Started: 28-July-2018   Finished: 28-Aug-2018 Objectives:
  • Pull CAT6, tel and coax throughout house. (completed)
  • Move existing legacy cables (garage and guest house) from old closet to attic (completed)
  • Install patch panels (completed)
  • Install switches (completed)
  • Install Tele and TV distribution (completed)
  Networking project: (End of Jul-Aug 2018) This project sort of had to happen before I could proceed with the kitchen remodel.  We bought the house in 2012, and since I work from home, I decided to use the space above the detached garage (about 80’ from the house) for my office.  I had a trench dug between the house and the garage and pulled cable (8 CAT6, 2 CAT5e (for phones), and 2 Coax through some PVC conduit).  The space above the garage is divided into two rooms.  One room I use as an office and the other we use as spill over guest space.  In the guest space I ran 1 of each type and the rest went into my office.  In the main house, I ran the cables from the garage through the crawlspace and into the closet behind the TV cabinet.  I had a two post coms rack so I mounted a patch panel and switch to it and was able to get off my spotty wifi signal in my office.  In addition to the patch panel, and switch, I put my cable modem, wireless router and UPS in the closet behind the TV cabinet.  A year later I ran a few more CAT 6 drops to this closet bringing the total to 15 CAT 6 drops, 4 CAT5e drops for phones, and 4 RG6 (Coax) to this closet.  This setup worked well, until we decided to re-do the kitchen.  Since, I didn’t want to re-pull cables to my office and needed to keep my connectivity available for work, I had to plan on moving the network out of the closet and get it in its final home before I could move forward with the other projects.  I went back up into the attic and started building out the space for my network (see other attic projects).  I pulled up more of the attic floor so that I could run cable to the upstairs rooms.  I ran a total of 73 CAT6 cables (only meant to run 72, but forgot how to count or something).  For the downstairs I ran riser cable along the chimney chase from the attic down into the crawlspace and from there to the various rooms.  I also pulled some extra flex conduit which I left empty in case I ever have to add cables.  Since, the bundle of cables was getting pretty big, 8 of the 72 cables that I punched down are designated spares and are just 100’ cables that are run to the storage space behind the rack.  If I need more drops I should be able to reach just about anywhere in the house with 100′ of cable.  All in all I think I’m pretty well covered.  Probably overkill, but better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. In order to avoid pulling new cable to my office, I used some CAT 6 cable splice boxes that I found on Amazon.  It took a few weeks to get all of this done, but I never lost connectivity (except when things were powered off to be moved or punched down) in my office.
CAT6 splice boxes I found on Amazon.  I mounted them on a piece of scrap plywood and put it in my crawlspace.  You use a 110 Punch Down Tool and punch the wires down onto a CAT6 block and they seem to work really well.
I ordered a small 12 U rack from Amazon and mounted it on the plywood wall I had built.  Next to that is a Leviton box with my phone and CATV distribution.  I use an Ooma for phone service, but pulled a cable from the outside demarcation in case I ever want to switch to POTS.  I did the same for the CATV if I ever want to enable TV service over my cable connection. The blue flex conduit on the upper left punches through the wall and connects to a weatherproof box next to the chimney where I’ve run my OTA TV connection.
12 U rack I got for my patch panels, and switches.
Leviton box for Tele and TV
For the CATV runs, I bought two 6-way splitters, and a 2 way splitter.  I have a few pretty long runs, so had to do a little bit of calculating to make everything work right.  The signal comes in from the Antenna on the roof, and goes into an amp.  From the amp it goes into the 2 way splitter and from there into each of the 6 way splitters.  My longer runs are on the block on the left and split 3 ways.  The right block is fully populated. The phones are actually CAT5e cables (I had a bunch on hand).  The punchdown blocks allow for 4 lines, but I doubt that I’ll ever use it.   My rack is configured like this: All the cables that I pulled (except the extra one where I forgot how to count) are punched down to the patch panels.
Patch panel 1
I just need to terminate most of them on the other end.  Fortunately they are all very well labeled.  The switches are Netgear Gig switches.  The one on the bottom is my old switch and will have to be replaced shortly as there are quite a few dead ports.  Neither one is stackable, but I can LAG the 4 GBIC ports and connect the two switches together effectively giving them a a 4 Gig backbone.  If I had a bigger budget I’d get stackable switches.  Well, for that matter I’d probably get Cisco switches so long as I’m fantasizing about a bigger budget.
Rack. Right now there’s not a lot hooked up, mostly just my legacy connections.
There is also an RF amp mounted in the back that you can’t see.  I put it in the rack because it generates heat and I wanted to keep it cool so it didn’t burn itself out.   Obviously this didn’t just happen that I pulled all this cable and kept everything organized.  Check out the network planning section to see what I came up with for the network planning.  There is still (always) more work to do on this project, but I’m at a place where I can put it on hold while I work on other things.