Network plans for a new home

MtK

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Nov 28, 2015
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Hi,
In a few months I'll be moving to a new house and it's time to start planning the network layout/topology.

The current state and equipment (nothing fancy):
  • Hardware - all located in one single room (wired):
    • Media Converter
    • APU - pfsense
    • NAS - Freenas
    • AP - Unifi LR AP
    • Switch - MikroTik CSS 326-24G-2S+RM
  • Clients:
    • Personal computers/laptops/phones/tablets - wifi
    • TV & Receiver - wired
    • IoT devices - wifi
New house challenges and additions:
  • More floors
  • More rooms
  • New NAS/Storage
  • New VM host
  • Garage - detached (!), 20m or so, from the house.
  • Electricity/Fuse box, in a small closet where most if the above (see current state) won't fit.
Plan and Wishes:
  • Fit the bare minimum in the electricity closet.
  • New NAS, VM Host, Switch and maybe even pfsense and more, in the garage.
  • Wiring all rooms (with at least one network line) would less than 24 ports,so the Mikrotik would be enough.
  • PoE Switch for the extra AP (at least 2 more would be neded)
  • PoE Security Cameras - much later.


Ideas:
  1. Bare minimum in house:
    • ISP (fiber already in here) & Media Converter.
    • All cables from all floors down to the electricity box and passthrough to the garage - sounds impractical and even impossible.
  2. Bare minimum in garage:
    • NAS, VM host (a.k.a the noisy stuff) in the garage, with a small 10G switch to connect internally as well as to the Mikrotik SFP+ in the house.
    • Everything all, squeezed in the very small closet - impractical cable mess
  3. Balanced (?):
    • House (the closet):
      • ISP (fiber already in here) & Media Converter
      • Mikrotik 24 switch
      • pfsense router/firewall
      • Another PoE swtich
    • Garage:
      • The noisy stuff in a rack, with a new 10G switch
Last but not least:
  • The top floor is planned to become a work room + a guest room (that would be less frequently used). There is an option to host some/all network stuff in there, but working/sleeping with the noise/lights is probably not fun (to say the least).
  • Also in the top floor, we have a 'hidden' storage area in the wall, that could potentially host some tech stuff (most likely *not* ventilated enough for the servers), but it would be less noisy than the other open rooms.
  • Also in top floor (2), a big laundry area, that could host a rack, but most of it will be taken later for the work & guest room and even a shower.

Hope the situation is clear enough.


Suggestions/ideas/combination/questions are more than welcome!

Thanks,
M.
 

John Burns

Member
Jul 12, 2016
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Home run some pull wires from the wall plates. Regardless of how much you think ahead, something comes up later.


Also think about where WiFi APs will go and include a backup plan if the estimated range doesn’t work out.

it’s a good idea to make a plan for the noisy stuff. I thought my mechanical room was a good fit, but quickly found that noise radiated via the HVAC ducting.
 

Mithril

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Sep 13, 2019
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So, without diving into too much detail, for detached structures I would highly suggest Fiber. You could use the Mikrotik or another switch in the house to divy up the fiber to copper ports. a LACP group of 2 10G ports is best case enough to feed 20 1G wired clients at the same time, worst case 10 (assuming balancing for the LACP LAG isn't actually balancing).

Figure out the run distance you'd need (regardless), add at least a few meters on each end, assume all corners/bends as pessimistic as possible. Cat^ could work, but I *personally* would rather avoid grounding/lightning strike issues and go with fiber.

While Single Mode is more "future proof", MultiMode transceivers are generally cheaper and easier to snag on ebay. 10G MM transceivers are easily under 5$ a pop. The exact cable you use depends on how forward thinking you want to be and how big your conduit is. I would personally run 1 or 2 12 pair MPO/MTP (OM4/5) and grab some breakouts on ebay to split those into sets of LC connectors for 10/25G. There are( were?) fairly cheap OM3 breakouts for exactly that (MPO cable goes in one side, LC cables go in the other) for like 7/8 bucks as working pulls from somewhere. Running more pairs means an easy upgrade to 40/100G later or just running more 10/25G connections. There are "BiDi" 40GB transceivers, but they have some compatibility issues (due to power) and are pricey (60$+ per), but they would let you run just say 2 LC-LC 10/25GB fiber and later step that up to 40GB.

It's likely simpler to have the firewall (PfSense) in the house. Then you don't need to mess with VLANs or worry that an accident would connect a port on your house switch to the outside world.

Since the garage is detached you likely care less about noise. In which case a used enterprise switch as your "Top of Rack" switch there would be a good way to save money and get amazing performance. The brocade switches in the massive thread here are a good choice for that. POE, 10G and 40G ports for under 200 and under 100 watts for example.
 
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MtK

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Nov 28, 2015
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Wow! Thanks for the extended response.

Before going into the technical details, you suggesting "topology" #3 (above), right?
If so, I would still need to see if there is enough space for a on-wall rack, to accommodate 2-3u (pfsense, patch panel, switch) and of course if all cables can be actually pull in the existing pipes to all the floors/rooms.


As for future proofing, I'd say 1G is enough for most points in the house, except maybe the top floor where we would likely have an home office with far more than 1 wired device (2 computers, printer/scanner, etc) and I'm not sure we'll be able to run multiple cables to that single room.
 

MtK

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Nov 28, 2015
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While Single Mode is more "future proof", MultiMode transceivers are generally cheaper and easier to snag on ebay. 10G MM transceivers are easily under 5$ a pop. The exact cable you use depends on how forward thinking you want to be and how big your conduit is. I would personally run 1 or 2 12 pair MPO/MTP (OM4/5) and grab some breakouts on ebay to split those into sets of LC connectors for 10/25G. There are( were?) fairly cheap OM3 breakouts for exactly that (MPO cable goes in one side, LC cables go in the other) for like 7/8 bucks as working pulls from somewhere. Running more pairs means an easy upgrade to 40/100G later or just running more 10/25G connections. There are "BiDi" 40GB transceivers, but they have some compatibility issues (due to power) and are pricey (60$+ per), but they would let you run just say 2 LC-LC 10/25GB fiber and later step that up to 40GB.
Is this between the house and garage?
 

Mithril

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Sep 13, 2019
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Is this between the house and garage?
Correct. Avoiding worrying about ground differential, any code issues etc plus the better capacity and smaller physical size of fiber is a win-win in my book for doing residential building to building. MPO/MTP connectors are also far smaller than the 4/6 LC connector pairs they replace. I would still 100% run them in the correct conduit and at the correct depth and pay attention to water intrusion (cable life as well as damage from freezing). Correct conduit may vary by local code. If you have 0 copper cables in the conduit, you should include a trace wire to make the conduit easier to find for you or others in the future. And document exactly where you put it (depth included) as another precaution. If you have a breezeway then you could perhaps run it that way, but pay attention to vertical distances, bend radiuss, etc.

2 MPO/MTP 12 fiber (6 pair) also gives you some physical redundancy, 12 total 10/25GB connections, or 2 40/100GB + 4 10/25GB connections. For the cable itself I'd go OM4 (maybe OM5), as multi mode transceivers are far cheaper and sub 50M runs tend to mean transceiver cost is more important. For the breakouts/couplers OM3 is fine, it does 10/40GB with no issues, and *IS* 25/100G ready, and if you absolutely need to it's far easier to replace an internal cable, than a buried one!
 
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MtK

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Nov 28, 2015
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Maybe it wasn't clear, but this is a standin/built/existing house (i.e not 'about to be built'), so I'd have to rely a lot (!) on existing infrastructure.
And actually figure out can I even run any type of cable between house-garage, without having to lift the ground/floor for it.


Though a good suggestion for future proofing this setup, I doubt that 25/40/100G would be needed in the near future between these two buildings.
 
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Mithril

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Sep 13, 2019
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Maybe it wasn't clear, but this is a standin/built/existing house (i.e not 'about to be built'), so I'd have to rely a lot (!) on existing infrastructure.
And actually figure out can I even run any type of cable between house-garage, without having to lift the ground/floor for it.


Though a good suggestion for future proofing this setup, I doubt that 25/40/100G would be needed in the near future between these two buildings.

The point being, excluding an extreme budget: You really should be using fiber between building anyways. Using higher density cable but with nice small ends makes it easier to pull, and leaves room for future expansion without needing to re-pull or worse unbury the conduit if issues happen over time (nature, uh, finds a way :) ) In the past I've gone through-wall (inside to outside) with Cat5e/Cat6 where the conduit went through the siding, then made a 90 degree turn down via an access box thing, so you may not need to mess with lifting floors or anything. Either way, even if yo go with a pair of LC-LC MM cables, thats a LOT less bulk than 24 Cat6 cables ;)
 

MtK

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Nov 28, 2015
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The point being, excluding an extreme budget: You really should be using fiber between building anyways. Using higher density cable but with nice small ends makes it easier to pull, and leaves room for future expansion without needing to re-pull or worse unbury the conduit if issues happen over time (nature, uh, finds a way :) ) In the past I've gone through-wall (inside to outside) with Cat5e/Cat6 where the conduit went through the siding, then made a 90 degree turn down via an access box thing, so you may not need to mess with lifting floors or anything. Either way, even if yo go with a pair of LC-LC MM cables, thats a LOT less bulk than 24 Cat6 cables ;)
sure, but we are still talking about main point in the house (closet) out to the garage, so according to your previous suggestion (and plan #3 above) we put a 24 port in the house, so only a single(ish) line should go from there outwards, right?


Or is it that you suggest running fiber also inside the house?
(i.e to top floor where more single 1G points would be needed)
 

Mithril

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Sep 13, 2019
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sure, but we are still talking about main point in the house (closet) out to the garage, so according to your previous suggestion (and plan #3 above) we put a 24 port in the house, so only a single(ish) line should go from there outwards, right?


Or is it that you suggest running fiber also inside the house?
(i.e to top floor where more single 1G points would be needed)
I'd suggest 2 fibers at minimum between house and garage. Either 2 single pair cables with LC connectors on both ends, or 2 MTP/MPO fibers.

Depending on just how much of a pain, and how expensive (if you want/need to hire someone to do part of it) it is to actually get that cable run done, the cost of the cables themselves VS the work/cost of redoing things later can be a small difference.

As for as Fiber within the house, that's up to you. If you envision a need for say greater than 10G to your office, or desire to have the option via fiber than you might want to run fiber along side your copper (again a cost now VS effort later thing, running cables even with all of the right tools is still work :) ). You don't need a continuous run from the garage either, you could always connect a cable or pair via a short patch fiber cable later, or you might end up with a switch in your wiring closet with more SFP+ ports and connect it there, you'd have both options.
 

MtK

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Nov 28, 2015
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I'd suggest 2 fibers at minimum between house and garage. Either 2 single pair cables with LC connectors on both ends, or 2 MTP/MPO fibers.

Depending on just how much of a pain, and how expensive (if you want/need to hire someone to do part of it) it is to actually get that cable run done, the cost of the cables themselves VS the work/cost of redoing things later can be a small difference.
I'll aim for 2 MTP/MPO fiber, but I will most likely need some (local) help to run them - already searching...
As for as Fiber within the house, that's up to you. If you envision a need for say greater than 10G to your office, or desire to have the option via fiber than you might want to run fiber along side your copper (again a cost now VS effort later thing, running cables even with all of the right tools is still work :) ). You don't need a continuous run from the garage either, you could always connect a cable or pair via a short patch fiber cable later, or you might end up with a switch in your wiring closet with more SFP+ ports and connect it there, you'd have both options.
Most likely won't be needed, unless we heavilly start working more than 2 people permanently from home (unlikely).

The only question would be (for places like the office, or the TV/Media room):
Should I run one single cable to that room and split it with a small switch (in that room) or aim to run multiple cables in advance?
 

Mithril

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Sep 13, 2019
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I'll aim for 2 MTP/MPO fiber, but I will most likely need some (local) help to run them - already searching...

Most likely won't be needed, unless we heavilly start working more than 2 people permanently from home (unlikely).

The only question would be (for places like the office, or the TV/Media room):
Should I run one single cable to that room and split it with a small switch (in that room) or aim to run multiple cables in advance?
Switches in the room is up to you. Running 1 or 2 LC-LC fibers to your "hot" rooms (office, media room) wouldn't be a terrible idea, running cables in walls is a PITA which is why when running even copper I almost always run more than I need. While you can do 10G on Cat6 or even Cat5E having 1-2 fibers to your potentially busy rooms gives you more options. You could always put a switch in a room later to add ports, that's a "buy it and plug it in" thing, running cables again on the other hand ;)
 
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MtK

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Nov 28, 2015
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Hi,
as we are getting closer to "moving in" time, I recently went to see the place and realized it'd be very challenging to pass a cable (of any type) from the house to the garage - at least at first.
So we've decided to allocate some place in the attic as a "server room", but still go with a "balanced" setup as described in the first post (main network junction channeling into a switch in the closet downstairs, while all the rest is upstairs).

Planning a bit further, we've come to the conclusion we want PoE as much as possible - for things like APs, Security Cameras and even the downstair switch.
The question is how can I introduce PoE into the setup so I can also enjoy the benefits of a UPS (already planned for the servers upstairs) so my "smart home" appliances that relay on network can still operate (at least for a short amount of time)?

@Mithril any suggestions here?