Building Home Network

swampgator352

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Mar 15, 2021
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I am moving into a new home that does not seem to have any coax connection installed inside the home. I don't think there is even a connection coming into the house from the ISP, but I am fairly confident that the ISP will be responsible for that.

Given this somewhat blank slate, I am trying to imagine the best way configure to the hardware for my home network. I have minimal experience with networking and this will be my first year doing a Christmas light show. Any suggestions on ways to set up networking hardware to "future proof" expansions my show?

Given my limited networking experience, I would also be glad to hear any general suggestions as well. Is running cables and installing a few ethernet ports in addition to the coax connection for the gateway a reasonable DIY project? Or would it be better left to a professional?
 

Derf

Therapist - Specialising in 5v mistakes
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Hi There!

It all depends on how you much you want to do. Network cabling is one of those things really anyone can do. All you need to do is make sure that the standard you use is the same as the other end of the cable. DIY will definitely save you a lot of $$$ in the long run. I do it to my house all the time. for the Cost of a punch down tool and some cable you can pretty much put network cables anywhere.

Some of the places I would highly recommend having ethernet ports are in your office (try to get 2 there, Living room, One outside for your show, on your ceiling in the central location of your house). Now depending on your style of home it may be an easy job or a hard job.

In regards to all the connection and wifi I'm personally a fan of Ubiquiti equipment for a residential / small business perspective. Depending on how large your home is a UAP-AC-LITE

Your internet service provider will provide you a CPE (Customer premise equipment) which will convert your coaxial internet connection to local ethernet ports. You could then plug that directly into a Ubiquiti USG or Ubiquiti Dream Machine which is all a pretty quick and simple setup from their phone app.

Alternatively i've heard good things about the google Mesh wifi system if you don't mind sacrificing a bit of wifi speed.
 

swampgator352

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Thanks so much, that's a helpful place for me to start planning!

Any advice on fishing cables through the walls? Is there a way to avoid the need to run them through studs, etc.?

Are there any best practices around securing an outdoor ethernet port? Does that present a security concern? Would setting up a separate subnet for the show be sufficient?
 

TerryK

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Going sideways inside the walls is next to impossible without removing the wall covering (drywall, plaster, whatever) unless done during the home build itself. If the home is built on a slab then going up into and through the attic is the only option. If the home is a 2 story then going up or down becomes very difficult as well if moving between floors. When 'fishing' I use either a small chain or solid wire when going up and only a solid wire if going down. The 'curl' is removed from the wire to insure it does not fold back on itself when shoved into the wall interior. Whatever I use is also long enough to not drop through and out of sight inside the wall (or anchored to prevent that if going (pulling) up.

Weatherproof boxes and covers should be available. If not one specifically for Ethernet, then one for a typical electrical outlet might be 'repurposed'. I do not see an exterior Ethernet connection as a security risk but if one would then unplugging the interior connection when not in use should be easy enough to accomplish. And yes, a separate subnet for your show is recommended and just one should be sufficient.
 

Derf

Therapist - Specialising in 5v mistakes
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I can't really speak for US building codes as construction of dwellings are different here in Australia.

I can normally put all of my cabling on external walls of my property that way I can just run them in the attic / roof space and bring them all into the garage to my server rack.

Im personally not a fan of subnetting my network. If you are not network savvy it becomes more headache than what the benefits of segregating your network are.

There is no speed, ping, etc advantages of swapping subnets. Only being able to have more than 253 Ip addresses to use and other functions but this goes very far into networking as a subject.

You can also get outdoor networking boxes that provide a water resistant cover to stop the terminals rusting. Im pretty sure they come with a loop section you can put a padlock on.
 

swampgator352

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After setting up the subnet, what type of headaches do you open yourself up to? I was thinking that once it was set up there would not be much ongoing maintenance needed, but it sounds like that might not be the case. I would love to know more...fairly inexperienced here.
 

Derf

Therapist - Specialising in 5v mistakes
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Messages
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Location
Narellan, NSW
If you separate your network your computer would not be able to talk directly to your show network without a "proxy" which is normally controlled by a Falcon Pi Player. If you don't have a indepth knowledge about these sorts of network features it becomes difficult to troubleshoot when something does happen.

So if you ever need to go to a controller and perform a firmware upgrade, etc. You would have to reconfigure your computer to be able to hop over to the other network.

From my experience it normally ends up being more negative than positive. I am still to find a positive on separating a show network for hobby use?.

Me personally have all sorts of stuff on my network and would say I have a bit of a more advanced than usual home network (coming from a networking background). I still have all my security cameras, wifi devices, smart home devices, show network, P5's, etc, etc on the same subnet and have only used about 65% of the IP's I can use. If I were to create a new network subnet for each product that would be a lot of changes I would have to make just to say okay.

Cameras are 192.168.2.1
Show is 192.168.3.1
Computers is 192.168.4.1
etc etc.

Where by just printing a label for each devices makes more sense to me (falcon's display its IP on the oled screen).

Its everyone's own opinion about how they setup their show and there is definitely no wrong or correct way to do it as long as you can understand how things are working to troubleshoot it if it needs attention.
 

swampgator352

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Mar 15, 2021
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I really appreciate your thoughts on this topic! I have kept researching and am considering setting up a few VLANs in the house through a managed switch. Do you think there would be less of a learning curve/be easier to troubleshoot this kind of network design?
 

TerryK

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I really appreciate your thoughts on this topic! I have kept researching and am considering setting up a few VLANs in the house through a managed switch. Do you think there would be less of a learning curve/be easier to troubleshoot this kind of network design?
Just noticed, I do not think anyone answered your question.

My opinion is, few if any home display networks are complex enough to warrant a VLAN. Depending upon how structured one is would relate to how difficult to maintain and understand/learn it. Put another way, in my experience VLANs are more difficult to learn/understand/maintain rather than easier. Equipment costs are greater too.
 
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