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Help re-configuring home network structure

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Last Modified: 2019-10-07
I'm looking for some help re-configuring my home network. Here is current setup:

Comcast cable comes into data enclosure in garage wall to a 2-way Splitter. One coax goes to Gateway in my office. Patch cable out of Gateway to a switch beside it which connects my desktop and network printer. Patch cable from this switch to the wall jack backfeeds back to the data enclosure in the garage. Patch panels in the data enclosure connect to small switch in the data enclosure to provide network to other jacks in house.

First, I'm planning to ditch the Comcast Gateway and go with my own modem and router. I want to add a Ubiquiti Cloud Key Gen 2 Plus and eventually a couple of security cameras as well. I'd like to centralize things a bit more instead of going to my office and then backfeed to the data enclosure before distributing to the rest of the house. Unfortunately, there isn't room in the data enclosure for the router, modem, etc. and even if there was, I'd be concerned about the temps. It can get pretty hot in the garage (90F+).

The room directly above the data enclosure in the garage is a storage room with heat and A/C. Perfect location for the network equipment. And it has a knee wall I can get behind and access the cables going down into the garage.  But I'm not sure how best to proceed.

There are 17 Cat5e cables coming into that data enclosure in the garage, 7 from top (upstairs jacks) and 10 from bottom (downstairs jacks). There appears to be enough length on the upstairs ones that I could disconnect them from the patch panel in the data enclosure and move them to a patch panel in the upstairs storage room. That's not an option for the 10 downstairs cables though.

I've done some searching on here and seen some ideas others have had.  I'm not interested in running new cables for the  downstairs jacks.  I know it would be the best solution, but not the direction I want to go here.  So I think that leaves a couple of options.  Option 1 is dropping cables down from the upstairs patch panel to those newly freed up patch panel jacks in the garage (after I move the upstairs wires upstairs) and just connect them with a short patch cord to extend the downstairs jacks to the upstairs patch panel and network equipment.  I've seen a few posts on here about doing that but haven't heard anybody follow up to say how it worked.

Option 2 would be to leave it all as is in the garage and just drop a trunk line down from the storage room to a switch in the data enclosure in the garage.  Then hook all of the cables from the patch panel to it.  This is only slightly better than my current setup as the storage room is closer to the data enclosure than my office is.  There is power in the garage data enclosure to run the switch, but again I'm concerned about heat.  I was hoping to use some Ubiquiti UniFi switches in the setup since I've already got some of their gear, but I hear they tend to run hot.

Any thoughts on configuration and UniFi equipment are appreciated!
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Fred MarshallPrincipal
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Commented:
You are going to run cable into the storage room from the garage anyway, right?
So I would consider running 17 "long patch cables" (plus the ISP cable) up from the garage to the storage room and put the switch there.  
That seems a very reasonable approach for this.

Author

Commented:
Interesting!  That definitely would be the easiest path, though I may have to knock out a little drywall above the data enclosure in the garage to get all of those patch cables down there.
If I go this path, any recommendation on the "long patch cables"?  I assume solid and at least Cat 6?  I guess I'll have to make my own because I doubt I can get 17 down through there with ends already on them.  Also, I may go with 20 cables to give myself a few spares.
Thanks!
Principal
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Commented:
Yes, having spares is a very good idea!  Patch cables are generally not solid but that's not much of an issue here.  Yet, you *can* find solid wire manufactured cables.

If you make the hole large enough for that many cables then you *could* string manufactured patch cables by running one connector through at a time.  The fractional difference in hole diameter will be unnoticeable.  You might tape them together with the ends spaced maybe every 3 inches.  Then the whole thing would be kind of "pointed" and the last connector at about 5 or 6 feet from the end.

Once done, I would seal the cable hole with steel wool and liquid nails to keep rodents out of the rest of the house.

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