Category Archives: DIY

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.