Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Turst me, I know what I'm doing...


I'm probably moving my office to be above the garage.

In preparation for that, I did the whole "get CAT6 networking to the new location" thing, which has involved re-acquainting myself with our crawlspace. Spending my days crawling around, hoping I'm not going to encounter any dead mice (or live ones, for that matter).

I obviously already had cable going to various locations in the house, but the way that had happened, I'd done them one at a time, and my current office ended up being the hub for it all. And since I really wasn't going to re-route all the cables and make the new office be another hub of chaos, and I certainly wasn't going to leave the hub in what will become a kids bedroom, the above is the result.

Beautiful it ain't. It's a real media center enclosure, but the networking hubs that are meant for those things are overpriced and generally just pitiful 4-port 100Mbps switches with dubious firewall capabilities, so I'm just installing my own. And some day, I'll actually add the screws that hold the boxes where they are supposed to go, rather than just sitting in a pile on top of each other at the bottom of the box.

I haven't had the energy to fix the telephone wiring. As you can see, I now have the header for getting that particular mess sorted out too, but I'm not the person who created that particular "rat king" of cabling under our house in the first place. So I'm not feeling the need quite acutely enough to spend another few hours crawling around straightening out all that wiring. Same goes for TV cabling. You can kind of tell what part of the house wiring I actually care about...

49 comments:

swamytk said...

Linus,

it seems to be well organized. how come you manage to do these works among hacks? I am so lazy to make lame excuse for not maintaining my gadgets properly. Some thing to learn from you again :-)

thanks for sharing!

Tom said...

Now I know your IP address! *8*

NoName said...

Looks pretty cool. & I can't tell what part of the house wiring you actually care about... :-)

Linus said...

Tom: I may have obscured the admin login and password, but yeah, you got me on the IP address.

I hope none of the script kiddies try to DDoS my box now that they know my IP numbers.

Martin said...

Oh, yes, same situation here. My former office is now the bedroom, and there's a small 19" network rack right next to my wife's bed. :-)

Brian said...

"I hope none of the script kiddies try to DDoS my box now that they know my IP numbers."

Hey we have the same ip address?!?!?!?
;-)

I really should straighten out the rats nest that is my home phone wiring. Even though we don't use it because our home phone is voip, and we don;t really use that, just cell phones. But dammit it should be organized!

faissl said...

then why you just don't use a wireless network..?

SyXbiT said...

Nice setup.
Is that the new Motorola SB6120 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem I see?
If I can spare the ~$90 I might get one :)

Linus said...

faissl: we do have a wireless network too (one of the unmarked cables goes to a wireless access point in the kitchen), but quite frankly, we've had horrible issues with it.

For example, both Tove and the kids used to be on the wireless network, and even though neither location is very far from the AP, they've had up to 20% packet loss at times.

I suspect that one of the issues is bad antenna design. A laptop in the kids room gets great reception - while the mac mini just three feet away is borderline and loses packets. The box may be nice and small, but the antenna clearly sucks dead baby donkeys through a straw.

Regardless of the reason, I find a wired home so much better. It also means that if I ever want to do MythTV or a NAS box or anything like that, I'll not have to worry about bandwidth and lost packets.

(The kids room is still unwired, but that's because I haven't found a good way to sneak a cable there without opening up too many walls)

SyXbiT: yes, that's a Moto DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem. Not because I needed it, but because once I had trouble with my original box (see post a few months ago when I switched to Comcast), I decided I might as well get something that should be future-proof and not borderline.

Robert said...

Am i too much of a maximalist to expect that CableModems and routers and switches and pretty much every electronic networking device should have through hole cavities for drywall screws and rackmount adaptable chassis.

With holes, a couple screws go directly through the device to mount on the wall or under the desk.

Mounting Motorola's CableModem is more difficult now than ever. Linksys and the like think people actually have deskspace for these utilities.

Seemone75 said...

Are you leaving your network hub at the mercy of your kids? :-D

Amber said...

The best thing is, nobody mentioned the typo (yet)

BulletXt said...

Turst him!

Tony said...

Wireless sucks for data ... but works fine for phones. So don't worry about the phone wiring in the house. Just buy a multi-pack DECT 6.0 phone system from Costco. Plug the base unit into the one and only phone line you keep, then sprinkle handsets around the house.

Linus said...

Tony: that's what we have (well, not DECT, since that was fairly rare in the US back when we got our system: it's a 5.8Ghz multi-phone system).

But here's also the security system, and occasional fax use. And I hate having all those phone outlets that just don't work (because previous expansions had just not cared enough).

But yeah, the phone lines are way down on my priority list.

gpb said...

Dear Linus sir

I tried to DDOS your router ip but for some weird reason smoke started coming out of my router, you think a kernel bug since I was running linux?

SAL-e said...

Linus,

Don't bother with the screws for your devices. I found out the long cable tight wraps works better. That way you can remove and re-attach the device when you need. I think even Google uses plastic wraps to fix HDDs and Power Supplies in in their servers. [1]

Best regards,
SAL-e

http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/GoogleServerMedium.jpg

Tamisoft said...

Linus:one of the reasons why you might have bad reception with the AP is exactly the closeness of the device. Try lowering the tx power if it is a goal to run a device 3 feet from it;) Or buy a 1m cable..:P

Tony: I agree, DECT rules. Many years ago we were researching motorola's dect phone system characteristics and we all loved what we saw. For voice it offers many features and it is very reliable on the established voice path.

Linus said...

Tamisoft: you misunderstood. The AP is maybe 15-20 ft away from the kids room. And in that kids room, the laptop gets perfect reception, while the Mac Mini drops packets all the time.

IOW, the two different client machines were within a few feet of each other, not to the AP.

Sure, you can do external antennas etc and fix wireless problems. But compared to having a nice CAT6 cable drop, I know which one I'll take any day.

I leave the wireless for devices that really need the mobility.

Tamisoft said...

Awww, this makes sense now. Yeah then you just discovered another mystery of wifi APs. What is the model you have? (so we all can avoid it in the future;))

I totally agree on the good 'o cat6. An I like your choice with the netgear switch.

sylware said...

Where is the FTTH??

Илья Владимирович said...

Very good .config)))

Carlos (casep) Sepúlveda said...

"And some day, I'll actually add the screws that hold the boxes where they are supposed to go"
Yeah rite...

Robert said...

dropped packets may be more of a problem with encryption negotiation as opposed to a truly weak signal. When my wireless ap is put into mixed wpa/wpa2 mode, the signal appears weaker. When the ap is in wpa only, it appears stronger, connects faster and more consistently, and no dropped packets. Some new device drivers do not keep up with wpa2, but have no problem with wpa.

Robert said...

Sal-e,

i put up with expensive zip-tie saddle mounts and velcro because the manufacturer does not give me a choice.

$7.00 or more for zip-tie saddle mount system for each device.

Pennies for two drywall screws. Clean. Simplest. Doesn't block any view of LED indicators.

Pat Robertson said they made a pact with the devil and so we are all cursed for the daemons inside. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5nraknWoes

Anon1BEvYPeZ said...

Above the garage? You mean you don't live in a basement?!

Peter said...

Linus,

Did the media center enclosure came with a regular electrical power plug or did you have to do the electrical connections as well?

I was thinking about setting up something similar at my house. For now all my setup sits on top of an old cabinet in the basement with 2 inches of dust on top of it.

Thanks, love your blog.

Linus said...

Peter: you can go either way. Those media center systems have their own branded power box setups (mine is a Leviton "Structured Media Center" which is what Home Depot carries, but as far as I can tell, they are really all the same).

You then just pick the modules you want. The power module is one of them (actually - several of them, since there are multiple options on how it is set up), and if you are doing it in a finished space where you want to have a nice clean surface, go for that: that way you can just have an electrician wire things up inside the wall (or do it yourself).

Mine is actually inside the crawl space, so the box is more about keeping dust and potential critters out than about having a clean look. And the silly wall wart for the router has the power plug sideways, so it won't fit inside the box anyway.

Whatever floats your boat. The thing I personally would like to do is to put an UPS there, but I'm not sure how smart it is to hide one of those in the crawl space.

Btw, one good decision I did was to keep the box very close to the entrance to the crawl space. That way I can do all my ethernet wire crimping without having to physically sit in my crawlspace.

Shyam said...

it look very cool.i request other members that plz.trust him.yeast infection

Woodlark(Kangaskiuru) said...

"At Home" reportage. For a couple of years ago the TV channel for Swedish-speaking minority in Finland showed a documentary made by a talk-show princess about Linus' home in Portland, with basement cables and all. It was shown in the rest of Europe where I have my current residence. The man himself co-operated so I find it suitable to give you this hint here and now. - I enjoyed to see "Afrikan tähti" in the living room, the family board game I used to play in the 50s.

Peter said...

Linus,

Thanks for the reply (Bill Gates never replies to my questions, but I can't blame the guy).

Anyways, the UPS idea also crossed my mind but I'm not sure if I could find one that will fit inside the enclosure so unless they come up with something that was meant just for that purpose I'll have to put in a regular power outlet. Also I've looked around the Home Depot site and a "Leviton Structured Media 12-Volt Universal Mini DC Power Supply" caught my eye. Looks like it's designed to go with the enclosure and eliminates the need for all those separate 12-V power supplies. At least all of mine are 12-V so it would work perfectly.

pgr1973 said...

Hi Linus, maybe this would help with your WiFi-Probs:

http://www.heise.de/netze/artikel/Die-0-Euro-Antenne-223704.html

and/or:

http://www.heise.de/netze/artikel/WLAN-Richtfunk-mit-Hausmitteln-221433.html

(Both in German, but there'll be probably some english sites explaining this somewhere)

Regards Paddy

Robert said...

Peter, consider PowerOverEthernet. Wiring the panel solely with Cat5, putting the ups somewhere else to make it very easy to reset power.
http://www.wlanparts.com/category/poe/

Jefro said...

PoE is fun, but not appropriate here as you need the UPS to run the router.

UPS in the crawlspace should be no problem if you put nylon over any air ports. A better idea, though, is to put the UPS where you want it and run 12-2 romex to the power supply in the low-voltage panel, or to an electrical box next to the panel with a standard socket where you can plug in your oversized wall warts. In other words, build a custom extension cord to plug into the UPS.

(Some of us find it fun to run wiring in crawlspaces---meeting ALL the electrical codes is an interesting challenge!)

RuralRob said...

Regarding your wireless issues, I've found that the quality of the wireless base station really makes a difference. I have WiFi throughout my house (two stories, 2500 square feet), with a half dozen desktops/laptop connected to it. I went through wireless routers from LinkSys, Buffalo, and D-Link, and had frequent disconnects and packet loss with all of them. Then I got a Cradlepoint MBR-1000, and now my wireless network is ROCK SOLID. Connections have stayed up for days/weeks with no disconnects and no packet loss.

The I.M. Times said...

Linus,

I'm writing an essay about Microsoft for school, and need quotes and examples. It would be absolutely amazing if you could give me a quote about how Linux and Unix were built for security, but with Windows that was an afterthought.

I would love it if u could get back to me. It's due on Thursday.
Thanks! PS: Linux is the BEST! :-)

Darren Hart said...

Linus, I believe I installed the same media distribution center in our second bedroom, which was my office at the time. I also installed a standard switch inside and used non-branded electrical boxes for power. When I moved my office to make room for our second child however, I just built shelves around it in the closet and screwed down the lid. I can still open it as before, but it's not so noticeable anymore. I found wire-ties and/or Velcro can work well for integrating consumer networking equipment into these distribution boxes.

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Andy said...

Dear Mr. Torvalds

Would you kindly answer a few questions for the Russian weekly F5 (http://www.f5.ru/, unfortunately yet available only in Russian)? We’re currently working at the issue on the open-source software and your answers will be cited in the article. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!

Best regards,

Andrei Gankin (astronomerorama@gmail.com)

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Daniel Vaughan said...

Last time I did some cabling (some years ago) I found my face 20cm from a dead mouse.

原諒 said...

thx u very much, i learn a lot

DL-Groups said...

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I am dl from India.

JaY said...

Levaton box... hate those... They are cool but they charge way to much for the accessories... I see Linus thinks the same since there isn't any of the hubs or router addons...

Movie2satu said...

i've been find of coolman activity lol

movie2satu

Live said...

Hope you've got your box grounded well! (in case of lightning) and surge suppression. That splitter looks like it probably has some ground connections. If you are running Cat 6 to the garage and its more than just a very short run, put some lightning suppressors at the ends where it comes out of the conduit. Whenever you have a long wire, the amount of potential voltage that could be induced in it during lightning increases proportionate to its length and inversely to the distance from the strike.

Check this web page out. It applies to hams but has lots of good info.

http://www.arrl.org/lightning-protection

Its terrible to lose perfectly good equipment after a surge from a nearby lightning strike!

Desi Hot Girls said...

i must crack you! lolzz

Red said...

Although Linus never made it clear which part of the house wiring he actually cared about, I got some useful points in this post. For one thing, the new wiring set up looked nice. Hence, this post is another concept for DIY houses projects.

leo said...

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