Chris J Powell

Designing the Perfect Home Network

My life is going through a lot of changes right now one of which is heading out on my own for the first time in over 20 years (my first year of college in 1992).  It is both scary and exciting and this time I am going to plan out the configuration of all the tech things extremely well before I even venture off into the great beyond.  I found a place yesterday and it has a lot of 1920’s charm right down to the plaster walls and short doors (and when I say short, the door to the bathroom will cause more than one bump on the head).  I am starting to plan out how I will layout my humble abode with both the furniture and gear that I have now but also start to make a plan on how I will leverage the technology that I have at hand and set things up just how I want it…with no consideration for those around me because it will be mine and mine alone!


Because I will be living on a pretty strict budget I will be going without regular TV which is good because other than Duck Dynasty I really have no need to have the expense of full blown cable access so the first step will be to get a kick ass Internet Connection.  The world of Fibre Optics is making in roads in a big way around the city I live in so Bell may be an option but I am un-impressed with their no unlimited bandwidth options so I will probably get service from one of the leased lines like Start Communications or Teksavvy and start to build from there.

Once that is setup, I will need a solid router.  The one that I have been using at home does not really meet my needs anymore even though I had upgraded D-Link DIR-601 with the DD-WRT firmware.  I am thinking that an industrial look to the new place will be pretty awesome so looking at some of the new router designs is helping me with some inspiration…the Securifi Almond Router intrigues me but it only has 2 wired ports…which in reality is all that I really need!

Once inside the network though I need to layout the 14TB of internal storage and potentially expand upon it by either converting my MonstaPuter into a full headless Server or reconfiguring one of my other older less capable PCs to take on the role of Media Server.  I have toyed around with setting up a Windows 8 Home Server for a while but at the same time there are a multitude of solid open source options out there and then there are the Media Players that are available for a song these days.  My choices for configuring the media that I have collected over the past 20 years of being on the Interwebz is at times a bit daunting but moving my life to a completely digital footprint is really quite appealing as I start fresh and new.

There are many things that are still really up in the air but with 3 Desktops, my Chromebook, 2 tablets, a printer and my Smartphone coming with me (and then the iPad and Smartphone of my daughter coming 3 days per week) I need it to function correctly out of the box so I have 1 month to figure out how I will set up the network and the Network Servers so that when move in day arrives…it is easy peasy, plug and play!

Starting fresh with a network configuration and design at home is not only interesting, I can see where the extreme appeal can come from for those who do this as a job.  The challenges of architecture and the placement of your Wireless transmitter, the interference of neighbours, configuring security and then setting up the protocols and automating the entire thing so that you can live life instead of tweaking settings…well that is very, very appealing to me.  A challenge that I not only look forward to, I look forward to documenting the entire process in June when the move happens.

For now, cheers.



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