Network All the Things!
August 6, 2012 10:23 AM   Subscribe

I finished the half-assed ethernet setup we inherited with our new place. Now tell me everything I can plug into it.

I went a little overboard and there's a lot of excess capacity in the system - 24 ports total (as soon as Amazon replaces the defective switch they sent me), and currently only my desktop computer and the XBox360 are plugged in. There are eight ports in the office that I reused (turns out they were all stapled into the wall and run through the attic, which I don't have access to), two ports in the living room (one for the XBox), and the rest are currently unterminated. There are lots of existing holes drilled in to the floors for old telephone/coax lines that were removed some time ago, so it should be trivially easy to add an ethernet box anywhere in the house.

What can I add to our home to have the awesomest in home audio/video/automation/you name it? I have the following wish list already, so I'd like recommendations for these functions in particular plus any other goodies I might be missing:

-Audio everywhere. We use a combination of Spotify and Pandora mostly, plus some local media. There's an existing 5.1 system to tap into in the living room, but I also want audio in the kitchen and the back yard. Multiple zones would be nice (so someone can watch TV and whoever's cooking dinner can still listen to tunes).
-Streaming video. The XBox has been good for Netflix, but having cut cable with the move I'd like to include more services. A Roku, Boxee, or something similar is on the list. It should also support...
-NAS/Torrent Box. What's the best way to handle this? Out-of-the-box NAS and torrenting handled by my desktop? Separate home server?

What else can I add to the home? Electronic door locks? Video cameras? Automatic food dish for the cats? Light timers? Skynet? Throw it all at me!
posted by backseatpilot to Technology (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Get a NAS and hide it in the attic for a physically secure backup device.

If you have a detached garage, hide the NAS out there for a physically secure off-site backup device.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:55 AM on August 6, 2012

Audio/video can be done wirelessly so there isn't much you are gaining. Unless you have run speaker wire, you aren't going to be able to do multiple zones with a single receiver.

Personally, I like Squeezeboxes for streaming audio.

The most benefit you would get would be a server or a NAS.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:26 AM on August 6, 2012


* Ditch your landline for a SIP phone system?
* X10-automate things that should turn on and off without you there.
** (sub-thought) Put a switch to start your coffee maker next to your alarm clock.
* Put your printer on the network, and stash it in the attic with your NAS. Unless you print a lot, in which case you can put it somewhere more convenient.
* Cross-house video intercom. Look through your front door's peep-hole from anywhere in the house, or argue with your friends and family from different floors. You know you want this. :)
* Home-baked security surveillance. Cheap webcams can monitor every corner of your house.

OK, I'm dry. Who's next with ideas?
posted by Citrus at 12:11 PM on August 6, 2012

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