My home network setup


I spent some time today taking care of something rather mundane: I produced a home network diagram. Although it didn’t take long, I found it quite a useful exercise. I actually feel somewhat relieved that I don’t have to maintain any of this stuff in my head anymore, as it’s gradually getting more and more complex.

Most home networks grow in an organic fashion, with bits being added or changed depending on what takes your fancy at any particular moment. When we moved into our new home though, I was determined I wanted to make the most of the empty house before we moved in and carefully thought about how I planned to use it at first, and how I might need it to adapt. I didn’t want it to be obvious or intrusive, so most of the hardware is completely out of view.

In a nutshell, here’s some of the things I have done:

  • ‘Node 0’ is a custom built shelf unit in the office. It is passively cooled and also has surge protection.
  • Each room has at least two RJ45 sockets embedded in the wall. The living room has 4 outlets, 2 by the TV and two in another corner.
  • Each room is cabled with a telephone outlet and the BT master socket is at Node 0.

And here’s a brief equipment listing:

  • Netgear 24 port 10/100 Switch
  • Netgear FVS 124G VPN Firewall/Router
  • Be Box (Thomson Speedtouch) ADSL2+ Modem Router

In the living room, we have the XBOX 360 Elite and an HP MediaSmart Windows Home Server with 1TB of storage hooked up to the network, and an IP network camera (however this isn’t in use as yet).

In the office, we have:

  • Evesham Solar Quattro Quad Core PC with triple 22″ widescreen LCD’s (wall mounted). This is my development PC, and where I do most of my work.
  • Low cost Packard Bell PC for my partner to use for university etc.
  • 2 printers: 1 x Lexmark E120 Laser Printer connected to an Edimax USB to LAN converter, and 1 x Brother Multifunction 5860CN Colour Printer/Scanner.

Home automation

Each of our rooms is fitted with at least two Domia Wall Dimmers. These are X10 controllable dimmer switch units with ‘soft start’. Our living room is the only exception at the moment as the low voltage lighting doesn’t have dimmable transformers at the moment (something I still need to get around to).

We also have an X10 control pad by the bed so that we can control all the lights in the house from there, along with the dimmable spotlights above the bed for reading etc. Our lamps are also X10 enabled.

Finally, our Windows Home Server is running Harmony Home Automation Server. I have yet to invest in wireless remotes etc because I haven’t seen the need for them right now. Our home is pretty small, so the wall switches are never more than a few feet away at most.

We also have a ViewSonic Wireless alarm system, which doubles as an X10 controller. There are three PIR motion sensors and two door switch sensors and the alarm system is connected to the telephone line so we are informed of any unusual activity. Of course, our PIRs are pet safe because we have two cats 🙂

So that’s it, in a nutshell, my home network and small HA setup.


4 thoughts on “My home network setup

  1. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Actually, your comment has reminded me that I really need to update this post since I’ve changed a lot in the time since it was written!

    I too am now CAT6 to all the rooms and there are now four ports next to the TV (instead of the two previously), because we’ve now a Media Center PC there, a Freesat box with an ethernet connection and the Blu-ray player which also has an ethernet connection.

    HDbaseT looks to be somewhat of a “magic bullet” solution, but my experience of looking through the hardware offerings so far is that it is very expensive and few mainstream companies seem to be manufacturing devices for it at this time.

    I’m not sure how quickly it’ll catch on but I think for now the CAT6 solutions, which are far more prevalent and offer more hardware choice is probably still the best way to go.



  2. PVM

    Hi Richard,
    I have also gone down a similar route to you, I had to rewire my house and decided to put in CAT6 outlets to all rooms including two at TV and a further 3 in and around kitchen/dining room. I have a Lexmark E120n printer, 12 port CAT6 wall mounted 3P tested patch panel and Virgin 20Meg broadband coupled to a Belkin pre N router.
    I have a Squeezebox Duet and will be getting Virgin Tivo soon. Sorry to go on a bit, I also have a Acer Revo Aspire R3610 with 4Gb ram and 500 Gb hard drive. I am looking forward to HDbaseT to go more main stream and wondered what your opinion is on HDbaseT and if you see the possibilities of using it for POE speakers and other gadgets.
    Thank you for your great blogs.

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