What's new

Home Network Plan - Where and What

  • SNBForums Code of Conduct

    SNBForums is a community for everyone, no matter what their level of experience.

    Please be tolerant and patient of others, especially newcomers. We are all here to share and learn!

    The rules are simple: Be patient, be nice, be helpful or be gone!

koonthul

Occasional Visitor
Hey Everyone -

Super excited about my FIRST REAL home purchase, we move in this weekend! BIG house, 5757 sq ft and I have a few questions before I get started on my home networking project. I've tangled with smaller scale stuff before, single router/modem and wireless, but never anything this big. I have done some cabling so I'm not completely in the dark there (see other post) and have most of the equipment to do wiring (crimpers, heads, etc). Here's where I'm at...

Goals:
  1. Reliable and performant home network environment with little maintenance
  2. Gigabit speed support from ISP and Home network (wired).
  3. Complete home wireless coverage with Wifi6 standard (all wired back haul, no mesh)
  4. Wifi support for older IoT devices (including bg standards on 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands)
  5. As much wired coverage as necessary to support WFH vid cons/data transfer/etc. Averaging 600 to 800 Gigabytes of up/down data transfer a month.
  6. Support for 2 home offices and eventually a finished basement (finished basement will include lots more digital toys like a home theater)
  7. Rack mount for all devices that starts the network in the basement.
  8. Convinced I need to go with the Ubiquity line of equipment. Fight me. 😁
  9. Budget - roughly 2 to 2.5 k

Plans, pics and map:


What's in the house now:
  • Cat5e
  • Coax
  • Mystery Orange cable?????
  • Security wiring
I haven't toned out any of the current wiring or to check if any of it is any good, so I may be missing some information. What i have now is accurate, just not complete. There are quite a few cables that are "missing" from my accounting, but what is there will suffice for the questions i have below. From what i can tell, there are 6 bundles of cable for 6 rooms, each bundle has at LEAST 3x coax, 2x RJ45 and 2x orange mystery cable (any help identifying here would be great). This is all at the box. What's weird is that in the rooms i only see min 2x RJ45 and 1x coax so I don't know where the rest of it is going, including bedrooms 2 and 3 in the map (which have no terminations at all). I will dig in more this weekend.

Current Shopping List:

Questions:

  1. Not sure which Rack to get. I've never purchased a rack before and I definitely want to organize that mess at the cable drop. I can do all the terminations myself, but I don't know if i should mount OVER the current metal wire box or beside it, or do floor standing since the basement isn't finished? (on wheels?). Any advice on how to tackle this would be good. I'm thinking i want to mount over the box for ease of creating the keystones to put into the rack but i'm thinking that might be too big? that's over 22U from my last measurements and I think that's kinda over kill for what i want. I envision a smallerish wall mounted deal, maybe 10 to 12 u, but not sure based on size and having to put a small one BESIDE the drop cabinet. Any advice on where to start here would be great. See pics above.
  2. Should I get a rack that is covered/enclosed? I'm in an unfinished basement that won't get finished for probably 1 to 2 years, so worried about dust BUT don't want to hassle with a door that is hard to maneuver around and plug wires into. Ease of use vs dust/dirt collection?
  3. Is the router overkill? The alternative I was thinking of would be the UDR Dream Router (40W). I need PoE for the AP's, so was thinking the SE would be the way to go. The UDR router with only 2 PoE and 4 ports might be enough if I just do 2 AP's instead of 4, but I'm wary of enough wifi coverage so I think i might need the extra PoE out, especially if I add more cameras, etc. The current camera on the map is planned, I don't have it on the list yet to purchase. The benefit of the UDR though is that it would have built in Wifi 6 coverage for the basement so I wouldn't need to add a third separate AP.
  4. Does the UDM-SE require a battery backup device of some sort? The Ubiquiti site makes it look like you need one in their configuration tool, but I see a lot of other people without it?
  5. Having a big debate in my head about the AP's. The wife wants to hide everything, so i'm thinking the inwalls might be better, and easier to install, but I'm worried about coverage and them getting bumped with furniture, kids, etc. I like the idea of the AP's being ceiling mounted, but none of the current wiring goes to the ceiling (that I know of). Curious on thoughts here for wall vs ceiling and the AP's. Note that I have the AP in the closet of the main bedroom, mostly to hide it! Thought that might be good for backyard porch coverage but worried that might also hinder signal strength throughout the house?
  6. Do i have enough AP points planned? Should I go 2? or 4? Or am I just gonna have to get in there and figure that out? most of them have a 1500 sq ft range so I feel like only 2 should do it, one in each corner for each floor...right? or should I centralize more? start on floor 2?
  7. Am I future proofing enough? A buddy was trying to get me to go with the Wifi6 Enterprise AP's but I feel like those are pushing the Wifi6E standard and I don't feel like I'll even get close to that, especially since the majority of my wiring is 5e and my ISP limitations (even if I upgraded) would be 1200 mbps down, just over 1 gig. I'm going with just the 1gig package so I don't think I need to do the Enterprise versions of the U6's...but the other side of this is just slinging media over the current home network through Plex and through file sharing so I do want to have as strong of a backbone as I can, including for work. Should I consider a 2.5 to 5 gigbit backbone for LAN, knowing WAN won't go over 1 gig?
  8. There's a ton of Coax I have no idea what to do with. Most likely I'll figure out how to share TV signal from my ISP over it to each room, but should I put that in my patch panel too? Feels overkill again, but I hate the mess so... maybe? Curious what you all would do with that much coax. Only one that might be nice to have is to the TV in the Family room....maybe one upstairs in the loft...
  9. Orange mystery wires. no idea...help? see pic
  10. VLAN for IoT - new to this, but I want to do it. will be a lot of things that run through this. Any good primer links or "how to's" or explanation vids would be great, as it will be with the ubiquity line of equipment.
  11. Is my switch a piece of junk? Do i really need something fancier? unmanaged and gigabit support seems to be all that i need? Thoughts?
  12. What am I missing? Having never done a project this big before, I'm curious what you all think I might have overlooked.
  13. I'm new to the Ubiquiti line. Any advice to start with? Very familiar with ASUS products.

Whew, big post. Thanks for reading! Appreciate any advice and I'm eager to get started!!!
 
Last edited:
I would prefer Cisco small business solution for switches and wireless and Pfsense for a router firewall front end. This is what I use in my home. I have 3 Cisco 150ax wireless access points running and a layer 3 switch.
Cisco has better support and is dependable for prompt firmware updates.

Cisco will be the best solution.
 
Loads of technical stuff better suited to others but to start off, I can't get a decent zoom on the orange cables but my initial thought given all the other cabling is speaker cable.

On the access points, I'd go for ceiling mount. There's been discussion on here about best mount points etc but the other benefit is when you replace/upgrade it's easier, less dependency on same size/shape, less make-good etc.

WAF is important but I tend to find "do you want it to just work with no issues" wins out over hidden. I'd rather a smoke alarm just worked than was less effective because it was hidden!
 
What am I missing?

Perhaps the fact you need professional help on the spot. We can't really help you on a blind in an Internet forum. All equipment suggestions are nice, but will they work for your needs - up to you to find out. Purchased wrong equipment generating unsatisfactory results may be difficult to fix after and lead to extra expenses. I am personally using Netgate firewall with Netgear switches and 4x Ruckus access points in about 6000sqft house North of your border, but this information has little value to you. My equipment transferred to your house may or may not work the same way. In my house it was planned in advance where exactly the access points are going to be, how many cameras with PoE will provide sufficient monitoring, my home automation is all locally controlled and monitored, etc. Despite all the planning adjustments were still needed after.

Very familiar with ASUS products.

Don't go with consumer products. Your configuration options, expandability, upgradability and support will be limited. They are mostly disposable products.
 
Any chance the orange cables are fiber ?
Otherwise, perhaps for home automation or dedicated security camera feeds ?

If this is a new house, ask the builder or the electricians. Either should be able to provide you with the plans and the what.

Hire a network pro, someone that does wireless in retail or light industrial. Your data loads - ~25 GB/day may force you into a commercial contract with your ISP rather than residential.

You should seriously consider having the infrastructure wiring terminated and certified by a pro installer for up to 10 Gbit/s

You can use the coax for MOCA distribution of ethernet if you have holes in the CAT5E placement. Current likely top end bit rate is 2.5 Gbit/s half duplex which equates to about 1 Gbit/s full duplex. That is for point to point (star) topology. Shared will reduce but keep overall max rate. You can also use for security cameras if it goes to the right places although many cameras are powered over ethernet now. If you install a DOCCIS 3.1 modem, then you will have conflict with MOCA2.5 and will have reduced rates available. Perhaps the coax was for video distribution ?

#9 - no pic attached
 
Last edited:
Here is a close up of the orange cabling. Has two tiny wires and a lot of insulation. There’s one with every bundle of 2x cat5e and 2x coax. This terminates in every run from this box.

IMG_9561.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • IMG_9563.jpeg
    IMG_9563.jpeg
    41.7 KB · Views: 21
Any chance the orange cables are fiber ?
Otherwise, perhaps for home automation or dedicated security camera feeds ?

If this is a new house, ask the builder or the electricians. Either should be able to provide you with the plans and the what.

Hire a network pro, someone that does wireless in retail or light industrial. Your data loads - ~25 GB/day may force you into a commercial contract with your ISP rather than residential.

You should seriously consider having the infrastructure wiring terminated and certified by a pro installer for up to 10 Gbit/s

You can use the coax for MOCA distribution of ethernet if you have holes in the CAT5E placement. Current likely top end bit rate is 2.5 Gbit/s half duplex which equates to about 1 Gbit/s full duplex. That is for point to point (star) topology. Shared will reduce but keep overall max rate. You can also use for security cameras if it goes to the right places although many cameras are powered over ethernet now. If you install a DOCCIS 3.1 modem, then you will have conflict with MOCA2.5 and will have reduced rates available. Perhaps the coax was for video distribution ?

#9 - no pic attached
I found some MoCA! Looks like it was used for VOIP. Here is a pic of the actual base that was plugged into the basement runs. What I can’t figure out is, why would the AC adapter be installed in the master bedroom 2 floors away??!?!
IMG_9568.jpeg

IMG_9554.jpeg
 
Ha! There is one of those in the power closet of the condo I moved into recently. What it is is an amplifier/splitter that installers will put in when they discover that there is not enough signal power for all the coax drops that the homeowner insisted on having. It's not that surprising that it's not too close to the central distribution point --- probably it saved a few yards of coax to run the subsidiary Out 1 - Out 4 cables from here instead of from the central point. It is not for VOIP, it's for cable TV.
 
Those little orange cables are 62.5/125 multimode fiber optic cable !

If you look closely, i think you will see two glass fibers in each one. You may be able to run 10 Gig/s ethernet. The only issue may be cost of termination and the fiber optic transceivers. i have not kept up with that.
Be very careful bending them in too tight of a radius.
 
Depending on the size and scope - hiring a pro for a day might be a worthwhile investment.

Knowing what we know now - I really do recommend getting a pro out there - you've got a lot of good stuff inside the house, but it really does need a pro to sort it.

The on premises has good bones, but a lot of layers on the backbone, and how to overlay the house with good wifi...
 
So i've made some progress getting the rack setup and getting some of the cables organized. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not really at the point where I can entertain the fiber connections, even as excited as I was to find out that each room had them. At 169.00 a pop to terminate both ends into copper (and definitely having to have a professional do that), it just doesn't add up when I can get the speeds I need through Cat 5e and 6 and do it myself. I may consider doing a single run from my switch to my office, in case i need to really haul data back and forth between the server and my machines there, or even when i get the home theater later, but I can still achieve what I want with short cat 6 runs (10G bps). For now, I will leave those cables as is. Also, after examining the Cat5e runs to each room, i'm finding that these cable bundles are not really well setup, and are crammed into some terrible cavities behind the wall outlets, with some VERY bad kinks. This leads me to believe that the fiber is probably no good in certain areas (broken) and may not be worth the hassle. Again, this can wait, as my immediate needs are creeping up fast. I'm taking note of each area where I feel this is probably going to be a problem.

On to other things! The router and modem are setup, and I have an internet connection that is pulling up/down speeds as they should be. Need to install the switch next and then get the rest of my keystones put in for each room. Trying to work into wifi ap's as soon as i can to test the inwalls and the ceiling mounts (I got 2 of each to test with).

One thing I did run into though, is that I had to mount my rack REALLY high, because whoever did the drops did not leave ANY length for me to work with, and after looking at what I can do to take out some slack, I'm left with a rather short set of cable terminations to the patch panel with a high mounted rack. Any ideas on what could be done here? I don't think I have many options, but curious what you all think? Here's a picture of the temp setup so far, as I'm still refining and moving things around...

IMG_9821.jpg
 
Looks normal to me. You just need to terminate in the patch panel. Your switch needs to be big enough to support all the live connections.
You can move the patch panel up if you need a shorter reach. Then use patch cables to the switch.
 
Ya I may do that, also because I put my surge protector in the bottom and realized I won’t be able to utilize the front ports on it without one of those brush openings for power cords to keep it clean so i may move everything up anyway.
 
Dumb question: I am thinking of mounting my main floor WAP underneath the floorboards in the family room, which just so happens to be a crawl space behind my rack. The crawl space is vented to the outside and the only thing holding me back is the low temps in the winter (potentially -10 F at worst). Not sure it will get that low in the crawl space though because it’s insulated. What am I not thinking of?
 
Hm, the usual plan is to mount an AP above the room you want it to serve, not below. The reason is that floors, furniture, and human (or pet) bodies are all annoyingly good at blocking wifi. Maybe what you describe will work fine, but think about what you're expecting the signal to pass through.
 
Dumb question: I am thinking of mounting my main floor WAP underneath the floorboards in the family room, which just so happens to be a crawl space behind my rack. The crawl space is vented to the outside and the only thing holding me back is the low temps in the winter (potentially -10 F at worst). Not sure it will get that low in the crawl space though because it’s insulated. What am I not thinking of?
Dew point of the air. If parts of the router/AP are cooler than the dew point, then condensation will occur with possible flow/drips onto active components. Not good.

If you look at the radiation polar plots for many APs, the distance to constant signal level has roughly a 2:1 ratio of Length:Height meaning that the signal is designed to reach far in parallel to the ceiling or table top mounted AP. We don't have access to most of the polar plots, so that is rough guidance and may not apply to yours. For example, in wall APs designed for single room size, may be 1:1 Most have very limited signal through the back side of the AP as well.

So mounting your AP in the crawl space can give you limited signal above the floor into the room. Better to mount on ceiling of that room or on a table or possibly the wall.

Floors usually have a layer of plywood ( or boards if very old) plus the floor material (wood, carpet pad +carpet). Both will attenuate the signal depending on the moisture content, 5Ghz particularly.
 
Dew point of the air. If parts of the router/AP are cooler than the dew point, then condensation will occur with possible flow/drips onto active components. Not good.

If you look at the radiation polar plots for many APs, the distance to constant signal level has roughly a 2:1 ratio of Length:Height meaning that the signal is designed to reach far in parallel to the ceiling or table top mounted AP. We don't have access to most of the polar plots, so that is rough guidance and may not apply to yours. For example, in wall APs designed for single room size, may be 1:1 Most have very limited signal through the back side of the AP as well.

So mounting your AP in the crawl space can give you limited signal above the floor into the room. Better to mount on ceiling of that room or on a table or possibly the wall.

Floors usually have a layer of plywood ( or boards if very old) plus the floor material (wood, carpet pad +carpet). Both will attenuate the signal depending on the moisture content, 5Ghz particularly.
This guy AP’s!!!!!!!

Thanks so much for that, I hadn’t considered the dew point. That’s a really good reason not too, but also what TGL said about what it’s passing through. I will most likely reconsider, as my current in wall is running very hot. So that dew point is certainly a thing. Great advice!

Counterpoint is that right now, as a rough test, I have a single in wall plugged into my system and sitting on top of my rack pointing up. I’m getting 90% plus connectivity throughout most of the first floor alone! This is not an ideal position or final location by any means, but those ubiquity in walls are doing quite well getting a signal up through my floor boards and into the rest of the house. I will do a more thorough test with WiFi man here to test, but so far I’m excited that they have really good range and coverage. Will report more back as I figure it out.
 

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!

Members online

Top