screens, I'd recommend just mounting Windows Tablets to safe places and connecting whatever you need to it (sound system, your TV, even cameras if you want!). Then configure them to easily access the FTP server and the network media in a pinch (shortcuts will help a lot). This should be very easy on Windows Tablets, which is why I recommend them for this use.

And believe it or not you're basically done here! But I do have recommendations for the hardware:
CPU: At least 4 cores, doesn't have to be anything fancy. Any old Xeon or hex/octacore AMD chip would be very suitable. Hyperthreading would be a good added bonus.
GPU: Integrated graphics would be appropriate here, but if you have a discrete GPU then that would be fine too (especially if integrated graphics are absent)
Power supply: Anything would work here, but I'd recommend a high efficiency level since it will be on all of the time, and you might want to add a UPS later on, especially if you live somewhere where power outages are common.
Storage: Honestly WD reds are a bit expensive and a bit too overkill for a home server in my opinion. I'd recommend one or two 5400rpm hard drives (2.5" preferable) big enough to hold all of your data, a backup drive if needed, and an SSD as the boot drive (any old SSD will work). A dedicated drive for any use is completely optional.
RAM: 8gb or more with low CAS latency would be suitable

If you have any questions feel free to ask, I hope I helped
smile.gif
 

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My personal set up

Hardware: I am using a i7-4770K w/16GB RAM with a WD Blue 160GB boot drive, running Win8 at the moment. I was using a i5-3570K w/8GB RAM before that and it worked just fine, but I wanted more threads for BOINC. I was looking for something that was energy efficient since its on all the time. I'm using a ITX form factor, so I have two RAIDON SafeTANKs attached. I was designing it to be on a shelf, so I wanted someting that was low profile. I started out with 2 x 2TB SpinPoint 5400 RPM drives in each unit. They are configured as RAID 1. I recently upgraded one SafeTANK to 2 x 4TB WD Red. Haven't had trouble with either configuration. I keep music and videos on the 4TB volume, and backups and shared files on the 2TB volume.

Not sure what you mean with guest access? Sounds like you want them to use wireless access? Most wireless routers have guest access that will exclude them from your internal network but can use the internet. Otherwise, maybe you talking using a VPN like Hamachi or OpenVPN if you want to do some LAN gaming or something? File shares could be restricted by setting permissions that only your account can open the shared folders, etc. Speaking of wireless, you'd probably want to get at least a Wireless N router for streaming. Depending on the size of your house you would want to get some wireless repeaters or set up secondary access points. I've got a small house..about 800 sq. ft. (~75 square meters). I'm using a ASUS RT-87R Wireless-AC router. I was getting studder with the old Netgear N900 I had. I think it may have been a driver issue with my laptop, but my wife's laptop and my other gear worked fine on it.

Software: I am using Plex Media server. Its supported on a wide verity of hardware. I have a Roku on one TV, my other TV supports it natively. Consoles and most smartphones support it. You can access your account outside your network via http://plex.tv. Supports music streaming too. You can share videos with friends as well, either by logging into your server with your login (not recommended) or by them having thier own server set up and you invite them. They can view your media, but don't need your login.

There are other solutions out there using Linux, or using KODI instead of Plex, but this is my personal set up. It works fine for what I want it to do.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Account Banned View Post

Yes it is possible, might be a bit of a hassle to get it set up at first.
1. For your data to be accessible 24/7 the PC must be on 24/7 (duh). But what that means is the hard drives will be spinning longer, wearing them out more, so we will want a way to avoid that. http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/21454-hard-disk-turn-off-after-idle-windows-10-a.html This tutorial should do the trick, but there are alternative ways to do it if that doesn't do the trick.
What you want is the SSD to be the boot drive, since it will last a lot longer being turned on all of the time, and set the hard drives to shut off around 30 minutes of inactivity (more than enough time to go from playlist to playlist while multitasking).
2. You want your data to be accessible through your network and through the internet. You don't really want to be limited by your internet speed when browsing music and especially videos. Some simple tinkering with Windows Explorer and you will be able to link anything to the network (you should probably keep a folder of this stuff on your desktop). And it's very easy to password protect these files. So that half is done now.
3. To be able to access from the internet reliably, make sure you're using an ethernet cable. There are a lot of ways you can go about doing this step, but I think an FTP server hosted from your computer would be the best. This can be done very simply and there are plenty of tutorials online so I feel like I can just leave you at that.
4. Since you want to be able to access the network from touch screens, I'd recommend just mounting Windows Tablets to safe places and connecting whatever you need to it (sound system, your TV, even cameras if you want!). Then configure them to easily access the FTP server and the network media in a pinch (shortcuts will help a lot). This should be very easy on Windows Tablets, which is why I recommend them for this use.

And believe it or not you're basically done here! But I do have recommendations for the hardware:
CPU: At least 4 cores, doesn't have to be anything fancy. Any old Xeon or hex/octacore AMD chip would be very suitable. Hyperthreading would be a good added bonus.
GPU: Integrated graphics would be appropriate here, but if you have a discrete GPU then that would be fine too (especially if integrated graphics are absent)
Power supply: Anything would work here, but I'd recommend a high efficiency level since it will be on all of the time, and you might want to add a UPS later on, especially if you live somewhere where power outages are common.
Storage: Honestly WD reds are a bit expensive and a bit too overkill for a home server in my opinion. I'd recommend one or two 5400rpm hard drives (2.5" preferable) big enough to hold all of your data, a backup drive if needed, and an SSD as the boot drive (any old SSD will work). A dedicated drive for any use is completely optional.
RAM: 8gb or more with low CAS latency would be suitable

If you have any questions feel free to ask, I hope I helped
smile.gif
Thank you for the great list, will look into all of these. I think going with a little older hardware might be the best thing to do. And I can't argue against a recommendation of cheaper drives
biggrin.gif

You have definitely helped and if I need to know something else I'll send you a PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spdaimon View Post

My personal set up

Hardware: I am using a i7-4770K w/16GB RAM with a WD Blue 160GB boot drive, running Win8 at the moment. I was using a i5-3570K w/8GB RAM before that and it worked just fine, but I wanted more threads for BOINC. I was looking for something that was energy efficient since its on all the time. I'm using a ITX form factor, so I have two RAIDON SafeTANKs attached. I was designing it to be on a shelf, so I wanted someting that was low profile. I started out with 2 x 2TB SpinPoint 5400 RPM drives in each unit. They are configured as RAID 1. I recently upgraded one SafeTANK to 2 x 4TB WD Red. Haven't had trouble with either configuration. I keep music and videos on the 4TB volume, and backups and shared files on the 2TB volume.

Not sure what you mean with guest access? Sounds like you want them to use wireless access? Most wireless routers have guest access that will exclude them from your internal network but can use the internet. Otherwise, maybe you talking using a VPN like Hamachi or OpenVPN if you want to do some LAN gaming or something? File shares could be restricted by setting permissions that only your account can open the shared folders, etc. Speaking of wireless, you'd probably want to get at least a Wireless N router for streaming. Depending on the size of your house you would want to get some wireless repeaters or set up secondary access points. I've got a small house..about 800 sq. ft. (~75 square meters). I'm using a ASUS RT-87R Wireless-AC router. I was getting studder with the old Netgear N900 I had. I think it may have been a driver issue with my laptop, but my wife's laptop and my other gear worked fine on it.

Software: I am using Plex Media server. Its supported on a wide verity of hardware. I have a Roku on one TV, my other TV supports it natively. Consoles and most smartphones support it. You can access your account outside your network via http://plex.tv. Supports music streaming too. You can share videos with friends as well, either by logging into your server with your login (not recommended) or by them having thier own server set up and you invite them. They can view your media, but don't need your login.

There are other solutions out there using Linux, or using KODI instead of Plex, but this is my personal set up. It works fine for what I want it to do.
With guest acces I just meant when people are here they can connect to the internet, but not to our intranet. So might have to look into getting a router that supports what you mentioned.
I heard about Plex before, and I was thinking of using that too, I'll look into it and the alternatives some more.
Thank you for your reply.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTheuns View Post

With guest acces I just meant when people are here they can connect to the internet, but not to our intranet. So might have to look into getting a router that supports what you mentioned.
I heard about Plex before, and I was thinking of using that too, I'll look into it and the alternatives some more.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes you will need some type of routing/firewall device for this. I use pfSense for this and firewall rules on my Guest interface configured to block all outgoing connections except to the internet.

If you check this link and scroll to the Internet Only VLAN section you'll see how it can be configured easily.

https://calvin.me/block-traffic-vlan-pfsense/
 
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