Network Rack Closet Build (Home Area Network)

Network Rack Closet Build (Home Area Network)

Hey guys, I finally got around to building
my dream comm closet in this project. I’m going to be talking about how I rebuilt
a stuffy old closet into an epic comm closet. My old setup was functional, but it just seemed
to lack that classic geek bling. I stuffed all the usual starter comm gear
on a shelf and wall. It was a good start, but
I just knew I could do better so I hatched a plan. First, demolition! My favorite part of course.
Time to ditch the designer 45 degree wall, reinforce studs for the new wall mount rack,
and finish up with the standard touches like paint, a new rack, and all the new hardware
choices that come with that kind of upgrade. The tour starts out with a glimpse of the
closet just after I riped out the 45 degree wall
section. You can see my structured cabling coming down to a comm panel from inside the
wall. I later added a 2″ PCV punch-through to the
attic for additional runs. Making her first appearence on iTechStorm
is Cat5, our fluffy little mascott. I think she likes
the rack I’m going to install… Oh wait, nope, she hates it. She’s a bit of a snoot
sometimes. Back to the install, you can see a close-up
of the structured media panel I installed when my
house was built. I have 8 drops of bulk cable runs entering the panel. What I need to do currently, is replace the
chipped out stud to the left of the panel and add
another, so I can support the wall rack and mount directly to studs. You will need to
support a lot of weight! So that means four lag bolts
directly into the studs. Here you can see the result of the stud changes
and the addition of an extended power recepticle positioned directly behind the wall rack.
This will reduce the amount of cable on the external
wall and give a cleaner look. Next I need to seperate the Cat5 cable from
the RG6 for each bundle. The consolidated media cable
bundle made running everything ridiclously easy. The goal is to run the network cable
directly into the rear of the wall rack, just like
the power. Additionally, I didn’t have much space
in the media panel with all that cable terminating in a single box. I was careful to maintain a seperation of
power and low voltage data cable to reduce the
possibility of electro-magnitic interference. If you have to navigate around power cables,
always run at 90 degrees across the cable, never in parallel. Okay, now I got my first piece of wallboard
up, and things are starting to come together. I break out the joint compound and drywall
tape. Yes… these terms are very missleading. After that, orange peel texture in a can,
and popcorn in a can for the ceiling. It helps to cover up the items you don’t want to splatter
texture all over. And splatter is the name of the game with this stuff. When your texture is dry, it’s time for a
fresh coat of paint on the wall. I went with “white”.
Wow! It feels so spacious in here… Alright, next level time. For uber flexibility,
use a cable-matched patch panel for quick network re-configurations, easy labeling,
and of course bragging rights. Go big or go home people. You can see I took the time to label my network
cables on the back side of the patch panel too.
This saves time and always helps with troubleshooting. I seriously suggest getting a cable toner
if you don’t already have one. It’s a magic wand when it comes to tracing structured cabling.
Seriously… get one. Finally, all finished with my home comm closet
project. This officially ups my status as a true geek.
Starting at the bottom working our way up, I have an APC horizontal metered PDU for power
distribution and monitoring. Next up is a Baytech DS3-IPS remote console
access server, so I can remotely configure everything via serial connection. Now I can
spend my extra time making trips to the fridge getting
a beer. That’s multi-tasking. 3rd up, is the Cisco 3550 24-port layer 3
switch I use for configuration testing. 4th, a NetGear GS748T 48-port 1Gb managed
switch. Above that I have
a 1U horizontal cable manager that keeps the patch cables nice and tidy. Moving to the
6th position I have the 24-port 1Gb patch panel that leads
to all the structured cat5 drops around the house. Directly above the patch panel there is a
2U shelf for non-rackmountable gear. I’m using it for a
Fortigate 60B, and Motorola cable modem. In addition to that I made use of the space on
top of the rack for a NetGear GS-116 un-managed switch
and the classic W54G Wifi. And finally, the one piece of hardware that
makes this all possible is the StarTech 8U Open Frame Wall Mount
Equipment Rack with adjustable depth. Truly a fantastic piece of gear to keep your home
enterprise network tucked away safely, while allowing
access from evey angle. Be sure to check my video
description for any relevant links. One final note about cable management. Try
to support the weight of the cables with zip ties
or cable velcro. And always be cautious about the bend radius of your cables as you route
them to their point of termination. Be warned, you can cause
a loss of bandwidth (or signal) by over-bending your
copper cables beyond factory specification. It never hurts to protect your investment. Well that concludes my dream comm-closet build-project.
I hope you enjoyed what I did with it, and you
find this video useful. If so, please click the thumbs up and be sure to subscribe to
this channel, iTechStorm. I’d love to hear what others have
done with their setup via comments or video responses.
Don’t forget to keep rocking your inner geek and share this video with others who are looking
for ideas.

Author: Kevin Mason

59 thoughts on “Network Rack Closet Build (Home Area Network)

  1. Do you have to worry about heat buildup? I want to do the same but my utility closet also has a sloppy sink. That wouldn't be an issue I believe, right?

  2. This is beautiful and so clean. I'm jealous and would have a fun time configuring this myself. But I have to ask, do you have 22 cat5 drops in your house????

  3. Keep the good stuff coming, i'm sutdying at university to become a tech like you admin/network/virtulization ,
    i'm thinking to do a channel like your soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Adda pfsense box as a router /dhcp and get a decent wifi router. Wrt54g is horribly obsolete. Anything AC1750-1900 that runs ddwrt.

  5. Very professional. I hope that WRT54G isn't your only access to wifi. With all that cable throughout the house why not go with mesh wifi?

  6. I'm always wary of these wall mount solutions, are they really stable enough to hold all of the networking equipment? I'm assuming it has to be attached to a stud and not just an anchor in drywall?

  7. Nice and simple. Too many of these videos are posers who think it's cool to fill a room with tech crap. "Home labs" are a relic of the 1990's, we have virtualization now.

  8. I am new to the HAN and I am looking for a basic break down of all this and where to start so I can build my own in my house.

  9. Why do you use an not rack mount switch if you have an empty cisco switch? I self thinks labeled the cable is good idea if you do it for private installations. It helps really that true.

  10. Possibly the best video i have come across so far for home networking. I'm having my first house built and one of my requests to the builder was that I have a custom home network running CAT6. I have been getting ideas of what i want and this is probably the closest to what I may want to do. Would be nice if you could give me some pointers/advice on what to request and future proofing. Thank you for this great video!

  11. Very nice video and setup. Thanks for sharing. For your network segment, i noticed that you use the L3 to do the VLAN. Did you run into any issues when you were IP routing your VLANs? what are the major challenge in your setup? Just wondering.. thanks.

  12. I love it all, but my primary question…

    Why the Linksys WRT54G? I mean, that is a wireless G router. There are Wireless AC routers out now. With so much high end tech, it seemed so out of place. Unless it was just a nostalgia thing.

  13. You just made my day. Iโ€™ve been looking for a shallow depth rack for my network closet build, this rack will do the trick. Great texture and popcorn patching and thatโ€™s coming from a painter ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ

  14. Fantastic, rather timeless video and setup. I greatly appreciate the quick-yet-thorough approach along with the links to the gear used. I stumbled upon this video while just having a look-see at how others ran their cable management and conduit in-wall and to the rack. Thanks or the great video! I'll be passing it along!

  15. From a former worker as ISP, when you mentioned bends in cable. Our minimum bend radius for coax was 2" and with CAT cables, 1" is fine without worrying about breaking copper connectivity/continuity.

  16. wanna really geek out?
    build your own servers, switches, routers, etc. ๐Ÿ˜€
    with that, you get the added benefit of saving money with more customization and upgradability ;D

    though the catch is more configuration ๐Ÿ˜
    though that could be taken as good or bad fun depending on if you actually like it like I do ๐Ÿ˜€

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