Monday, December 29, 2014

Living Room Router-AP Move

We have great internet through CenturyLink.  They provide us with a 20mbps DSL connection.  For the most part it is a reliable connection and they hit their 80% speed guarantee.  My only beef is the data cap at 250GB, which we regularly bump up against.  Netflix and now HBO-GO are gas hogs.

But the router and cables in the living room media cabinet are a complete mess and I hate wire messes.  Plus our wifi signal strength is not the greatest when you're upstairs in any of the bedrooms.  So something has got to be done.

The Stage

Last year I spent some time mapping out all of the LAN network connections in the house and routed them all to the basement media closet.  We have 1 port in each of the bedrooms, 5 ports in the living room media cabinet, 1 port on the side of the living room and 2 ports in the basement.  All of these connections run into a Cat5 patch panel where they are labeled and patch cables routed into a D-Link switch.

Some of the network connections were going into the router and some were going into the switch.  It was a mess.  The picture on the left is what the networking currently looks like.

The Materials and Costs

This was a small project and even though it took me a couple of interrupted hours, it was low on the cost meter.  I only had to buy a box of nail-in cable clips to rout the cables (1x power, 1x network, 1x phone) to the floor or the phone outlet. And the other purchase was a network couple to connect the router network cable to the cable for the switch.  Total cost was under $10.

A Better Network

Here is what I did to fix this mess.  I pulled the router out of the cabinet, dusted it off with an air can and mounted it to wall just below the curtain rack of the back door so that the router will be mostly covered by drapes.  However, I basically burned what little WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) points I had since its another piece of equipment showing and it is very visible with its huge antennas.  Eventually when I have a bunch of money to blow, I would like to move the router to the basement, disable the wifi and put up a professional access point in its place in the living room.  I'll earn back some WAF with other projects in the living room.

All the components that were connected directly to the router were rerouted to plug into 3 of the 5 ports I installed a couple years ago that lead to the media closet in the basement with the switch.  Then I routed a network cable from the router to the one network connection on the side of the living room that leads to the switch.  The phone line required to get internet to the router is draped over the back door and out of the way of chewing puppies.

Here are some more photos of the finished product:

The living room media cabinet is now looking a little cleaner.  This will make it a lot easier to move the components into the cabinet.  Signal strength is now maxed out when I look at all the devices we use in our bedrooms on the second floor as well as the devices in our basement.

So that's it.  Hope this inspires someone to do a similar project.


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