Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fast Home Networking

I bet you thought I forgot all about this, didn’t you. As much as I’d like to, it seems a bit of a necessity these days. And even if it isn’t a necessity, I would feel negligent not to take it in to consideration, given the level of work I’m doing on the house.

The reason I need to revisit it now is because the butler’s pantry will be the brain center of the house. (I start plastering tomorrow) I’ve planned this all along, so its now time to put the plan in to action. You see those jobs done on shows like This Old House where they have computer controlled lighting and other whiz-bang features that cost more than I spent on my kitchen and bathroom put together. That is not really what I’m doing. I just want a central place to house the router and NAS (Network Attach Storage), along with a central hub for cable TV and phone. And please, nobody suggest a wireless system. We’ve been over that before in previous posts. I’m pulling wire. End of story.

Anyway, I found a site on Ebay that has just about everything a person like me needs to do a project like I’m doing. The line of products they carry is called Fast Home Home Networking. You start with a box that you then mount different modules for phone, network, and TV. It is fairly straight forward, and doesn’t break the bank. It may not be the most attractive thing in an 1895 butler’s pantry, but it is better than a 66 punchdown block mounted to plywood.

Here are the basic components.

This is the mounting case. This one if 15X19 inches and they also make a smaller version. The phone and cable lines come in to this box. Then, inside that you mount the various blocks for dispersing the services throughout the house. Each module handles 6 connections, which is perfect for a house this size.

The Networking Hub

The Telephone Hub

Cable TV hub

These items, along with some crimpers and cabling come to about $200. In addition to this, there are wallplates that that hold 2 coaxial and 2 CAT6/Phone lines each. They take a GFCI face plate, so I can put on the brass face plates that match everything else in the house. With the brass faceplate, these run about $15 each.


amanda said...

We did this, or a version thereof, in the utility closet in our basement. I recently networked a printer and stuck it down there, and found a couple of things that might help you out. I can't remember if you've planned for these or not. We have the printer, modem (we have DSL), and router all sitting on the floor of the closet, plugged into a power strip b/c we didn't plan on enough room to stick them on a shelf or in a closet, and we didn't plan enough power for them either. Good luck- it will be interesting to see how it works out!

Greg said...


The plan is to have a 2 part cabinet on the wall with electrical outlets built in. All of the cables will come up through the wall and in to the cabinet.

Ben Biddle said...

nice to read about someone installing one of these themselves.

Greg said...


Have you finished yet? How did it turn out?

Capdiamont said...

Another thing to consider is ventilation.

I've been following your blog quite a bit, and love it.

Not sure about the Decora/gfci face plates, but normal face plates will allow you up to 6 plex/ports in a single gang or twelve in a double gang box. One annoying thing, is it seems like each manufacturer has their own standard for jack width/height. Making them either hard to fit, or impossible to fit.

I do this kinda thing for a living, so I don't feel like doing it for our own house when I get home. Also slowly redoing our own house.

Well, have a nice day.

Greg said...

Yes, I have been giving some thought to ventilation. The first thought was to have half of the cabinet with a door and the other half open shelving. This would allow me to hide the FastHome box and have the router, NAS, and printer in an open space. I didn't like that idea, so I've come up with another that I'll write about when it comes time to make the cabinet.

mickmaguire said...

Gotta love the LED in the last pic - labelled "LED" I wonder if it actually is there for some other purpose other than just having an LED? ;)

Greg said...

It looks cool. Thats the important thing.