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Our home network is based on UTP/10BaseT/100baseTX with a patch panel and network hubs underneath the basement stairs. In an early picture of the wiring closet, you can see, starting on the left wall, the POTS type 66 wiring block, then on the back of the stairs a standard rack with the patch panel in the middle, and the hub near the bottom of the rack. Below the rack on the left is another small hub, below on the right is the Cisco 675 RADSL modem. To the right of the rack was our first firewall (a 386sx upgraded to a Cyrix 486). One of the Dell GxPros now serves as the firewall. In the foreground right is the waterheater.

Service Wiring

Our general purpose internet connection is through a Digitial Subscriber line (DSL) service. In addition we have two incoming Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) circuits. These are wired to a network interface box outside the basement. Both lines are brought into a position just above a type 66 punchdown block and terminated in RJ-11 jacks. On line one, the connection for the DSL service branches off at this point and the rest of the house is filtered through an "EZ" inline filter that came with the DSL installation kit. POTS line two is unfiltered and from here is connected to the various positions of the 66 punchdown block.

House Wiring

In the first pass of wiring the house for a network, we installed the following connections. Each RJ-11 jack is fed by two pair of a four pair cable. Each RJ-45 jack is fed by a full four pair cable.

RoomRJ-11 RJ-45
Basement Office 124
Basement Office 222
Basement Workshop22
South Bedroom21
West Bedroom21
East Bedroomnot yetny

All wire is Category 5 Unshielded Twisted Pair (Cat5 UTP).

Each of the RJ-11 connections are home run to a type 66 punchdown block for POTS connections. The RJ-45 connections are home run to a Cat5 compliant 24 port patch panel (the cable is punched into a block on the back of the patch panel). The patch panel came from SmartHome.

In each room, a four socket plate is used, two RJ-11 on the upper row and two RJ-45 lower row. The first of the two RJ-11 jacks (at left when facing a wall panel) is configured at the 66 block to provide connections to POTS line one and line two in the house. The second of the two RJ-11 jacks is configured to provide access to an intercom system (the pair of wires caries RF), and for temperature sensor network in the house.

The 66 block is wired so that the incoming POTS lines are connected the two inboard pins running vertically through the block, while the home runs coming from the various rooms are terminated at the outermost pins on each side of the block (in a 66 type block, the 1 and 2, and then also the 3 and 4 pins are electronically/physically connected together). In our configuration, one 4 pair wire, corresponding to one room, contributes to a horizontal position on the block. Each side of the block supports 6 positions (6 positions * 8 wires = 48 pins) with two leftover pins. To connect the POTS lines to the lines going to the rooms via the 66 block, a ring/tip pair is threaded down the block and "punched" into the inboard connecting pins at the appropraite horizontal position.

Network Hosts

Our home network at tworoads.net is a collection of machine that I have procured, mainly at ebay over the years. This includes:

  • Three Dell Dimension 4100 Series Pentium III (Windows XP Home, NetBSD 2.0)
  • One Dell Pentium Pro based systems (firewall, running NetBSD 1.5.2)
  • Two Dell Precision 420 MT dual processor systems (Server, and Webserver, running NetBSD 2.0_STABLE)
  • A Dell Inspiron 4000 Laptop (NetBSD 2.0, Windows 2000 Pro).
  • A Dell Inspiron 8600 Laptop (Windows XP Professional)
  • An Apple Airport Express.
  • A TiVo HDR212 (Linux, + TiVoNet)

Network Topology

The firewall is a multi (3) homed host running NetBSD, with IP filtering and IP NAT enabled. The DSL modem is connected to the firewall via a crossover cable at an external network interface. The firewall host also has an interface for a DMZ network where the FTP and Web server live, and a third interface, which is connected to the switch, an HP 2424. This switch serves all the other hosts, and the apple airport. The switch, airport, TiVo, and Cisco 675 are monitored via SNMP/MRTG. I'm just now experimenting with environmental monitioring of the Dell Precision 420s.

Most of the machines in the house have 100BaseTX capable network cards. The connection between the firewall and the DSL modem is running with 100BaseTX, as is the host to host connection between the firewall and the web/ftp/mail server. The Switch, an HP 2424 also supports 100BaseTX, but some hosts run only 10BaseT.

Scott Presnell
Last modified: Thursday, May 22, 2008 16:29 PDT