Planning for our home network in new construction

One of us is such a little technology nerd. The anticipation of planning for the home network is correspondingly high. No one wants to do without networking today. But while a router is sufficient in an apartment, the devices quickly reach their limits in a single-family home. The home network should be set up in such a way that it is ready for the future.

LAN and WLAN – what do we need for the home network?

Actually, almost all devices are used in the WLAN today. I’m sitting here on the sofa writing this post with my laptop on my lap. This would actually speak in favor of providing only reasonable WLAN throughout the house.

However, this would be too short-sighted and would meet the demands of a modern network only to a limited extent. While the WLAN in the home network is intended for all devices without a fixed location, all location-bound devices should ideally be integrated into the network via a classic LAN.

The TV is often in one place and can be connected directly via LAN. The same is the case with printers and other devices.

With a new building or a comprehensive renovation, one has the unique opportunity to provide one’s own home with a modern infrastructure.

How we plan our network?

The exciting part. How do we plan our home network. Everything comes together in the utility room. The small network cabinet with all the important components goes in there. The Telekom also comes with the fiber optics into the utility room. It will be exciting to see if we can accommodate everything as planned. But more about that later.

LAN should be in every living room and bedroom in our house. The sockets are each designed as double sockets. There is an alternative place for the TV in the living room. Therefore, there will be two double cans in the living room.

In the hallway on the ground floor and first floor there are double sockets just under the ceiling. What we hang so high? The access points are placed under the ceiling. So these are almost in the middle of the house. So we come to the following LAN ports in the house:

  • 4x living room
  • 2x hallway EG
  • 2x guest room
  • 2x hallway OG
  • 2x bedroom
  • 2x children’s room 1
  • 2x children’s room 2
  • 1x garage

That’s already 17 LAN ports. Additionally we want to use our bell system with an IP system. The Smart Home with KNX also needs a port so that everything can be configured easily. This brings us to 19 ports. That is already a lot. With this we need a 24 port switch. This also offers some expansion potential for the future.

Planning for our home network

Planning for our home network

WLAN with access points

You probably have a Fritzbox or a similar router from your network provider at home. This is quite good for one apartment and may be sufficient there. So in our house the router would be in the utility room. Due to the massive walls the signal would hardly reach all rooms. At least not in a corresponding quality.

A repeater is enough?

The first thought was to extend the WLAN with a repeater. A repeater takes the existing signal and amplifies it. But the bandwidth is halved. This is because it needs to communicate with the end device and the routers. This is a bit like silent mail. A repeater is the cheapest way to extend a WLAN.

This is fine from our point of view, but is not an alternative once we are there and want to do everything right.

WiFi in the home network with a repeater

WiFi in the home network with a repeater

Goes also WiFi Mesh?

Now you’re asking yourself, what is mesh again?? This is a new technology that has only been around for a few years. Almost like a repeater, the individual mesh points talk directly to each other via WiFi. They do not need a LAN connection. This of course makes it a little easier in one during installation. You do not simply amplify the signal like a repeater does. The individual points form a network among themselves. If you take out a point, the points try to optimize and adjust the network independently.

That sounded very interesting at first. But a mesh is always a closed ecosystem. Since there is still no final standard and the corresponding devices from the manufacturers, only the devices of one manufacturer can be used.

A Mesh-Wifi is a good choice if you don’t have any LAN connections available and still want a high-performance home network. On the net we also read about problems from time to time, that the technology is not yet mature and that there are problems with high loads.

WiFi in the home network with a mesh infrastructure

WiFi in the home network with a mesh infrastructure

Access Points – optimal performance with LAN connection

An access point promises optimal performance in the home network. Most important basis: To connect an access point it needs a LAN connection. Due to its direct connection to the network it can provide full performance.

Some time ago the hand-off between two access points was a problem. So if you walked around the house with your smartphone, it didn’t always automatically connect to the strongest point.

In recent years, manufacturers such as Ubiquiti have launched access points that manage the hand-off cleanly.

One access point can manage a large number of user accesses. One router supports 10-20 accesses. An access point allows up to 200 devices to access the home network. We surely don’t need that many. However, ten devices are not enough. We don’t know yet, which devices will be transmitting via WiFi later on.

One disadvantage of an access point is that you need controller software. So we looked around and searched for devices that can be configured well. The software is of course free of charge. It can run on a desktop PC, Raspberry or a small server.

WiFi in the home network with multiple access points

WiFi in the home network with multiple access points

Network hardware for our home network

In addition to all the theoretical considerations, we have already thought about some concrete hardware for our home network in the new house. For optimal integration and configuration we want to rely on one manufacturer as far as possible. We just want to introduce this to you:

24 switch with PoE – Ubiquiti UniFi Switch (US-24-250W)

We have already counted above, how many ports we need. A 16 switch will not be enough.

We want to use a Ubiquiti switch from the UniFi product line in our home network. This managed switch is said to be very reliable according to various reviews, is easy to administer, offers a very high speed and supports PoE.

The UniFi Controller offers many extensive management features. All UniFi devices in the network can be administered with this software.

The switch offers us 24 places for our network devices. That should be sufficient as far as we have calculated above.

What does the 24 UniFi Switch from Ubiquiti cost??

Ubiquiti UniFi nanoHD Access Point

These access points are still relatively new on the market. Many UniFi users have, until recently, relied on the UniFi AP AC Pro on their home network. The nanoHD is 30% smaller than the older model. So it looks good in the living room. Additionally it offers 4×4 MIMO technology. Multiple transmitting and receiving antennas are used for data transmission. If the receiver also supports this technology, 4 data streams can run in parallel.

The UniFi nanoHD even uses MU-MIMO for this purpose. This stands for Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output. The access point can communicate with up to four end devices in parallel.

It is especially convenient for us that the access point does not require an additional power supply. The connection to a network with PoE is sufficient.

What is the price for a UniFi nanoHD Access Point??

The nanoHD access point is slightly more expensive than the larger UniFi AP AC Pro. However, we prefer the smaller, more inconspicuous solution for our home network with a bit more power.

For the UniFi nanoHD you have to plan about 170 Euro. Below you have a button to a dealer, there you can easily check the price.

Ubiquiti UniFi CloudKey Gen2 Plus

To be able to manage the UniFi components we need a controller software. This can be easily installed on a Windows or Linux machine. Whenever you want to adjust your home network or see logs, then the computer must be started. Logs are also only written when the software is running.

Now you can always have one computer running or the software is installed on a server. The latter is surely done by the professionals. The software can even be installed on a Raspberry Pi.

Ubiquiti has of course also a product for the home network in the portfolio. The UniFi CloudKey in the second generation. The whole thing costs a little, but delivers maximum convenience. The Plus version is a bit bigger and has an additional HDD built in. The CloudKey is not only used for the administration of the home network, it can also be used for video surveillance. The UniFi Protect cameras can be configured directly with the CloudKey and the recordings are stored on the HDD.

We do not want to use video surveillance for now. With this we have all possibilities later and the surcharge compared to the normal version is marginal.

What is the price for the Ubiquiti Cloud Key Gen2 Plus?

The controller for your home network is of course rather optional hardware. The convenient management and the ability to access the network from outside justify the price of about 230 euros.

Ubiquitiy Cloud Key Gen 2 – without hard drive

If you don’t need a hard disk in your Cloud Key, then you don’t have to buy the Plus version either. Technically both units are identical, only a hard disk was omitted. For this you also save a few euros and have to put only about 175 euros on the virtual table in the online trade.

patch panel – organize cables from the wall

Above you have already read that we plan to have some network cables in our home network. These must be organized centrally in the technical room before they are connected to the switch.

Behind the patch panel the bare cables come out of the wall. With an LSA tool the individual wires of the cables are connected. At the front you can then plug in a RJ45 connector. On the other side the cable is then connected to the switch. Which patch panel we want to use, we do not know yet.

network cabinet – somewhere all this has to be placed

In the network cabinet the central components of the home network are placed. We will install a 19 inch network cabinet because of the many ports. What height we need we still have to calculate. These are given in "height units – HE".

The switch and patch panel are each 1 U high. For the CloudKey and the router we also need some more space. So the cabinet should be at least 6 – 9 U high. With a little more space, the cables can be laid more neatly and not everything has to be squashed.

To connect the switch in your home network with the patch panel you still need so-called patch cables. Here you should look that you are not the cheapest available on the market. These should be about 0.5 meters long. So you have enough space to thread the cables. Shorter it should not be, otherwise it also likes to be tight and and the network cables are under tension.

Conclusion – Planning for our home network

Now you know some about the components we want to use. The appropriate cans etc. are all already planned. The laying of the network cables will be done by our electrician. We are then off the network cabinet.

The components all together cost about 1.000 Euro. We will write an exact list when it is installed then. With all these parts we mustn’t forget that the fiber optic modem will also be added. Here we have to see what the Telekom offers us and how we can best integrate it.

You are also in the process of planning your home network for your new house? Then let us know which components you want to install.

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