Kitz Forum

Computers & Hardware => Networking => Topic started by: stevieboy86 on February 13, 2021, 05:47:48 PM

Title: Home Networking under the stairs - stuck!
Post by: stevieboy86 on February 13, 2021, 05:47:48 PM
Good afternoon all - newbie here.

I wonder if you can help me please, I'm trying myself in knots on google and would like some advice.

I am looking to sort out my IoT devices, router and network mess thats currently under the stairs. I currently have FTTP via BT OpenReach with a Smart Hub2. I also have a number of ethernet devices plugged directly into the router. I'm in a new build house that also has 3 data ports coming centrally under the stairs - which I've not used yet as I've run out of ports on my router, so currently using a Power Line adapter to a device (until I can get a network switch so open up more ports).

I'm looking to get some sort of network cabinet (if suitable for router to go in) or network rack just to tidy things up - and put in my router, 4 x hubs, a new network switch, and some additional uk power sockets too.

I need to have a minimum of 5 Ethernet ports and 5 power socks - but I'm lost when looking at racks/cabinets, and then how big the shelves are and if they'd even fit the cabinet.

So yeah, got myself in a pickle - would really welcome some ideas!

Ethernet devices needing tidying:
BT SmartHub 2
Tado heating
Philips Hue
Alarm hub

Title: Re: Home Networking under the stairs - stuck!
Post by: burakkucat on February 13, 2021, 09:30:43 PM
Good afternoon all - newbie here.

Welcome to the Kitz forum.  :)

Having read through your description, I am a little uncertain if you wish to site a rack, power strip, patch panel, etc, under the stairs or if you are considering locating it elsewhere.

Perhaps the best plan of action would be for you to sketch out your preferred, ideal, location of the equipment and the various interconnects, then make that diagram available for viewing.

We have many members who have experience in designing & configuring networks and would be willing to offer some advice as to how to successfully install your own LAN.
Title: Re: Home Networking under the stairs - stuck!
Post by: meritez on February 13, 2021, 09:32:27 PM
Welcome to Kitz

What speed is your FTTP, as I don't want to recommend anything which might not perform well if you are on 1,000/220 FTTP.
Title: Re: Home Networking under the stairs - stuck!
Post by: stevieboy86 on February 14, 2021, 05:35:38 PM
Hi both

Thanks for coming back to me so quickly - I probably wasn't too clear in my original post, so sorry about that!

My FTTP is currently 150mb - that's all I'm paying for but it can go up to 900MB i think if needed. So - probably best for me to re-word what I am trying to do.

Currently I have a BT Smart Hub plugged into the OpenReach modem under the stairs - supplying wifi throughout the house. In addition I have Philips Hue, Tado Smart heating and a smart alarm hub which uses up all ports on the router. The router and the various hubs are just on the floor, wires, power extension cables everywhere - it's a real mess

I'm also in a new build - and the builder has actually put in three data points in the house in various rooms. One in the living room, one in the home office, and one in the master bedroom - these all feed into the cupboard under the stairs, which you can probably see in my photo. *However*, because I have no free ethernet ports on my router, I can't actually plug an ethernet cable to these ports to make the connects live at the other ends (living room, office and bedroom).

So - that got me looking into a 8 port network switch - so I can plug everything in. However putting something else on the floor under the stairs is just getting messy.

I'm happy to keep everything under the stairs - but rather that just putting everything on a few shelves and wires/plugs going everywhere, I started researching network cabinets/racks and thought that would make everything look so much neater. I also saw that as part of a network cabinet/rack - you can get power supply in there too, rather than having extension leads etc

I got so far as looking at a 12U cabinet - and then ended up feeling totally bewildered, and stumbled across this website.

Short answer: Keep everything under the stairs, increase the number of available Ethernet ports available, and make everything neat.

Hopefully that helps?  :blush: :fingers:

Title: Re: Home Networking under the stairs - stuck!
Post by: burakkucat on February 14, 2021, 06:06:17 PM
Hopefully that helps?  :blush: :fingers:

Thank you. That all makes sense.

The Openreach gubbins fitted to the wall is actually a Huawei ONT (Optical Network Terminal) and, yes, it does a similar job to a modem in bridge mode (for a metallic pathway).

Another question. With the router/firewall/WAP (the BT Smart Hub) tucked under the stairs how do you find the wireless signal around the house? (Assuming that you use it.) Eventually you might find it advantageous to install separate WAPs (Wireless Access Points) elsewhere in the house and link them back to the router via Ethernet cables (through your proposed small switch).

If you could show a list of all the devices that you are currently considering to use (plus links to the suppliers' websites), I'm sure that we could help refine that list.
Title: Re: Home Networking under the stairs - stuck!
Post by: stevieboy86 on February 14, 2021, 06:28:00 PM
Thanks for your reply

With the Smart Hub 2 under the stairs, I don't have too much of an issue with Wifi on my phone/tablets etc. However I do experience issues with both laptop and TV where sometimes the Wifi drops out

I therefore want to connect both these devices by Ethernet - and luckily enough these rooms have the right connections in the rooms, where the builder already linked the wires in the wall back to under the stairs. I just need to connect the ports under the stairs to the router ( when I have enough ports).

I did start looking into WAP - then got confused - but basically landed on the fact that the two devices that have periodic WIFI connection drops are located by the data points the builder installed. So I thought if i get them hooked up, the issues would go away.

Regarding at what I have looked at so far - I basically just looked at a cabinet for the wall  :D. And then had no idea what switch, power supply I should buy that would fit in it and secure properly. I then couldn't work out what shelving I needed to buy, to fit in the cabinet that allowed me to sit the router on, and the various IOT hubs - while still having space for all the wiring.

I started looking at something like this:    and thought the 12U version looked to be around the right size to put everything in. But then couldnt work out what power rack would fit it, what shelves would - and then stumbled across this website.

My end goal - is that I have a cabinet/rack on the wall - where only two wires come out. One wire for power (to power everything inside) and one wire to connect back to the BT Modem thing. Everything else - I'd like to be away in the rack etc.

Should I be looking to get someone in to do this for me - or do you think with a bit of guidance, I could buy the network switch, cables + cabinet/rack shelves and do myself? I may sound like a complete technophobe, I'm not I promise - but this kind of thing is massively out of my comfort zone :-)
Title: Re: Home Networking under the stairs - stuck!
Post by: burakkucat on February 14, 2021, 08:14:45 PM
I'm no expert is such things. The last time I played with rack mounted equipment must have been over thirty five years ago!

A few more things that have come to mind --
I'm sure those of our members, who are familiar with designing such a hardware configuration, will comment and make suggestions, in due course.

With some remote assistance, I'm sure you should be capable of completing the task and, no, I don't think it would be worthwhile (or necessary) to employ someone to do it for you.
Title: Re: Home Networking under the stairs - stuck!
Post by: Iain on February 14, 2021, 08:51:30 PM
Just to add a few more thoughts - I too would reconsider a wall mounted cabinet, and would consider either a simple wooden bedside cabinet, or better some simple shelves. Access will be easier, but a bit more thought and work on power and data distribution needs to be worked out.  A simple  power strip down one side, big enough to feed all the intended devices, and a switch on the other side such as to distribute data. 8 port version if you need it - but consider putting others on the end of your cable points for TV/SAT/and so on. You will need easy access to reset components, and will need to consider airflow.

Also look at custom length ethernet cables, event flat ones, and power cables to keep things neat.
Title: Re: Home Networking under the stairs - stuck!
Post by: Alex Atkin UK on February 14, 2021, 09:30:44 PM
One thing I'd beware of with a rack is it could reduce the WiFi signal compared to plain shelves.

Also personally, I cheated with the switch and used the rack mounts rotated to screw to the bottom of a shelf.

If I had more space it could be neater but I had to cram it all onto a single shelf.