Tour of My Home Network


So I have had a ton of requests over the years
to give a tour of my home network. Not only are computers and technology my day job, but
their 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 Connection
Let’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 Verizon
offers in other states. My ONT or Optical Network Terminal is connected using the copper
port 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 outrageous
prices for it. It’s a shame because just two streets away AT&T is offering Gigabit
services for less than I pay these guys for 150 megabit. My Network and A/V Closet
When we built our home, we had the builder create a dedicated closet for the theater
room’s AV gear and my home network gear. I’ve never been really happy with this panel
they put in the house, and at some point I will probably eliminate it and put in a real
patch panel, but for now this has to suffice. Over hear on the right is my main network
gear. It’s just a little wall mount rack I got from Amazon. In fact, I will put a link
in 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 unit
that I personally imported from China. It’s something I am actually considering importing
in bulk and selling on my website. It has six gigabit ports and I am currently running
pfSense on it. Below that is a 24 port managed switch that
I used as my main distribution switch. Under that is a a 50 port managed switch that supports
PoE or Power over Ethernet. This switch runs all of the cameras for my NVR which is a little
Synology NVR216 that just sits on top of the rack. I have a whole video on installing this
rack. Down below that I have two Trip-Lite UPSes.
These maintain power to everything during a power failure. With my load, they will run
everything in my network closet for a little over an hour. Over to the left is where I keep my server
equipment. 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 drives
make an incredible difference in performance since my servers are running ESXi and the
operating systems live on the NAS. Speaking of servers, these other two boxes
are my servers. They are the 1U servers from a pervious video, but I moved them to 2U cases
because I needed more PCIe slots for another project I was doing. In fact, I still have
the 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 Homeseer
for home automation, PLEX for video serving and live-TV distribution, Observium for network
monitoring, and several other things. And yes, I am legally licensed for all of this
stuff. Back over here on top of the network rack
is one more device. This is an HD Homerun Extend. You plug an aerial antenna into it
and then plug it into your ethernet network. Then using a number of different software
packages, you can distribute broadcast TV around your home without the need to run antenna
cables 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 over
the PLEX app. It’s simple and it works flawlessly. Up here on above the servers is a Z-Net from
Homeseer. This device broadcasts the Z-Wave protocol throughout my home which controls
my Z-Wave switches and other devices for home automation. I really like this device because
it allows me to run HomeSeer in virtual machine and move it between servers without the need
to move a physical USB stick to the other physical box. The last thing I’ll point out about my network
closet is that it has a dedicated exhaust fan connected to the return side of my home
air conditioning unit. This fan is always exhausting air from the room, even when the
AC is not running. This keeps the room at comfortable temperature. I have a lot of info
on this setup on my website at TheGeekPub.com. My Office
This is my office where I work on most of my videos and stuff. I’m running a Mac Pro
I got on Craigslist that I run Final Cut Pro X for video editing. Although I have to say
I am seriously considering switching back to a Windows PC with Adobe Premiere since
Apple seems to be going a different direction with pro stuff. Connected to my Mac Pro is
a Drobo 5D that i use mainly for holding backups of my older video footage. It’s connected
via Thunderbolt. On top of my Drobo is an external DVD drive and a USB3 Samsung T3 SSD
drive 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 Gigabyte
Brix 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 Pacade
that I built in a previous video that is powered by a Raspberry Pi 3. This gets a lot of use
and 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 is
watching 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 wants
to send me an Altair 8800, feel free! The Game Room
The 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-gaming
motherboard, an Intel Skylake i7-6700K processor, 16 gigabytes of RAM, and a GeForce GTX-1080
video card. Some of you have probably already noticed that we’re also rocking an Oculus
Rift. I am huge fan of virtual reality. For those of you who think its a fad like 3D TV
was, I challenge you to try the Oculus or the HTC Vive. That stuff that you put your
smartphone in isn’t even close to this experience. Lastly, this is where have our console gaming
area setup. We only have the XBOX ONE running right now, but at some point I do hope to
add the next-generation PlayStation to the mix. This is the XBOX ONE Day One Edition. Wireless Networking
Placed strategically throughout the house in various locations I keep Apple Airport
Extremes. I like these because they can be picked up really cheap used and they just
work. They never crash and the performance is excellent. In addition they support a feature
called guest networking which works over VLAN 1003. This allows me to offer internet access
to all of my guests without giving them access to my home network. I have a whole article
on my website on how to make this work without using an Apple Router for your internet connection. Security and Surveillance
I’m a big believed in security and surveillance and while I won’t show you everything in
this video, I will show you a little of it. Strategically placed around the house you
will find a myriad of surveillance cameras. My favorite cameras as the AXIS cameras. The
picture is phenomenal and they never have problems, but they are not cheap! These cameras
are all connected via ethernet back the PoE switch in my network closet, meaning they
are hardwired and powered by ethernet. For security reasons all of these cameras are
on a private VLAN than has no access to my home network. This prevents an intruder from
accessing my home network by jacking in externally. My Synology is connected to Amazon Drive and
syncs all video footage to Amazon in the case of fire or robbery where they actually steal
the Synology Recorder. Lastly, in addition to these regular alarm
pads on the walls, we have electronic keypads on the exterior doors. These keypads interface
with the home automation system and alarm for granting access to the home. This allows
us to do some really neat stuff like restrict a maids access to a certain day and set of
hours. This helps prevent a burglary by service company personnel when we are out of town
or on a day they wouldn’t normally be here. Home Automation
The last thing I’ll show you is our home automation setup. I won’t spend a lot of
time on this because I already have a video on how I set this up. Using HomeSeer, I have
various bridge software in place that bridge HomeSeer into other devices. Anything in the
home can be controlled by Siri on an Apple device or by Alexa. Speaking of Alexa, I have
a few of them around the house at strategic locations. In the kitchen which is sort of
central to the house, but also on the nightstand in the master bedroom. For controlling my theater room and living
room devices I used Harmony Hubs. These devices are so simple to setup and make it a breeze
to connect to Alexa, Siri, and HomeSeer. Just saying “Alexa, Turn on Movie Night” and
all of the gear turns on, the lights dim, etc. Want to change the volume? Just ask Alexa
or Siri. Want to change the channel or play a certain song? Just ask Alexa or Siri.

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