Monthly Archives: July 2012

Home networking setup

Home network root

A friend of mine is starting the process of building a house, and we got to talking about all the high-tech goodness that he could add into their home.  Over the years, I have managed to build a decent home network setup in our house, and so I thought I’d share some details.

I started this project by mounting a 2′ x 2′ piece of plywood on an interior wall, right where the cable connection enters the house.  A mounted power strip makes it easy to add components and power cycle when needed.  A nice upgrade here would be to mount a UPS on this board instead of a power strip.

The best internet source for our house is through cable.  As much as I despise the cable company, at least in our area, the performance surpasses any of the DSL options.  The cable connection enters the cable modem (black box on the lower left of the first picture).  By default, the cable modem tries to act as a router for your home, handing out NAT IP addresses to devices connected.  After the cable guy left, I found the modem’s webpage to turn the cable modem into a gateway device instead.

From the cable modem, there is a single Cat-5E link to the Linksys WRT54GL router that runs DD-WRT.  This router serves a number of functions in my house.  It manages DHCP, DNS, Firewall, and QoS for the network.  It could also serve as a VPN server if I had that need.

The Linksys has a single connection to the Netgear 16-port Gigabit switch mounted on the plywood.  This switch serves as the main switch for the house.  Ethernet drops from all over the house are routed into this switch.  I have managed to run 1-2 Cat-5E cables to each of the bedrooms, office, and living room.  Though I do also use wireless, I do prefer the performance and security of wired connections.  Throughout the house, a few more Gigabit switches are used where needed, such as in the home office and behind the entertainment center.

Gigabit backbone for the entire network

Doing a simple scan of my network shows about 20 devices connected currently, either directly to this switch, through other switches, or wireless.  All movies, photos, and music are stored on my Synology Diskstation DS-211j.  My home network is fast enough to easily stream HD-level video across the network, and the only maintenance needed is to occasionally reboot the cable modem.

Asus Transformer Prime power adapter doesn’t like the heatwave

This heatwave (here in the US) sucks.  Not only do we (humans) hate it, but apparently some of our electronics don’t like it either, and occasionally need to go back to the cold.

I’ve been trying to figure out why my Asus Transformer Prime charger was no longer working.  I have a charger at work, and the tablet charges fine there, so I know that it’s not a problem with the tablet.  I first checked the USB cable for any kind of damage.  I didn’t find any, and in fact the cable has been working great as a debug cable for ADB to my Prime.  I then thought there was something wrong with the power outlet on the power strip.  Plugging in other things showed me that it was working completely fine.  

I continued on, investigating and experimenting, all in the hopes of getting my tablet to start charging.  At some point, I gave up and started browsing Amazon for a replacement.  While reading the reviews for this one, someone had posted a note in their review about needing to place the charger in the freezer to reset some kind of temperature sensor.  Being that my upstairs office is currently in the 90’s without the window unit AC, and that the power adapter heats up under use, I guessed that I was probably susceptible to this issue as well.  The ambient temperature in my office was not dropping down low enough to reset the sensor.

So I popped it in the freezer, and 30 minutes later, I had a working charger.  I couldn’t believe that worked.  If you’re having this problem, avoid paying $30 for a replacement, and throw yours in the freezer for a few minutes.  You may find it works just fine after a brief cool-down.