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Friday 3 November 2006

New house network [Am]

Time I sorted out my stuff a little. For reasons too tedious to relate, my router is in my garage where the principal phone line comes in. Although it transmits wirelessly, due to the berlin wall type construction of my house, the wireless signal is pretty intermittent in various rooms and I'm currently running a cat cable from the main pc.
Deciding to get round to sorting this out and also thinking about storage and backup of a lot of digital photos, I am now thinking of putting a NAS 1tb or 2tb box in the garage (after discussion in the crosshatch, can't see much point in it being a server) with the router and then running the network signal over powerline adaptors which use your conventional home wiring to transmit at up to 200mbps. You can now also get wireless ones so that you could transmit your network signal all around the house and have a wall transmitter pumping out wireless signal in the bedroom for instance. I've been watching this for a bit but wonder if anyone has experience or a view;
Any views on - garage is unheated - would the NAS box have any trouble if the temperature falls to freezing. Thought in the crosshatch was that probably not if it is always on.
Powerline adaptors? The idea? Any make?
Any particular views on NAS boxes? Terrastation? Although you can run the boxes in a number of RAID configurations, if you were really paranoid like me would you run two of these to back each other up or is that really redundant?
Other cool stuff that you could do with this in general? Stream mp3 even HDTV?


  1. NAS boxes wont care about temperature really, they'll be making enough heat on their own to keep out of any danger range. I should think you can get a nice NAS box that will be running RAID. So if something goes wrong with a drive you just change that drive and it rebuilds. You'd need to research it. That stuff is bound to cost a good whack more than the regular old zero-redundancy consumer stuff.
    As for power line networking. I use it here because I couldn't be bothered to drill holes through walls to do Ethernet networking. At least not right away. I'm using the gear you've linked here. The thing is, it's pretty expensive and it's very hit and miss on the bitrates you'll get. I ended up having to run a network cable around my room to plug into one just to go the other side of a wall in order to get the full 200mbit.
    In my view, if you had a pair of them you'll pretty much always find a use for them. They can simply replace a long network cable or something like that. So what I'd do is buy a couple and then try use them from the various points you have and see if they work and if the speed is any good. As an alternative to wired networking, these things are expensive and often under performing but as an alternative to wireless, they're pretty good really.
    They just behave like a sort of virtual switch too. You just plug x many of them into your mains network and bingo, it's as if each machine is jacked into a switch. Pretty cool really. The thing to watch out for, which is why I suggested testing first, is that you aren't trying to power line network across electrical phases. In a house your size, there's an outside chance of that. They wont work at ALL if they're not jacked into sockets on the same electrical phase. And even if they are on the same phase, if the circuit is only looped from back near, say, a power distribution board in your garage, bitrates are likely to be seriously sucky. So I'd seriously recommend testing a pair before splashing out.

  2. You looked at the costs of actually running cat5? You'd need to get a sparky or something in to run the physical cable if you want to go through the walls proper like, as well as put in backing sockets (standard metal bracket thing, same things are used for phone sockets and single power sockets) but cost wise it's pretty negligible otherwise.
    Cable costs piss all (I've still got >100m of cat5e which will run gig ethernet, you can have some gratis if you want), then all you want is a face plate and socket for every end point.
    Once the cable's in, invite me (or any other suitably skilled network monkey) to your mansion on a given weekend, buy us a drink or two, and the whole thing is done in a couple of hours. Proper 100MBit network to every room of your choice, no worries about electrical phases and shit. Bosh. If you splash out on one of these, then you can even have gig ethernet, which could come in handy if you're planning on hammering the NAS.
    If you're doing lots of locations I'd imagine this is the cheaper option, depending on how much it costs to get someone in to run the cable.
    Edited to add: Done this here with no issues, cable run from study (where router is) to my room, sister's room, conservatory (where consoles are). Easy.