Thursday, 10 November 2016

My Home Network

My home network has been neglected, this is one of the problems of working in Technology, when you get home you are not going to be doing very much technology... Or maybe I'm just too interested in other things... Whatever the reason, neglect has set in.

Lets take a look at my home setup:

The network is broadly speaking split into two, the parts downstairs and the parts upstairs.

Downstairs is pretty much the Cable Modem box, a home hub set to Modem Only mode, connected to a Linksys router with some network attached storage for dumping files or media.

Upstairs is where the trouble begins, the critical path is to the left two upstairs items, my Xen server and especially my main Workstation, without these I can't work at all.  So thats two connections which I do not mess with, moving down we see the dotted yellow line, this is a single cable which lays on my desk that pays double duty to my powerful laptop or a raspberry Pi, so that's a spare I generally always need around.

We've used up four of our eight ports on the switch.  The final four are each going to the DRACs on my Dell Servers, which means they have no data connection.  If I want data to them (which is pretty much every time I use them) I either pull the wire from a neighbours DRAC, or I pull the cable from the IP Camera; it being the eighth and final port on the switch as it stands.

I have to ask what my options are... Well, I'm not able to change the cable trail from the lower to upper floor, so only one Cat6e cable there still, which means its not yet work my moving a box downstairs and dedicating it to pfSense & Squid.

I also don't have any rack space, so a racked switch with more ports is really a waste of money at the moment.

I took a look at another Netgear GC108 unmanaged switch, but I wondered about sub-net masking out some of the server stuff and thought for the few pounds different I'd go for a managed switch.

The desk then gets a new dedicated managed switch, and the more server stuff all stays together on the unmanged switch...

With the Dell servers immediately taking up six ports between their DRAC and data NICS I have two left, one for the Xen server and one to cross-connect with the managed switch.  When I come to rack these machines in a better manner, then I'll be able to co-locate the 8 port switch into whatever solution I have there without rewiring my main working station & desk!

This leaves me two ports free at the desk, in a unit which is light and small enough to screw to the underside of the unit (no way I could do that with a larger unit).

The real beauty for my needs here is the switch interlink, I can unplug just one wire and take away all my servers for re-positioning or remounting.  I could even take them all out of my immediate workspace now and hang them off of the WRT1900 downstairs (as it has two RJ45 ports spare).

Note to all the haters... On the topic of the Linksys WRT1900ACS, there is a lot of talk on the internet of it being flaky, unstable, crashing, resetting to factory defaults... Mine has been nothing but stable, like really stable, it's been reset once due to my needing to clear the cumulative six months of network map details and I think it locked up once with the WiFi not coming online.  This doesn't mean to go out there and buy one (though I did review it on Amazon, go take a look) but rather the unit I have was very good, and remains very good.

P.S. Neither Netgear nor Linksys sponsored my usage of their equipment, but you know, if you want to... Get in touch at the link near the Tip Jar!

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