Tour of Home Network 2020

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Tour of Home Network 2020

Tour of Home Network 2020


Hello, and welcome back to another episode
of The 8-Bit Guy. Now, back in 2013 I made this quick little video called “A tour of
my home network.” This was back when I was still going by the
name “The iBook Guy” and that was even before I had my own logo. And at the time,
I honestly didn’t think that many people would be interested. However, it was a surprisingly
popular video and it has now reached over 1.8 million views, which is more than I even
have subscribers. A lot of people have been asking if I would
do an update, since that video is now 7 years old. And so here it is. and I have some interesting
surprises for you. I’m going to start in my office room, which
a lot of people think is the same as my studio room, but it isn’t, it’s a totally different
room. And behind that door is my network closet. But, it didn’t always used to be here. In
fact, if we go back about 20 years ago, my network closet was in another part of the
house and it looked like this. Yes, I was really into Sun Sparcstations back then, as
you can tell. In fact, at one point I had a CD-ROM tower with 7 CDROM drives in it,
and one of those was a burner. And that’s primarily where I stored most of my files
at the time. But as you can imagine, with trying to store more and more digital video,
that system eventually no longer sufficed. In fact, as optical media continued to get
cheaper, I had also come to the conclusion that CD and especially DVD recordables were
totally unreliable. No matter how well I stored them, I found that many would quit reading
after a matter of months or years. But, I discovered that PD media, and it’s successor
DVD-RAM was actually very reliable. So I used these for years to backup all of my data,
and I would always make two copies and take a handful of them to work to store in my desk
drawer there in as an offsite backup. However, as you can imagine, even 5.2 Gigabytes per
disc eventually became a bit obsolete and the media became harder to find as well, so
I eventually had to give up on this too. I did briefly switch to the larger 9.4 GB DVD-RAM
cartridges, but even those eventually became impossible to find. Eventually, about 8 years ago, we added some
rooms onto our house. I actually did all of the electrical wiring myself, which our city
inspector not only approved but said I did it better than most electricians. But I also
took this opportunity to move the network closet and build a new one from scratch. And
that’s the one I’m going to show you now. Lets take a look at this photo I showed of
my network wall back in the 2013 video, and now let’s look at it today. As you can see,
I’ve added quite a few things over the years. Every room in the house has 2 or 3 network
jacks. The wires run through the attic like this and eventually converge into this one
monster bundle of wires. This is where all of the ethernet cables from all around the
house converge into one place. There’s actually about 40 wires here. Some people have asked
what it is they are going up into. Well, it’s actually just a pipe fitting I bought at the
hardware store that screws together like this. I just wanted something to protect the sheetrock
from all of these cables and give it a nice aesthetic appearance. This entire wall is actually a thin sheet
of plywood, which has been painted the same color as the rest of the walls. This makes
it possible to mount stuff wherever I want. I’ve also upgraded this switch to gigabit,
but these two here remain the slower 100 megabit, which really doesn’t matter because I put
all of the important stuff on the gigabit switch anyway. So, for example, it’s really
not going to matter if, you know, my Apple TV, or my printer, for example, is on the
100 megabit switch. In fact, I mean, my internet connection is only just slightly under 100
megabit anyway. So, for example, Netflix on my Apple TV isn’t going to run any faster
even if this was a gigabit switch. Down here, I have a new 5 port switch. This
one is a power over ethernet, so it is running my security cameras. Now, I used to have these
old analog cameras on my house like these, but they were not very good. So, I recently
replaced them with these Axis network cameras. Now, a lot of people ask me why I have done
my network like this instead of using rack mount equipment, especially being that I come
from an IT background. Well, to be honest, I hate rack mount stuff, especially in the
home. And I really hate patch panels. There are a few reasons why I prefer doing things
like this. For one thing, these switches are cheaper. Also, patch panels just add an extra
layer of unnecessary complexity and wiring mess. Doing it like this, I can label all
of the ports, so I can look at each port and know immediately what is connected to it.
The rest of these that don’t have a label are actually connected to unused live jacks
in the house. And I have a system here, so this is switch A, and then B, and C. So if
I look at a network port on the wall, like this one which are labelled A14 and A15, I
can come right in here and immediately see where those are connected to my switch. And
the last reason I don’t like rack mount stuff is because they tend to have fans in
them, which can be loud and annoying, and worse the fans go out after a few years and
then you have to replace the fans or replace the equipment. These switches are all passively
cooled and work just fine. In fact, these two switches have been running non stop for
at least 10 years, plus I bought them used. So, I’d say they’re pretty reliable. And yes, I do have a wifi in my house, but
I still absolutely hate wifi for anything other than portable devices. Speaking of wifi,
a lot of people have asked what happened to my vintage airport I had on the wall of my
studio room. Well, I had not been using it in ages and somebody gave me one of those
more modern Airport Extremes, so I thought I’d hang that in its place, which I did. However, not 10 minutes after I had the thing
hung up, I had to take it back down because I didn’t realize those things had fans in
the bottom of them. And so, after a few minutes it got hot and then the fan started going
roooo, and my studio microphone up above my head was actually picking that up. And I was
just like, no I can’t have that in here making that kind of noise. So, I had to take
it down. Of course, I still have a regular airport
unit in my living room, right next to the Apple TV, which provides coverage to the whole
house. So, now I want to show you something I didn’t
show you in the last video. Take a look at this. This is a fiber converter, and it’s
located at the opposite end of the house. So, what is this fiber optic cable connected
to? I might have mentioned this before, but my
parents live in the house next door. Well, it’s just my mom now because my father passed
away last year. But, we’ve actually lived in these two houses since the 1990s, when
they were built. And during construction, we buried a conduit between the houses that
originally carried a standard ethernet cable. Now, the reason I didn’t mention this back
in the 2013 video is because I was afraid I might have been breaking some sort of ordinance
or regulation or something like that. But, I’ve researched it a lot since then and
the best I can tell I’m not breaking any sort of law. It’s really no different than
sharing your WiFi password with your neighbor. Of course, back when we put the cable in,
we didn’t even have WiFi. That wasn’t even a thing. The buried ethernet cable worked fine for
several years, but something unfortunate happened. There was this tree between the houses. Not
exactly between, as it was really in the back yard. But anyway, one day in the early 2000s,
lightening struck this tree. In fact, here’s a picture I took of the tree the next day.
And a few weeks later, most of the tree fell down. You can see a black mark down the center
of this piece. Then, we chopped it up and you can actually see a black mark down the
inside of every piece. The lightening strike destroyed many electronic
devices in both houses, including microwaves, and televisions, and alarm clocks, and things
like that. But, that actually wasn’t the worst of it. Somehow the lightening traveled from this
tree, through the ground, and jumped into this ethernet cable. I admit, I lack the understanding
to explain exactly how this works. Nevertheless, it fried every device that was connected to
ethernet including hubs at both houses, computers, and anything else. And fortunately, I have
some photos from the event. You’ll have to forgive the quality since digital cameras
back then weren’t all that great. First of all, I was not able to get the wires out
of the hub. They were melted in place. So, at first I just cut them all off like this.
However, using some pliers I was eventually able to get some of the wires out and they
were very charred looking. This one here was the one that was connected to the house next
door and it’s charred the worst. I also disassembled the hub and had a look inside.
You can see some of these chips here have actually popped as well. I had to go around and replace every RJ45
jack in every wall of both houses. I also had to replace a lot of computer equipment.
Now, I got lucky and some of the computers only the ethernet card was fried, and I was
able to remove the card and just put a new one in. But, in many cases the motherboards
were fried too. So, I realized I needed one of these ethernet
grounding blocks on each side of that buried cable. So I did get some of these and install
them. However, it only helped some. A year later another lightening storm came through
and did a similar type of damage, but on a much smaller scale. As such, I decided to
replace the ethernet cable with this fiber optic instead. Since there is actually nothing
metal or conductive inside this cable, it is totally immune to lightening strikes. And
here’s what it looks like next door with the matching fiber converter. These things
have actually been in place at least 10 years, and they were bought used so no telling how
long they’ve really been working. Nevertheless they have had a 100% uptime. They are only
100 megabit, but that’s fine for our purposes. I would also mention people are often curious
how I terminated the ends of the fiber cable. Well, I didn’t. I actually just went on
ebay and bought a 100 foot patch cable that had ends on both sides. And fortunately the
conduit was just big enough to pull them through with the ends attached. You may also notice that I have another POE
switch here, and there are two more cameras attached. So, there are cameras on both houses. So, enough about the network itself. Let’s
talk about some of the things connected to it. First of all, if you go back to the 2013
video, I was using multiple external firewire drives connected to a Mac mini. But now, I
am using a Synology NAS. This is a self-contained system that connects to my network. It has
4 hard drives, each one is 4 terabytes, and it’s setup in a RAID-5 configuration, so
that gives me about 12 terabytes total, with a redundant drive in case of failure. But, I wanted to have another redundancy as
well. For example, what happens if my house is destroyed by a tornado, or a fire, or is
burglarized and my NAS is stolen. Well, it occurred to me to put another synology drive
next door. So next door I have a little two-bay unit, which is not using any sort of RAID
since it doesn’t really need extra redundancy since it’s whole function is to be a backup
in the first place. Anyway, the two units actually sync with each other and so I always
have a live backup next door. It doesn’t have a monitor or keyboard, but
you can connect to it with your web browser and it has it’s own little GUI operating
system, which is remarkably powerful. It can do surprising number of server related tasks. But the main thing I find interesting is that
it also supports being a DVR for IP security cameras. So this unit does double duty as
a file server and a security camera DVR. And you know what, the DVR actually works remarkably
well, and I’m saying this as somebody who used to work on commercial-grade security
systems at my last job. So, looking at these cameras, these 4 here are from my house, and
these two here are next door. These cameras record at 4K resolution, but I have them set
to 1080 because I can’t see much difference and it saves a lot of space. They also look
fantastic at night time. I’m also using a custom router running PFSense. And, also I used to have a Mac mini in here
acting as a server. But I don’t really need a server anymore, so I have this little Atari…
ok it’s not really an Atari, it’s actually an Intel NUC running Windows 10. I need to
keep a windows machine around the house for some software, so here it is. My main computer,
on the other hand is still a Mac mini, although it has been upgraded since the last video.
And yeah, this is where I do all of my video editing, emailing, and shipping. And the last thing I’ll mention. A lot of
people ask if this network equipment in here is functional or is it just a decoration?
And, the answer is actually both. So, it is functional because this switch here does uplink
and connect to the network closet on the opposite end of the house. And I actually have several
ethernet jacks up underneath my studio bench here, which I can use if I have like, you
know equipment out here that needs an ethernet connection, which admittedly isn’t all that
often. But, the thing is, yes, it’s functional. But, I would, for example, never separate
my wires on a wall like this. I mean, this is extremely inefficient. Normally, I would
just bundle them all together in one bundle. But keep in mind that when I originally designed
this studio it was actually meant for an entirely different channel where I was going to be
dressing up like a mad scientist. The theme to this show was mostly going to
be critiquing all of the bad science in movies and TV shows. And I had all kinds of crazy
stuff including a brain in a jar which was my sidekick voiced by my friend Matt Kendrick.
And this character was called Morby, which was based on Morbius from a classic episode
of Doctor Who. But that show was far too difficult to make,
so ended up abandoning it pretty early. But that hopefully does explain some of the design
cues you see around here. For example, even the front of this studio bench, you know with
all of the big metal screws and everything was, supposed to kind of have that mad scientist,
Frankenstein type look to it. But anyway, I guess that wraps it up for this episode
so as always, thanks for watching!

100 thoughts on Tour of Home Network 2020

  1. Two possibilities for the cable situation since electricity always takes the path of least resistance.
    1: The lightning used the ethernet cable as a readily available low resistance ground through your equipment.
    2: The path to ground for the lightning passed close enough to induce a current inside the cable high enough to overload your equipment.
    Either scenario is known to happen and can cause failure of even the best protected equipment, even national power grids.

  2. An explanation for the lightning:

    Current always wants to flow in the path of least resistance. The Ethernet cable has a path to ground through the circuitry in the components. Because of this, the energy from the lightning traveled to the Ethernet, to your devices, and to ground. Typically, a power surge will not do much damage to the components, but when the energy is so high, it will destroy components.

  3. Quite simply, direct strike lightning has quite a bit of electrical energy all of which is trying to get to earth ground as fast as possible. Any nearby conductor will become a channel through which the lightning will travel and touch a load on the opposing ends which is somehow grounded. Hopefully it’s not a person. This is why multiple redundant earth grounds are so important.

    The inground conduit used may not have been rated for in ground use, had a material breakdown during the event and allowed the some lightning energy to penetrate extremely fast, then penetrate and breakdown (from the heat transfer) the thin insulation on the cables, and reach the conductors. And melt the RJ45 connectors into the switch! Depth of the conduit also would be a factor (was it at least 4’ in the ground?). If that in ground conduit isn’t to code, I’d be more concerned about that than sharing the internet when it comes time to sell either of the two homes.

  4. Genuinely enjoyed the in depth view, I recently just bought a used 25U IT rack so am going the opposite route of what you show but totally agree on getting equipment when possible without fan. Scored a rack mount open box gigabit switch for the project & yes zero fan design was in description so it won my purchase. Cheers!

  5. Cool setup. thanks for sharing, and c'mon you can't just drop a bomb like that other show and not have more than a few stills 😉

  6. Ouch on the network fiasco years back. I had lightning hit a tree in the yard which took out my computer and almost all of the components inside, the PSU actually caught fire briefly but self extinguished. Insurance said act of god not covered, but since the psu caught on fire, they classified it as a "fire", so the whole system was actually covered!

  7. My cat 6 cable running outside my house along wall next cable wire to my room. Since my house really old hard run networking what risk static getting to that wire from clos lightning strike. Nothing happen yet. Just wondering

  8. I still don't get why you don't have a rack. Those switches look like the same models I have mounted in racks for small businesses. I get not liking patch panels but that achieves the same exact thing as your labels and saves money since unused ports don't need a switch.

  9. Is it ok leaving those IP addresses on the screen? Most Tech channels blot those out when they publish the videos.

  10. The copper cable between buildings was likely causing ground potential rise:

    "LAN equipment becomes more vulnerable to damage from voltage surges that appear on network cables. The reason for this vulnerability is that LAN data cables also interconnect the grounding systems of what are, in some cases, separate electrical power systems. A ground potential difference occurs when ground in one part of a building is at a different voltage than ground in the rest of the building or in a neighboring building."

    https://www.cablinginstall.com/cable/article/16465312/ground-potentials-and-damage-to-lan-equipment

  11. Oh man, I love Mac Mini. Hadn't used Mac since the iMac days, but got a Macbook Pro and a Mac Mini at the end of 2019 and I love them! It's definitely a nice change of pace from Windows 10 and even Ubuntu. Anyways, I'm done rambling now.

  12. Upgraded my Internet service to a fibre to the property service recently, and had decided this would be a good opportunity to upgrade my home network, replacing some of my older switch gear and some of the old cabling… Best laid plans – three months later and I still haven't done any of it.

    Most of the jacks around the house are dead. All my wireless access points are dormant. My son is far from pleased with me (although everybody loves the increased bandwidth) 😳

    I feel inspired to get right on it, but it is a little after 3:30am, and I don't think anybody would thank me if I turned the house inside out just now. So instead, I suspect I will be telling myself "I'll do it tomorrow", every day, for the next few months.

  13. You don't see 4k camera make a different ?, try switch to 4k then zooming in , do it again in 1080p, you should see the difference

  14. I ran into those mad scientist videos once by accident, was quite funny to see because I would've never guessed David would do something like that

  15. You can stop drooling video watchers. You'll short out your keyboard! All this home work tech is absolutely fantastic! I love mad scientists!

  16. I was just thinking to myself the other day, that I have not seen an *-bit guy vid in a while.

    What a nice surprise 🙂

  17. I used to have an old Panasonic security camera. My favourite part of the Synology software is that you can add software-based motion detection zones.

  18. I died inside when I learned you still had 10/100 switches. Also for wifi I suggest you take a look at UniFi. If you want some nice gigabit switches let me know, I have a ton.

  19. I've also been wondering about the legality of running a cable between 2 properties but I figured who cares? (beside the telecom provider losing a subscription)

  20. 4:45 true. In my other school i was in when i was in 6th grade, when i got in trouble, I'd be in what they call "room 100". Nothing creative. But they had that kind of stuff, which was hella loud and they wouldn't stop bothering with the "speak a little louder cuz this machine is very loud".

  21. The 8-Bit Guy, Im starting off in expanding my network due to more devices being connected to it. I have a ip cam for the outside. I have this connected to a router witch is connected to a chrome book that is connected to another router for the main part of the network. My issue is that I can accsess the cam fine on the chrome book running wx-linux, However I can not acsess the cam on my main network due to diffrent ip subnets. PEOPLE have suggested I should just bridge it but found it to be a nightmare doing so. Is thear a way for me to view my cam on main network from another subnet network. Sry if i did not explain this right.

  22. Use should be using Verbatim Datalife DVD+R media. Those rarely fail if stored properly.

    I think we all want to see a pilot episode of that mad scientist thing.

  23. I hate Wi-Fi too, a wired connection is so-o-o much better (once it's in place). Still, I can't eliminate Wi-Fi; IOS and Chromebooks need it and some devices (most Roku's) don't offer a wired connection. (Although I use Ethernet to USB dongles on the Chromebooks occasionally but have to be careful not to pull out the USB plug.)
    Sorry about your Dad; mine died in October (retired BGen USMC, 97 year old) .

  24. difference between your switches and '"rackmount' (managed) switches … your switches are actually switched HUBS, with a GIGABIT total traffic for the gigabit one and 100mbit for the other ones, while the rackmount ones actually have a gigabit per port; also you don't need to use a patchpanl when using rackmount switches (i don't for example); also anyone can just plug a cable in your network and start abusing stuff … while with managed switches you have total control over each port (eg; people can even unplug a cable and try using another device on that port, it won't work if set up correctly)

  25. yiiiiiisus the dvds and cds can cut you pretty badly when broken like that.
    please dont do that. i got a nasty naaaasty wound on my thumb doing the same thing.

  26. Used to have a coax network connection to nextdoor when my grandma lived there.
    As far as I’m aware the cables still there underground just disconnected and likely falling apart.

  27. This video ended up way more interesting than I expected. Loved the parts about the lightning and also now I know the story behind that brain in the jar you see in early vids.

  28. I accompany you in your feelings; I am so sorry about your father. I've been a fan of yours for a few years now, so I hope you're doing fine (even though you did already look fine in this video). If your father's passing was already announced elsewhere, I apologize for not knowing in advance.

  29. Had a similar piping problem sharing a live wire and a network cable thru a pipe in the ground too, except it was the water who set the world on fire, and it was to the house's garage, where i tinkered, instead of another house.

    Pipe cracked somewhere and let the nasty water in slowly, eventually filling the pipes up and eroding the insulation on the wires, mostly at the bends, which resulted in catastrophic short circuiting and a small dirt explosion.

  30. Ive always loved the quality of those netgear switches, few products on the market are as rock solid, and most of em are clone netgear designs! Not a fan of apples network stuff , though your fully redeemed for using PFsense! Who needs cisco when theres BSD, right?

  31. Cool to get a tour around your home network! Gives me some ideas for my own home network.

    Also, it was cool seeing you (briefly) at Fully Charged North America! Apologies if I was a dork.

  32. +adric This network I'm taking as a starting point for a new quad Ethernet for OMS Japanese Christian Church (Walnut Creek, CA, USA). I actually pictured four parallel Ethernets, all 1000Base-T4; each room will have four 8P8C jacks (one for each Ethernet) excepting Shinoda Hall (four wireless access points) and the center hall of the Christian-Education Wing (again, four wireless access points). I've already planned on a 19" 40U rack in the Copy Room, as I have to correct the power installations of the video security system anyway (some of the line lumps are hanging in mid-air – unsafe!). I've also an intercom to replace – the NuTone®/Scovill® IM-3003 is known to have power-supply safety issues and the system ended up undersize after expansion, so I'm working out an IntraSonic® I2000 installation with CAT-7+ four-pair to not only exceed manufacturer quality (IntraSonic Technologies specifies Cat 6) but also force full bonding of all component faces and boxes to meet Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers distributed grounding requirements.

  33. Good job on the mounting of the switches the way you did. Both fighting gravity and dust issues having them like that.

  34. Would like to see a Mac Mini / software / editing video. Not 100% on topic with your channel, but it'd be interesting.

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