Gigabit Networking – At home

I recently upgraded my home wired ethernet network to a Gigabit network.    The reason was that I recently purchased a Wireless-N switch/access point and I thought – well 150 or 300Mb wireless speed is nice – but useless if it’s on a 100Mb ‘fast’ network.

So I get together a bunch of Gb switches.  Some netgear switches and a big Dell Managed switch to be the central HUB (Bought it on Ebay).   I setup the managed switch and use it to replace my old 100Mb main house switch and replace some of the remote switches with Netgear Gb switches.

Well first off not all the Gb switches would communicate with the main switch at Gb speed.  the standard cat5 cable between them was to long.   Now the CAT5 cable being used for these long runs was some I purchased at Costco for about $50 for 500’ and I’ll crimp on the end pieces myself using a crimper.   I hop back on Ebay and purchase a couple of 50’ length of CAT5e cable (enhanced) cable for these long runs.

Disaster!  OMG! No Internet!

Then came the snow when I found myself on a bus for 7 hours trying to get home (a trip which normally takes 1/2 hour). When I got home the home network was down – the central switch I bought on ebay had failed.  So I found myself scampering around to replace at least some of it.   I ended up moving my Asus switch/router (and the cable modem it was attached to) and using it to replace main switch to get at least some of the runs going.    The one to my office was critical (I was going to work at home the next day) and a couple others for the wife and TV.  As it was the ASUS router was also a Gb switch.  All this was sitting on a chair next to my little ‘cable closet’ behind the wall.

A couple of weeks go by and I start the project to replace the cables with the cat5E.  Remove a couple of ceiling panels running down the duct work in the basement and ran 2 nice red cat5e cables alongside the ductwork (perfect for a cable run) and at the end – one cable went up, through a hole in the ceiling under a built-in cabinet we were building for the new TV (if we ever finished it) – the other went down and out through an outlet.  I had thought about having a cat5 connector outlet at the wall but then decided to simply run the cable out the outlet to hang loose. I also connected a coax cable running to the Satellite dish to the outlet as well. 

When I was finished this outlet had a phone connection, 2 coax connections (Satellite and Cable) and a red CAT5e  cable coming out of it.  The cat5 cable is then connected to a gigabit switch (which uses it at gigabit speed now – whoo-hoo!), a blu-ray player, a computer (media), a Playstation (2), and a Voip phone device (which in turn is connected to a cordless phone base station).

Later I replaced added another gigabit switch to help replace the main ‘house’ switch.  My wife looked at the cable mess in my little ‘cable closet’ (an area behind the wall behind the furnace) and built in a couple of shelves in a little nook to hold (read: hide) all the equipment (switches, wireless, power strip, etc…) and we organized the cables.

Dumping the Cable Company

A couple of months ago we purchased a new 46” LED Samsung TV with an Internet connection.  This could connect to Netflix, Hulu (plus), and a number of other video sources I haven’t look at yet. 

At the same time we had Cable TV.  Pink Floyd had a verse in one of their songs, “200 channels of sh*t on the TV’ which is pretty much true.  With cable you get whatever the T.V. Producers decide you want to see – much like the T.V. news organizations decide what you want to see and hear.  In any case we had Cable T.V. but didn’t watch it much – and didn’t particularly like what was being shown.  We are not that big into the ‘big games’, nor ‘American Idol’, ‘Glee’, or whatever the latest T.V. fashion was.

We get most of our ‘News’ over the net and bypass the editors and filters at the alphabet media.

Also some of the shows are, basically, not good for the kids – I’m talking about the Kids shows.

As a result we decided to end our Cable-TV subscription.  Took our boxes (including the HweD Box downstairs) in and told them to end our cable account (and the $60/month for basic digital cable).  We still deal with Comcast for our internet – hard to beat the great download speeds – and with our increased bandwidth usage we need that.

I was somewhat concerned about Comcast’s 250Gb/monthly limit on bandwidth comcast imposes.  But after monitoring it for a couple of months we are still well under the limit.   We had been over the limit for a couple of months before all this when I left my torrent service running. We’ll see how our bandwidth suffers when we start connecting our refrigerator and toaster to the internet.

Now we use the TV less.  The kids like some of the ‘Netflix’ shows (and series) as well as some of the older shows.  Andrew likes to watch ‘Lost in Space’ of all things.  Yes it’s dumb and campy and corny but it doesn’t try to preach to you or glorify bad behaviour or brat kids.

And the additional $60/month can go to my Ebay addiction.