looking for a sugestion for a patch panel / media center


Old 03-24-05, 12:02 PM
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looking for a sugestion for a patch panel / media center

i am installing a home network in my house and also re-wiring the telephone and cable. I am using my utility room as my 'electrical closet'. please share any suggestions on a good/inexpensive patch panel for my network and a telephone module. everything i am doing is home runs and i would like some sort of a media center to centrally locate everything. leviton has a decent product but it doesn't seem to cheap. the local home depot and lowes dont carry the network products, but do carry the telephone module for leviton. i will have to buy anything from the net. so feel free to point me in the right direction.

fyi, i have about 10 runs of each phone, data, and cable.

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Old 03-28-05, 06:36 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Trying to help,

here are some ideas for you:

The easist way to go would probably be a nice looking piece of plywood mounted to the wall, then you can mount a punch down block for the telephone and LAN cables. You can also add labels and diagrams to help you remember where everything connects to. A punch-down block looks like this: http://www.smarthome.com/8610.html Most of the time, this is the easist way to go. This is very similair: http://www.smarthome.com/8733C.html

If you're looking for something a little nicer or you need to add video distrubution or maybe alarm system wiring, then is what looks like a do-everything box, but it's blank, so you will need to add a lot of parts to it, such as patch panels or punch-down blocks, video distrubution amps, copmuter routers to it. Here it is: http://www.smarthome.com/1288.html

There are panels that are ready to go out of the box (with everything included), but the prices were pretty steep. http://www.smarthome.com/865104.html

I hope this gives you a good starting point, you may want to try searching the web for "structured wiring". You'll find a lot of info out there!

Good Luck!
Old 03-29-05, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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If you ran CAT5 for phones and data, I would advise punching all the ports into a standard patch panel. I would also use CAT5 RJ45 ports at each wall jack, rather than using RJ11 for phones. That way, you can use any port as either phone or network by simply changing where it connects at the patch panel (BTW: yes, an RJ11 phone cable plugs into an RJ45 jack just fine).

Bring your main phone line to the wiring center and connect a phone splitter to it (I found a 5 way phone splitter at Big Lots of all places for about $3 a few months back). Then use short RJ11 cables from the splitter to whatever ports you want to run phones off of. Mount your Switch/Router and run patch cables to the ports you want to run network devices off of. Any time you want, you can change any port from data to phone and back. Just LABEL the patch panel well.

As for what patch panel to use, that's up to you. Determine whether you want a rack mount panel or not. Usually, you'll need a rack panel unless you have a small number of ports. Do a FRoogle search (froogle.google.com) for the terms "patch panel CAT5 -cable" (minus the quotes). I threw "-cable" on there to eliminate the plethera of patch cables that were flooding the results.

If you do use one patch panel for both voice and data, you could get a 24port patch panel and still have four empty ports.
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