I Should Write a Blog

I've been posting to Facebook with some frequency the past few weeks, my latest post drew a casual comment about "thanks for the blog" and then my daughter chimed in with a "you should write a blog."

This is my first attempt, playing with the google blogger tools to see what I see. This is very much a work in progress, well really more of an experiment, to see what I shall see.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New House - Network, What Could Go Wrong?

What could possible be wrong with a network installed and dare I say "operated" by a lawyer?  Of course, the answer is just about anything.  When we saw the house, I was stunned to see the "wiring closet," a section of unfinished space where a spaghetti mess of UTP and COAX were tied, sometimes literally in knots with some terminated into female connectors, some with male connectors, some stripped back several inches, untrimmed ends pocking into other cables, and some undecipherable labels on a few cables.

My first step was to try to segregate the UTP (network and phone) cables from the multitude of COAX and trace them.  As each was traced it was labeled with a neat color coded tape label so I could skip the tracing next time.  When that was said and done, I was down to only about a dozen mystery cables.  The network cables were plugged into a switch that I literally zip tied on top of the box.  The coax cables went into a couple of bundles.

The result, definitely not pretty was an organized mess, something I could work to improve and I thought something that might help performance of the network.

Network Performance Failure

It was not long till my son tried to use his computer to play WoW and immediately discovered that the network was horrible, with disconnects and latency galore.  He fixed it by going to a wireless connection, bypassing some of the mess that is our wired network and let me know about it.  I thought I was retired, but I seem to have inherited another broken network.

Initial Repairs

I knew the terminations on some, many, most of the connections were poor at best, so I started triage on the most important connections.  The signal from Verizon comes into the house and up to the office router, an Airport Extreme, and then back to the basement to connect my 16 port switch.  That path is used by every bit coming or going from the house, so I took a careful look at the wiring in the office.

Needless to say, I didn't like what I saw.  Two jacks hanging on their wires, one of them with an excessive amount of unsheathed wire.  

Looking at them more closely, even the good connector was pretty bad.  All eight wires had been pushed into their slots, presumably by hand as they were loose and not trimmed.  I punched them down and trimmed them.  The connector that has the long run of unscathed cable I cut back a distance, tossed the unrated terminator and used a new Cat5e connector.

Immediate Results

In a word, very good, ok, that was two words, but you get the idea I expect.  After these changes the network is running much smoother.  Not as good as it likely should but much better.  I still have the disaster in the basement that needs to be cleaned up and no doubt a mess in every wall jack in the house, but it is much, much improved.


  1. I can see that you have done a great job on your messy network and hopefully it will work for a long time. Prefere wireless myself so I would have done like Brian ;)

    1. I'm using WiFi as well. In this point in the home networking sector, wireless is faster than our ISP eliminating the real advantage of wires.

      My wired devices are gaming computers, where minimum latency is a plus and my witeless hubs placed around the house.

      I expect networking demands to increase making lots of GigE lines with no RF interference useful. Basically, I am wiring in anticipation of future needs. I have been wrong before.

  2. Reminds me of the mess when I moved In here. Had the company doing our distributed audio correct it and the results were worse so ended up correcting myself.

    1. Funny how that seems to be the way of it. Excuse me while I make a note about who to ask about audio.