July 5, 2020

Tour of My Home Network

So I have had a ton of requests over the yearsto give a tour of my home network.

Not only are computers and technology my day job, buttheir are also a big part of my hobbyist adventures in addition to making things in workshop.

And that means my home network is pretty advanced compared to the average home user.

My Internet ConnectionLet’s start outside at the demarcation point.

I get my Internet service from Frontier Communications.

They recently bought out Verizon FiOS in Texas so this is basically the same service as Verizonoffers in other states.

My ONT or Optical Network Terminal is connected using the copperport via Gigabit ethernet.

I currently have my service provisioned as 150 megabit symmetrical, though they do offer up to 500 megabit.

I am just not willing to pay their outrageousprices for it.

It’s a shame because just two streets away AT&T is offering Gigabitservices for less than I pay these guys for 150 megabit.

My Network and A/V ClosetWhen we built our home, we had the builder create a dedicated closet for the theaterroom’s AV gear and my home network gear.

I’ve never been really happy with this panelthey put in the house, and at some point I will probably eliminate it and put in a realpatch panel, but for now this has to suffice.

Over hear on the right is my main networkgear.

It’s just a little wall mount rack I got from Amazon.

In fact, I will put a linkin the description and on my website where to buy all of this gear if you are interested.

The firewall I am using is a six port unitthat I personally imported from China.

It’s something I am actually considering importingin bulk and selling on my website.

It has six gigabit ports and I am currently runningpfSense on it.

Below that is a 24 port managed switch thatI used as my main distribution switch.

Under that is a a 50 port managed switch that supportsPoE or Power over Ethernet.

This switch runs all of the cameras for my NVR which is a littleSynology NVR216 that just sits on top of the rack.

I have a whole video on installing thisrack.

Down below that I have two Trip-Lite UPSes.

These maintain power to everything during a power failure.

With my load, they will runeverything in my network closet for a little over an hour.

Over to the left is where I keep my serverequipment.

I have a Synology RS2416+ running ten 3 terabyte Western Digital 7200 RPM drives, and fronted by two mirrored 250 gigabyte Samsung EVO 850 SSDs for caching.

These cache drivesmake an incredible difference in performance since my servers are running ESXi and theoperating systems live on the NAS.

Speaking of servers, these other two boxesare my servers.

They are the 1U servers from a pervious video, but I moved them to 2U casesbecause I needed more PCIe slots for another project I was doing.

In fact, I still havethe 1U cases here in storage which I’ll probably build a lab box with at some point.

These have servers VMs that run lots of different things in my home.

I’m running Homeseerfor home automation, PLEX for video serving and live-TV distribution, Observium for networkmonitoring, and several other things.

And yes, I am legally licensed for all of thisstuff.

Back over here on top of the network rackis one more device.

This is an HD Homerun Extend.

You plug an aerial antenna into itand then plug it into your ethernet network.

Then using a number of different softwarepackages, you can distribute broadcast TV around your home without the need to run antennacables to all of your TVs.

There are apps for almost any device, such as Apple TV, XBOX, or Smartphones.

However, I simply have my PLEX media server distribute the video overthe PLEX app.

It’s simple and it works flawlessly.

Up here on above the servers is a Z-Net fromHomeseer.

This device broadcasts the Z-Wave protocol throughout my home which controlsmy Z-Wave switches and other devices for home automation.

I really like this device becauseit allows me to run HomeSeer in virtual machine and move it between servers without the needto move a physical USB stick to the other physical box.

The last thing I’ll point out about my networkcloset is that it has a dedicated exhaust fan connected to the return side of my homeair conditioning unit.

This fan is always exhausting air from the room, even when theAC is not running.

This keeps the room at comfortable temperature.

I have a lot of infoon this setup on my website at TheGeekPub.

com.

My OfficeThis is my office where I work on most of my videos and stuff.

I’m running a Mac ProI got on Craigslist that I run Final Cut Pro X for video editing.

Although I have to sayI am seriously considering switching back to a Windows PC with Adobe Premiere sinceApple seems to be going a different direction with pro stuff.

Connected to my Mac Pro isa Drobo 5D that i use mainly for holding backups of my older video footage.

It’s connectedvia Thunderbolt.

On top of my Drobo is an external DVD drive and a USB3 Samsung T3 SSDdrive which I use as my scratch disk for video editing.

It’s connected to a Samsung 28”4K monitor.

Behind my desk is a test PC, and a GigabyteBrix running Chrome in full screen.

This shows stats from Observium for my servers, networks, and Internet usage.

You can see it also shows the temperature.

Over to the left of that I have the Pacadethat I built in a previous video that is powered by a Raspberry Pi 3.

This gets a lot of useand is something I tremendously enjoy having in my office.

Down here on the floor is my little lab rack.

This was sent to me by Rosewill.

I have plans for this little guy in an upcoming video.

For now I am just running my lab switch in it which is powering a PoE camera that iswatching our pool be built.

Now that’s a project I can’t wait to be complete.

Of course, these aren’t really on my network, but this is where I am starting the buildout of my 8-Bit computer museum.

If someone wantsto send me an Altair 8800, feel free! The Game RoomThe Game Room is where I keep the full-size arcade cabinet I built in a previous video.

This thing is always a huge hit when we have parties or guests stay with us.

In the middle of the room is our Gaming rig.

I built this rig with my son a year or so ago.

It’s running an ASUS Z170 pro-gamingmotherboard, an Intel Skylake i7-6700K processor, 16 gigabytes of RAM, and a GeForce GTX-1080video card.

Some of you have probably already noticed that we’re also rocking an OculusRift.

I am huge fan of virtual reality.

For those of you who think its a fad like 3D TVwas, I challenge you to try the Oculus or the HTC Vive.

That stuff that you put yoursmartphone in isn’t even close to this experience.

Lastly, this is where have our console gamingarea setup.

We only have the XBOX ONE running right now, but at some point I do hope toadd the next-generation PlayStation to the mix.

This is the XBOX ONE Day One Edition.

Wireless NetworkingPlaced strategically throughout the house in various locations I keep Apple AirportExtremes.

I like these because they can be picked up really cheap used and they justwork.

They never crash and the performance is excellent.

In addition they support a featurecalled guest networking which works over VLAN 1003.

This allows me to offer internet accessto all of my guests without giving them access to my home network.

I have a whole articleon my website on how to make this work without using an Apple Router for your internet connection.

Security and SurveillanceI’m a big believed in security and surveillance and while I won’t show you everything inthis video, I will show you a little of it.

Strategically placed around the house youwill find a myriad of surveillance cameras.

My favorite cameras as the AXIS cameras.

Thepicture is phenomenal and they never have problems, but they are not cheap! These camerasare all connected via ethernet back the PoE switch in my network closet, meaning theyare hardwired and powered by ethernet.

For security reasons all of these cameras areon a private VLAN than has no access to my home network.

This prevents an intruder fromaccessing my home network by jacking in externally.

My Synology is connected to Amazon Drive andsyncs all video footage to Amazon in the case of fire or robbery where they actually stealthe Synology Recorder.

Lastly, in addition to these regular alarmpads on the walls, we have electronic keypads on the exterior doors.

These keypads interfacewith the home automation system and alarm for granting access to the home.

This allowsus to do some really neat stuff like restrict a maids access to a certain day and set ofhours.

This helps prevent a burglary by service company personnel when we are out of townor on a day they wouldn’t normally be here.

Home AutomationThe last thing I’ll show you is our home automation setup.

I won’t spend a lot oftime on this because I already have a video on how I set this up.

Using HomeSeer, I havevarious bridge software in place that bridge HomeSeer into other devices.

Anything in thehome can be controlled by Siri on an Apple device or by Alexa.

Speaking of Alexa, I havea few of them around the house at strategic locations.

In the kitchen which is sort ofcentral to the house, but also on the nightstand in the master bedroom.

For controlling my theater room and livingroom devices I used Harmony Hubs.

These devices are so simple to setup and make it a breezeto connect to Alexa, Siri, and HomeSeer.

Just saying “Alexa, Turn on Movie Night” andall of the gear turns on, the lights dim, etc.

Want to change the volume? Just ask Alexaor Siri.

Want to change the channel or play a certain song? Just ask Alexa or Siri.

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