Home Network Hardware

Network Closet

While this information may still be useful, it is out of date. We moved in early 2010, and I have not updated this information to reflect the networking in our new home.

Just before our first son was born, we has some major home remodeling done. As part of the remodel, we had an empty heater closet converted into a network closet.

Mounted to the wall of the network closet is a small 19-inch equipment rack. Mounted to the rack are the network wiring patch panels, the Ethernet switches, and a 10-outlet Belkin surge protector. Sitting on a shelf in the rack are the wireless access point, the Internet gateway, the cable modem and the networked digital television tuner.

Sitting on the floor of the network closet is the server.

Network Wiring

While this information may still be useful, it is out of date. We moved in early 2010, and I have not updated this information to reflect the networking in our new home.

In addition, as part of the remodel, we had communication cabling run throughout the house.

Television, telephone and data wiring are brought into the network closet. From the network closet, they are distributed throughout the house.

A 24-port AMP Netconnect Enhanced System patch panel is used to fan out the telephone connection. The Internet gateway, and the Ethernet switches are used to fan out the data connection.

Category 6 cable runs from 48-port Panduit DP6 patch panel in the network closet to communication outlets throughout the house. Each communication outlet has three category 6 cables connected to RJ-45 connectors. Each room (except the bathrooms) has two or three communication outlets.

By using an Etherent patch cable to patch from the Panduit DP6 patch panel to the AMP Netconnect Enhanced System patch panel, a category 6 run can be connected to the telephone network. By using an Etherent patch cable to patch from the Panduit DP6 patch panel to the Ethernet switches a category 6 run can be connected to the data network. Each communication outlet has one catagory 6 run connected to the telephone network, one catagory 6 run connected to the Ethernet network, and one catagory 6 run connected to either the telephone or Ethernet network depending on the needs of the particular area.

Ethernet Switches

While this information may still be useful, it is out of date. We moved in early 2010, and I have not updated this information to reflect the networking in our new home.

Two interconnected Dell PowerConnect 2716 16-port 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet switches handle the data switching. Collectively, the two 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet switches are connected to the server, the Internet gateway, the wireless access point, the networked digital television tuner, and the category 6 data runs.

I like these switches because they support some useful higher end features while remaining inexpensive. For example, they support management through a web interface, link aggregation, and virtual local area networks. Using the link aggregation, I am able to interconnect the two switches with four 1000Mbps links rather than one.

Wireless Access Point

While this information may still be useful, it is out of date. We moved in early 2010, and I have not updated this information to reflect the networking in our new home.

I replaced our Aironet 4800 802.11b wireless access point with a D-Link DWL-7000AP 802.11a/b/g wireless access point (which has been discontinued and replaced by the D-Link DWL-7100AP). I replaced the access point because I wanted IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.1x, and WPA-Enterprise support.

I wanted to play with 802.11a. In addition, I wanted to know whether or not it would provide good coverage in our house. If the coverage was good, then I could begin using 802.11a rather than 802.11b/g. This would free the 2.4GHz spectrum for other uses, such as cordless phones. However, since getting the DWL-7000AP, we switched to using DECT 6.0 cordless telephones, so freeing the 2.4GHz spectrum for cordless phones is no longer an issue.

I wanted to play with 802.1x and WPA-Enterprise. In addition, I wanted the addition security provided by 802.1x and WPA-Enterprise.

Internet Gateway

I replaced our Linksys BESRF41 router with a D-Link DFL-300 router (which has been discontinued and replaced by the D-Link DFL-210). At the time that I did this, we did not have the server. I got the D-Link DFL-300 because it has a built in DNS server and more flexible packet filtering and forwarding. Now that we have the server, we no longer use the DFL's DHCP server and DNS server, but we still use the more flexible packet filtering and forwarding. Eventually, once we need IPv6 support, the server may replace the D-Link DFL-300 as the Internet gateway.

Cable Modem

While this information may still be useful, it is out of date. We moved in early 2010, and I have not updated this information to reflect the networking in our new home.

We have a Motorola SB5100 SURFboard cable modem provided by our cable service provider.

Server

Originally, we had the Intel Pentium 4 server described here. However, we needed more disk space to store our increasing volume of digital photos and television recordings. Since the disk drives are a majority of the cost, I decided to upgrade the server.

Active Server (Intel Core 2 Quad)

Currently, the computer consists of the following components, all of which I purchased from newegg.com:

I chose the Antec Performance One P180B case because reviews of the case from friends and the Internet described it as being very quite. While I liked the Antec Senota case I used for my previous server, I like this case even more. In addition to being quiet, this case has excellent cooling.

Originally, the system had one Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz CPU, because Core 2 Quad CPUs available at the time were too costly. Once the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 became available and dropped in price, I upgraded to the Q6600. I wanted the additional cores to speed up compiling during software development.

Originally, the system had four Crucial CT12872AA667 1GB 240-Pin DIMM DDR2 PC2-5300 ECC SDRAM, because higher speed, higher density ECC memory was not available. Once the 2GB DDR2 PC2-6400 ECC SDRAM became available and dropped in price, I upgraded to the 2GB DDR2 PC2-6400 ECC SDRAM.

Originally, the system had two Seagate Barracuda ES ST3750640NS 750GB SATA 3.0Gbps hard drives for MythTV recordings. Once I began to run out of space for MythTV recordings, I upgraded to two 2TB SATA 3.0Gbps hard drives.

Retired Server (Intel Pentium 4)

While I had upgraded components of existing computers, I had never assembled a new computer. Therefore, I decided to assemble the server computer rather than buy an already assembled computer. Currently, the computer consists of the following components, most of which I purchased from newegg.com:

I chose the Antec Sonata case because friends told me that it is quiet and that it makes accessing hard drives easy.

I chose the Intel S875WP1-E motherboard because Intel makes reliable motherboards and because the motherboard has all the features that I needed. It has built-in graphics so I do not need a separate graphics card. It has a built-in 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet adapter and a 10/100Mbps Ethernet adapter so I do not need separate Ethernet cards for the LAN interface or the WAN interface. As a result of these built-in features, I do not need any separate cards.

I chose the Pentium 4 processor with HyperThreading because I prefer Intel processors and because I wanted to play with HyperThreading.

I chose the Zalman CNP6000-Cu CPU cooler because reviews said that it is quite.

I chose the Samsung SP1614N hard drives because reviews said that they are quite. Even though the motherboard supports SATA drives, I did not get SATA drives because at the time I assembled the computer Fedora Core did not have stable ICH5 SATA support.

I got two hard drives because I wanted to configure them in a RAID 1 configuration.

I added the Maxtor DiamondMax 10 hard drives, the Hauppauge PVR-250 MCE cards and the Broadband Technologies AirStar-HD5000-PCI card when we started using the server as a MythTV backend. I got two hard drives because my wife wanted me to configure them in a RAID 1 configuration. After losing all our recorded programs on our TiVo when one of the hard drives failed, she wanted some redundancy.

I added the MTG CR-IN212XU-1 card reader when I needed to test the local boot support that I added to MiniMyth.