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Home network planning


I’m starting to plan the network for the house I am working on fixing up. Hopefully I’ll be able to move in within a month or two.

I have a couple partial boxes of CAT6, but I’ll probably need one more full box. I don’t know how many drops I’ll be needing yet, still have to plan that.

My main issue is the switches. I’ll have the main switch in the basement rack, and a secondary switch in a wall mount rack sort of in the attic.

So I’m looking for a switch that can do four 10Gb connections and 24 1Gb connections, all RJ45 CAT6, no fiber. Maybe the second switch only needs two 10Gb links. Retired enterprise is fine as long as it isn’t vacuum cleaner levels of sound. Also sub-$200 would be great.

The idea is to connect the two switches with one of the 10Gb links on each, then on the main switch I’d have my file server and desktop on 10Gb and everything else on 1Gb.

Is this possible?



I haven’t seen any enterprise gear with 10g in that price range. There’s HPE and Cisco gear that are capable but require an add-on module that is expensive on its own.

Is 10g something you need right away? Could buy the capable gear now but put off the expansion module purchase for down the road a bit.

A switch in an attic sounds like a bad idea, how will you keep it cool? Don’t know your climate but even here in northern Michigan it still gets really hot in my closet.



Yeah, west central Wisconsin here. So hot summers and cold winters. I’m planning on installing a separate HVAC system in the attic to heat and cool the second level, so I’d run a duct into this little room the switch would be in. But that won’t be for a while.

I don’t need to get 10G right away. It’d be nice, but no it’s not needed. I have a couple basic D-Link gigabit switches I was going to use to get things started.



new: $380 Mikrotik CRS328-24P-4S+RM

you may be able to get a new 24port 1gig + 2 10gig … and a separate small 10gig for less

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Very nice. I’ve heard of MikroTik, but that’s about it. I’ll have to look at it.

Are cheap SFP+ RJ45 transceivers a bad thing to do?



No problem, That is easy!

That makes it harder. Most switches are like this one <- Which @risk also recommended.

Splitting that up into 24port RJ45 Gbit and 4port 10GBit will probably make everything easier more expensive.

Just take the CRS328_24p_4s_RM and as many S+RJ10 SFP+ to RJ45 as you need.

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Good point here - cable is cheap by comparison to switch gear. One 48 port in the basement, all the end points run there.



Personally that’s how I would run it. Either run everything straight back to one spot. Or break it up BUT between switches run fiber. Those runs are highly unlikely to change over time. Cost might be prohibitive I suppose.



Unfortunately I only have one route to get up to the second level and attic right now, and it’s occupied by water lines and a sewer drain. I need to figure out how to get power up there, as I need to rewire the entire house. Getting a bundle of 8 to 12 network lines up there is going to be pretty difficult. Don’t want to run them along with the power.

After some thinking, I figure I’ll be needing 22 to 24 drops for the main level and basement, and maybe 16 for the second level/attic.

Fiber might be an option. I know it can be expensive. Will have to think about it.



There’s no reason not to run them with power. Ethernet is differential, so it has great noise rejection. In a home application you’re not going to notice any difference.

Or buy a pre terminated fiber jumper and run it. Several 100 ft of OM3 is very cheap on Amazon.



I definitely like the fiber option if the patch cable is that cheap.

Thinking a 30m for the link between switches and a 2m for the file server. I’d like to stick with cat6 for the desktop, though. Not very far from the main rack, maybe 15ft max. Any issues mixing transceiver types? Keystone?



I have a mix of white label “compatible” optics, as well as Dell (Intel) and actual Intel optics on my network. My Mikrotik switch doesn’t care, and the cards are running whatever too. I also have a Dell switch that will run the Dell and Intel optics but doesn’t like the white label (which are HPE/Aruba compatible)

I never tried using a fiber to fiber keystone. They should work since you’re way under on distance, a little attenuation probably helps more than anything.

I’ve also gotten away with using Cat 5e keystones on Cat 6 cable at home. Sometimes they break, sometimes not. I don’t really care that they’re out of spec, doesn’t make any difference for what I’m doing, and I have oodles of them.



Fiber itself is cheap(er than copper). The transcivers though…



10G fiber transceivers start at <$20

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Less than $20 for 10g?




I would have also said fiber and sfp+ links.
Probably would have gone with the very cheap mellanox cx2 cards, cx3 sometimes being cheap enough, though on the SFP side, you have all the options you could want.

I’m more on the qsfp side where mellanox is basically the only thing worth getting.
And where transievers for anything other then mpo cost way to much



10G sfp+

40G qsfp+



Dang, I’ve been buying from the wrong places! Thanks.



I personally just use finisar transceivers from eBay. Under ~$8

Maby somebody has some reason to hate them, but they work fine in my 4 port microtik, my edge switch, and misc connectx3 cards. 10gtek stuff also works fine.



Thanks, guys. Tons of good info. I’ll probably make this a winter project.