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.