Relocating Network

As mentioned on another post, I originally designed one of the bedroom closets to be my “wiring closet” and my attempt at setting it all up was pretty lame.  One of the worst parts is that technically, by code, you can’t have a power outlet in a closet.  Probably something about flammable clothing and enclosed spaces and electricity and on and on.  So that meant, I had to run an extension cord into the closet to the UPS, which fed my networking equipment.

At the time, I wanted it to be a centralized place for cable, network, and phone connections.  As time has gone on, the cable and phone connections have become much less valuable, since they have more or less become obsolete.  Further, these are not connections that change often, if ever.  There’s no reason for needing them to be in an easily accessible place.  Lastly, the networking equipment has been reduced since my original plan.  Where before I had a cable modem, router, and switch, now I only have one device that does all of that. 

So the new plan is to place the router and UPS on a shelf in the laundry room, next to the security system.  There is a power outlet high on the wall to feed to security system, so that is a perfect place to also power the router.  It’s a good central location for WiFi, too.

The first thing I did was purchase an 8-way passive coax splitter for the cable.  In my original design, I had purchased an active splitter, but was quickly disappointed that it didn’t support the extended bandwidth required for digital cable.  So I was out that money, and eventually just had a tiny 4-way splitter hanging from the ceiling.  When the splitter came in, I went right up in the attic, pulled the coax cables back up into the attic and connected them all on the new splitter.  Everything worked and that was phase one complete for the relocation.

The next step will be pulling the phone wires back up into the attic.  The wires are all joined together on a joined patch panel, and I’m undecided if I want to keep that or not.  In any case, the wires will remain in the attic.

The biggest part will be done last, relocating the network and router.  Currently, I have the network wires dropped down from the ceiling, terminated at a patch panel, then patched between the panel and the router.  My initial thought was to just terminate the drops and plug them right into the router from a hole in the ceiling.  I’m so glad I didn’t act on that right away because I thought up a much cleaner solution.  I will install a work box in the ceiling and terminate the runs at keystone jacks, then patch those from the ceiling jack to the router.  So instead of having a patch panel, I just have jacks in the ceiling.  No ugly holes.

So I have four network runs and I’ll need one coax jack for the router.  That should be a piece of cake.

And then I tried to execute my plan.  I cut a hole in the ceiling and installed the work box.  Then I climbed in the attic and tried to locate the box.  I couldn’t find it.  Back downstairs and stuffed a long zip tie up there.  Back up.  Still don’t see anything anywhere.  Back down.  Pull the box out and see there’s a sheet of wood right over the hole I cut.  Sigh.  Drill a hole through the wood and stuff the zip tie in it.  Back up in the attic.  Still don’t see a zip tie or hole anywhere.

This is getting pretty frustrating.  I take measurements of my outlet hole relative to things like the AC vent and the lighting fixture.  I go back up and by the same measurements, my outlet hole is just on the other side of a large wood structure, capped with drywall.  I go out to the shed and get an old, old drill bit I had used many years ago.  It’s like 18 inches long for drilling through ceilings and stuff.  I drill a bigger hole in my outlet, then use the bit to see if I can get to the drywall above it.  Just barely.  I try as hard as possible and then head back into the attic to see if I pierced it.  I didn’t.  By this time, I am completely worn out from squeezing through rafters and joists and balancing on 2x4s.  But I kept trying.

Next, I grab my drill, put a hole saw on it and came in from above.  Once I cut the hole, I peeked down to see if I could find the holes I made coming up from the outlet.  I didn’t see them.  I tried to make out what I was looking at and noticed the the surface below the hole seemed yellow.  Then a sick realization dawned on me.  I went back down and walked around to my front entryway.  I had just drilled a hole in my ceiling above the plant shelf.  The plant shelf was inset on the wall and was above the point I installed my wire outlet.  So that means I’ve also drilled a hole in the floor of the plant shelf as well.  I could see beside the large hole I drilled in the ceiling a heavily damaged part of ceiling where my 18” drill bit but barely managed to touch.  This is a total disaster.

Back up in the ceiling, I get more aggressive trying to locate the outlet hole.  There was a AC conduit hanging in the way and some sheet insulation and a bunch of blown insulation in the way, but I did eventually see light from below.  There was about a 1/4” of space between two wooden beams that I could slide wiring between.  And so I did.  Until I realized that two runs from the back bedroom wouldn’t reach.

So now, I had to hack up an extension for those two runs to reach their destination.  Back down and up a few more times and I ended up creating one extension and breaking another.  All I want is Internet back on my desktop.  Please.  I give up in the attic for the night and terminate the two runs from the office.  I struggle the UPS and router up on the shelf and connect the network runs.  Miraculously, it worked.

At this point, I have to extend the network lines from the bedroom, re-terminate the bedroom jacks with Adorne jacks, terminate the bedroom lines at the other end and install the face plate.  Then I can worry about fixing the holes in the ceiling in the other room.