UPDATE: Here's a Bit.ly Bundled Link of the complete "Wiring your house for Gigabit Ethernet 5 PART SERIES."
Looks like folks ARE interested in the Home Wiring topic. I'm not an expert, but I do read a lot. Here's some answers to some great questions in the comments.
Q: "Wooden walls... huh... wooden walls. Umm, right, whatever. But why don't you use tubes inside the wall that hold the wires? Right now when you close the wall, you can't add new cables, right? Over here in The Netherlands/Europe we embed tubes in the concrete or bricks so we are able to pull new wires through it." - Rutger
A: Sure, that's sometimes used. Usually instead we just pull WAY more cable that we'd need. Wooden walls "can" be opened (with trouble) and additional pulls can be "fished" through, but your point is well taken, this is a hassle. We've done a combination by pulling lots of wires, but also by including a 2" conduit (in orange in the picture) leading between floors as well as to the main entertainment center (TV).
Q: "what about sound isolation? Seems to me pretty noisy." - Rutger
A: The closet will just have the Home Server, Media Server, the switch and the wireless router. The servers are fairly quiet, but certainly not silent. I haven't given much thought to sound isolation in the wiring closet, instead focusing on the room I record Hanselminutes in. If it becomes a problem, first I'd add a sealing strip of rubber to the bottom of the door, and then I'd look at "blowing in" extra insulation in that one wall, and finally I'd line the one inward-facing wall with sound dampening material.
Q: "Let me guess - you handle the tech, while your wife is in charge of picking out the color scheme, window treatments, appliances, granite countertops, carpeting, landscaping, shower curtains, decor, and new furniture?" - Frank
A: Uh, gulp. Actually, if you knew some things about me you'd know I'd kind of a Nate Berkus about this stuff. I came up with most of the colors, the window treatments, all the appliances. Mo and I did the countertops (ceramic, not granite) and carpets together. I'll do most of the furniture and decor, accents and landscaping, fencing, etc, and she'll do art, photos, pictures, knick-knacks etc. I actually just spent my lunch hour at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Q: "I was a little surprised to see you getting a Netgear Switch. Netgear is a good consumer brand but they really don't have the chipsets to compete with the big boys such as Dell, HP, and Cisco. See through put is all dependent on how much the chipset can handle. Really what you want to look at is the switching capacity because it is totally different than bandwidth." - Nick
A: Hm. I picked up a nice Netgear GS724TS for literally nothing on Ebay. I can add more switches as I need to, and it has a switching capacity of 20Gbps. Even if I had every port full (I won't) with everything running at 1Gbps (I don't) I'd still be "ok." Sure I could have got an HP with 48Gbps capacity, but it seems overkill and was more money. The Dell you references only had an 8Gbps capacity, so I think I did well for very little money. Of course, the switch is just mounted into the closet, so it can always be popped out for the future, but I think 20Gbps is pretty reasonable.
Q: Also, designate where you electrical taps are and ensure your office has at least 3 dedicated circuits if you're going to have a reasonable amount of gear/UPS. I took the rule of a jack box a foot away from each power drop so that I didn't end up with wires all over the floor. For instance, I have three separate jack plates in my office alone, each with 2+ CAT5e jacks. The one by the server has 6 CAT5e jacks so that everything can have a dedicated drop to the switch to avoid overloading a single cable. - Chris
A: Totally agree. I've got two dedicated 20 amp circuits in my office and another 20 amp in the wiring closet.
Q: What model of switch do you have? You said it can do RJ11 ports, which sounds like a cool feature. - Tony
A: It's not the switch that does the RJ11, basically it's the punchdown block. There's a separate "hub" thing for RJ11, and if I want to change a Data Run into a Phone Run, I just move the run from the switch into the phone hub. Then can put RJ11 wires into an RJ45 in the room and I'm set. I'm moving off of Vonage now that they are imploding and going back to Verizon for phone service, but we'll be using Skype exclusively for our many overseas calls.
Again, I'm just stumbling through this, it's only the second time I've put together this kind of setup and the first time was only 8-ports and 100mbps, so I DO appreciate all your comments and (constructive) criticisms!
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.