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Networks New home network from scratch - Hardware, implementation

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by TheStockBroker, 14 Mar 2013.

  1. TheStockBroker

    TheStockBroker Well-Known Member

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    Afternoon all.

    Having been impressed with the attention the most recent "home network" thread got, I thought I'd come here for some suggestions of my own. I've just taken my first step onto the property ladder and much like the other thread, I'm keen to make sure my network is properly set up from the beginning.

    That said, my questions are more towards hardware and proper implementation/network structure, so rather than hijack that thread, I thought it best to start my own. I've tried to do as much research as I can, but my knowledge (or lack therof) is definitely hindering me!

    My requirements: A well put together network of sufficient capacity that will serve all my devices and allow for expansion in future.

    Network devices and layout

    Downstairs:

    Foyer: FTTP Line into building, modem and router
    Reception 1: 10 Ethernet devices, resident WiFi, guest WiFi
    Reception 2: resident WiFi
    Dining room: 5 Ethernet devices, resident WiFi
    Kitchen: 5 Ethernet devices, resident WiFi
    Bathroom: resident WiFi
    Garage: Resident WiFi

    Upstairs:

    Guest room: 2 Ethernet devices, resident WiFi, guest WiFi
    Bedroom 2: Resident WiFi
    Bedroom 3: 2 Ethernet devices, resident WiFi
    Mancave (B4): 10 Ethernet devices, resident WiFi
    Bathroom 1 & 2: Resident WiFi

    All cabling will be Cat6.

    Also, before anyone scoffs at my need for WiFi in bathrooms... there is a legitimate reason for this, other than a throne phone browse!

    My thoughts on the network:

    Where ethernet is required:

    1 small managed gigabit switch (inc wireless AP) per room similar to this. Then have all room switches on a floor connect to a per-floor switch of this kind, which then heads to my router (I thought maybe this?)

    But I don't know if having switches connected to switches is silly, but it's the most tidy way I can think of doing things. Also, I don't know if I should be looking at a better router and go fibre-optic from per-floor switches to the router? SFP seems to be fairly accessible?

    WiFi:

    I'm hoping the abundance of high-powered APs in all the room switches I mentioned will be enough to provide full house coverage. But I have no idea how to "sync" all the APs to appear as a contiguous single WLAN, with of course a VWLAN for the guest wifi network.

    (I know my Draytek can do multiple WLANs, and indeed multiple SSIDS, across both frequency bands ... I assume what I ask therefore should be possible?)

    TL;DR

    1. Is it stupid to be chaining switches the way I intend?
    2. If it's not stupid to chain switches, should I go fibre from floor switches to router? Is there any real benefit to be had?
    3. Contiguous WLAN from multiple networked APs should be possible given hardware specified
    4. Is there more appropriate hardware or implementation I could use?

    I know you guys will point me in the right direction!
     
  2. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    First question.

    What's your budget?
     
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  3. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    Why on earth do you need an AP in every room? One would probably cover your whole house or one per floor if it did not.

    The normal config would be to have your router feeding into a switch in a central location which then connects to data sockets in each room. Having a switch in each room is not very efficient.
     
  4. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    If it were my network I wouldn't have all the little switches. Mainly - as I don't think this is good networking. Laying lots of cable and having one big switch I think is much better - I find this especially to be the case in home networks. I don't think you should put fibre all over the place either.

    Depends how many AP's you are going to have - really if you want your device to seemlessly flow from one AP to another, you will need a controller - otherwise what tends to happen is your device will stay on the AP that it connected to right up until the point it loses the signal/signal gets too weak, and will then hop onto the closest one - I don't like this - but the flip side of the coin is a wireless system with a controller is expensive.

    I don't know of that router. Once again if this was my house I would use draytek kit, it's a cut above most consumer stuff and is reasonably priced.

    "Chaining Switches and why I dont like it :)"

    If you have 4 devices plugged into a 5 port switch, and the 5th port to chain off to another switch/your main switch, then there is a limited capacity bandwidth between that switch and the rest of the network. Granted the switch and the computers attached to the switch will still be switching at whatever theyre supposed to be switching at (1Gb/s for example) but the actual bandwidth between that switch and the rest of the network is just 1Gb/s. This is a bigger problem in the home than it would be in most office environment as at home large files (ie media) get thrown around the network regularly. I'm a big stickler for 1 big switch, lots of cable. As then all cable runs are switching at 1gb/s and all cable runs have full bandwidth - smaller switches in my mind are for unplanned expansion or smaller networks.
     
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  5. Votick

    Votick My CPU's hot but my core runs cold.

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  6. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    I have aruba ap's in my house - once again no need for a controller - but they are 500 quid a pop! (I got mine for peanuts)

    Those meraki look nice though - hadn't seen those before.
     
  7. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Let's not forget that not everybody on here is an engineer with access to enterprise kit for free.
     
  8. TheStockBroker

    TheStockBroker Well-Known Member

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    God I love this community.

    Toughy. Truth be told, there isn't a magic figure anywhere; and it's not something I've been able to properly assess because I don't really know what I need. What does £1200 hard-ceiling get including connections? :( (Although, I suppose I could waylay other projects, and spend more if need be)

    This is why I came here, to be told what was silly and what was not :) I'm aware I don't need an AP in every room; but as I thought I needed a switch in every room; in my mind it didn't hurt to have variants with Wifi also to provide complete coverage. Exceptional wifi throughout is paramount though, as my entire home automation system will rely on it. Spotty wifi = sporadic lights, heating... etc.

    Hmm, yes I figured as such about the switches... The problem I have is that nothing is going in the walls - everything was going to be underfloor... so I'd planned flat CAT6... and just having a single cable leaving per room seemed the least messy way of doing it.
    I would love to have a "server rack" in the garage and have a single switch, with single connections per device... but short of putting ethernet through the external walls of the building and routing the cables down with the gutters/drains (I would happily do this if this is best) getting tens of cables (even flat ones) under the floor will be a problem.

    Okay, so I'm definitely getting a "multiple switch set-up is bad" vibe. Crap. I really am going to have to have tonnes of cables going outside...

    Wasn't aware of the controller requirement for AP roaming... I figured it would be as simple as spoofing ESSID and BSSID and broadcasting all packets from all APs.

    Oh dear. I'm very glad I asked now... I could have had a very crappy time when I went to set this all up in a few weeks time.

    Need to run and catch the train. - Will think on this and pose some questions when I get in! Thanks for all your input so far guys.
     
  9. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    Cabling depends on the construction of your house. If you have cavity walls than running cabling is pretty easy. If you have the horrific dot and dab walls favoured down south then it's going to be a bitch. Reading your previous threads TSB you come across as a man who is prepared to pay to have things done properly so once you have a network design sorted I would get some quotes on having the cabling installed for you. Looking at the size of your house and your location I doubt it was a minor investment so treat it right.

    For your wireless home automation will it actually use your data network or do the devices talk to each other using their own network and protocols?
     
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  10. TheStockBroker

    TheStockBroker Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I'm back having had thought about the whole situation (and visited the house again and taken proper measurements over the weekend)

    So, firstly; thanks for all the help so far (+rep) - sorry for my rushed reply on Thursday!

    Okay, so I shan't go through quoting again; but I'll summarise what I've taken to be the general feeling so far.

    • Multiple switches/switch chaining - Bad (in my situation at least)
    • Overzealous AP use - Unnecessary, and lacking needed configuration options without spending serious cash on enterprise-level wireless hardware

    So, assuming I adopt the single wireless AP per-floor option (would still like seamless roaming, but wired network is more of a priority right now, AP's are easily replaced in time) This basically brings me back to my original position.

    Consensus definitely suggests all ethernet devices terminating at a single switch in garage, and both in theory and logically I'm inclined to agree. Practically however, I can't (I haven't folded just yet). The logistics of routing and cost of all that cabling really does make it very undesirable. I perhaps should have stressed more, walls are not an option!

    This brings me back to a rehash of one of my original suggestions.

    What say the network experts of: 2 Switches. 1 per floor. All ethernet devices on each floor terminating at it's respective switch. Each switch then with 10Gb SFP+ back to router? This solves the capacity issue of the multiple switch dilemma, means I can keep my per-floor underfloor ethernet (at low length, and low cost) and with SFP cable so small and slender, I can have it routed behind skirting boards?

    Well, that's if I ignore the comment about not using fibre (which I only do as explanation wasn't given)? I would suggest going copper CX4, but it's somehow more expensive? Also, not available as long...

    Also, this is given I can't find any real pricing on this kind of hardware... None of the usual stockists carry this sort of equipment? Is it outrageously expensive? I can find secondhand 10GB SFP+ modules, and (new) cable pricing... But no switches or routers with SFP+ cages?

    I appreciate this is an awkward situation, with unusual requests, but I really value your input!


    D_R_B: Kind comments appreciated, sadly someone had to "go" for me to be able get my hands on this place and even then it's only zone 3 ghetto... But it's mine and I'm going to try my best with it! That said, this place being thrust upon me at little notice, I don't really have the cash to do this by the book :sigh: I fear even now I'm being a bit too ambitious and possibly overcommitting (what with being in a "normal" job these days).

    Anyway, back on topic and answering your question - home automation stuff; all devices are (in-theory) using their own IPv6 mesh networks, however I plan to run the house from a single Nexus 7... so that needs to have WiFi access to the core network at all times; else all my planning goes to pot and I'll have a very crumby experience!

    Much gratitude to all.

    TSB
     
  11. LightningPete

    LightningPete Diagnosis: ARMAII-Holic

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    +1
     
  12. bigkingfun

    bigkingfun Tinkering addict

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    Maybe its just me, but I like having a proper machine running pfsense instead of a consumer router?
    By proper I mean a atom. If you have all 34 sockets active (+ x wifi clients) you might need something with more muscle.
     
  13. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Right, let's have a go at this. This is no particular order so bear with me.

    2 switches is a good plan. It's fairly common to put the access layer in a closet on each floor to reduce the run length for cable.
    Realistically you don't need 10gb as a backbone. I'm running dual 10gb links in my data-centre and I'm hardly using 30% of the bandwidth with 100 VM's and a couple of thousand client devices connecting in.
    You'll also not fit that in your budget. My distribution layer switches with 10gb on them were £10k each (but they are gorgeous).

    If you're budgeting £1200 for this then we've got some room for fun toys but you're not going to get wireless controllers etc in that. A couple of access points on the same SSID etc but on different channels should do you fine providing a good wireless coverage (providing you don't live in a stone castle).

    You can aggregate some gigabit ports between the floors over CAT6 as well as fibre terminating is a tad expensive.


    What are you going to be running over this network?
    Once I get an idea of projected load then we can spec some kit up.
     
  14. adam_bagpuss

    adam_bagpuss Have you tried turning it off/on ?

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    you could use a wireless mesh using these for your AP's they can also isolate the network if you need guest Wi-fi.

    http://www.solwise.co.uk/wireless-el-m35.htm

    they are also POE which could make for some very tidy cabling

    gigabit backbone should be enough unless your planning on some major file transferring between the hard wired devices.
     
  15. TheStockBroker

    TheStockBroker Well-Known Member

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    Apologies for delay - Internet has suddenly become a rare treat outside the office in the time until my new connection is installed!

    Yes, had made the mistake of finding the 10Gbps modules that would fit inside expected budget; only to find switches and router actually able to use them completely blew costing out the water. Gigabit teaming sounds sensible as an alternative; you'd have to help point out hardware that supports it though!

    The wired network serves two-fold - media by day; data by night. Wireless is all about coverage, there will be very little traffic.

    My media "server" is basically giant NAS... It holds everything centrally for all PC-like devices, except OS and applications. It runs 24/7/365 and is the heart of my digital home. I expect this would be plugged directly into the router (teamed also?) Backup "server" is again a massive storage computer running permanently. It's a full back up of the media "server".

    During the day, calls are made to and from the media server; mostly video/audio/documents/small db requests/game saves being shunted around. At worst we're talking 2 bluray streams being kicked about while also sending some files.
    At night though there's about 3Tb of restores to do (and growing all the time) and this means all devices being restored need to be "offline" by midnight else they're not ready by the time I leave the house the next morning. Gigabit teaming at the appropriate points could potentially at least halve these times (assuming only 2 lines teamed) and could mean I don't have to cycle the use of machines on a daily basis (as I do currently).

    So it's not so much of a large number of packets to handle, but scheduled, consistently large data transfers to worry about.

    [Just typing this out is now making me question my whole current set-up... I suppose a question I should be posing elsewhere is; should I be looking at getting a rack, proper SAS expander enclosures, and mounting all this properly!? .. Also brings up some questions on my "server" implementations... Argh, since when was being an enthusiast not enough? I need to be an IT expert!]

    Don't feel you need to adhere to the budget too strictly - Am waylaying projector purchase as I think I probably need to look at some other IT issues too as a priority, so there'll be some spare cash (I hope!) if additional items are required.

    TL;DR: Gigabit teaming sounds good, but we'll need it across the board I think. Bulk data transfer will be the worst of the traffic. We can also spend a bit more than originally stated.

    P.S. Thankyou!
     
  16. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    I'll tell you what (as you're based in London).

    Let's meet up and go through this over a beer or two then post back here with the plan etc.
     
  17. Daedelus

    Daedelus New Member

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    I'm confused by what you mean by 'under floor'.

    If you're living in a traditional house with floorboards, just route everything under them and you'll have plenty of room.

    Choose one room per floor and route all cables to that room (via under the floorboards)

    Chop a vertical channel in the plaster, insert a conduit, then route all the cables down there to the ground floor to your switch. If you've got a room with stud walls, use that as your conduit.
     
  18. lcdguy

    lcdguy Active Member

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    also something to keep in mind. (not sure on the laws over there) but over here you need to use either FT-6 (plenum) rated cable for any open air spaces and ft-4 for going between floors in non=plenum air spaces.

    If you are going to link multiple switches together with multiple Ethernet links it would be best to put them in a lag group.

    I recently installed my own network "upgrade" in my own home and ran into those issues.

    If it helps i could post a description of how i have my network setup.
     

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