My Network Cupboard

My Network Cupboard

My wife and I bought our first house about 18 months ago. We’ve enjoyed home ownership and I’ve been seeking a project to start to make the house more of my own. In our house search, we were pretty particular to find a house that was mostly move-in ready; mainly because of how few tools and what little actual skill I possess.

After moving in, we had Verizon FiOS installed for both our Television and Data service (and we couldn’t be happier.) When the Verizon tech was here, he wound up choosing to install the cable particularly unconventionally. The demarc is on the east side of the house and our home “office” is on the west side of the house. The technician wound up running the cable into the house from the east, through the attic back outside the west side of the house down the west wall and back into the office.

This clumsy installation started my “do it yourself” wheels turning in my head; firstly I wasn’t exactly thrilled to have the cable running down the western side of the house and secondly the WiFi access point was on the opposite side of the house; which has meant that the WiFi signal in the master bedroom is pretty low.

Originally, my plan was pretty humble. I just wanted to run a strand of CAT5 from my office into the master bedroom; and in the master bedroom, I would do something simple like turn a Linksys WRT54G into some sort of repeater. At one point, I thought that this was so simple, that I was going to consider any number of the current Ethernet-over-Power devices. The ease of installation for these devices got my wheels turning even harder which caused me to want to have a network drop in almost every single room in the house.

And thus, the slippery slope began. In looking at the hardware cost for the Ethernet-over-Power that I wanted, I soon started to realize that for the same cost (and some elbow grease) I could put in an honest to God SOHO Network in the house. And that elbow grease would wind up hopefully satisfying my hunger for a home improvement project.

Eventually, I decided to go ahead and take an empty cupboard in our laundry room and turn it into My Network Cupboard. Inside that cupboard would be a patch panel, some switches and hopefully my Verizon FiOS router. The plan would be to run at least one network drop into nearly every room in the house except for bathrooms, closets and the laundry room.

This plan has been hatched and it has been a topic of frequent discussion among friends and co-workers over the past couple months. I’ve finally accumulated all the hardware, tools and other supplies we thought we would need and this week we started the first couple mini projects. I’m going to break this project up into multiple blog entries and hopefully you’ll be able track progress nearly real-time via my Twitter feed (@briancmoses #MyNetworkCupboard)