Tag Archive: Network

I blogged previously about replacing one of my switches with something a little smaller, quieter, lighter and greener: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/a-few-small-updates/ this was all part of a pretty big rewiring of the network and relocation of the A/V equipment.

All of the devices were in a cabinet in the corner of the living room:

But now I wanted to add the new switch and relocate into the utility room adjacent:

And re-run the wires a little differently (I’d previously used existing holes to get upstairs):

I’ve already pulled most of the equipment out of the cabinet and the cables just keep on coming:

The previous excess cable "neatly" spooled behind the cabinet:

Some hours later- a little progress:

Now upstairs. You can see the grey "conduit" I ran alongside the copper pipes with the existing cables:

Here’s the new hole in the ceiling:

And in the floor to allow cables to be pulled without lifting the floor:

Now the carpet’s back down and the cupboards are back in place:

First few lengths of Cat5e pulled through for 2 connections in the master bedroom:

Back downstairs, lots of velcro to tidy things up:

The comms cab starting to take shape (still a mess but I’ve still got a lot to do):


Happy New Year

Just about to set off on what is set to be a mammoth night with the Kool Kids Klub @ the Sunrooms: https://www.facebook.com/events/295464730481459/

Been busy today:

Setting up the new D-Link switch DGS-1224TP: Well impressed with how it compares to the old Cisco / Linksys SGE2000P.

D-Link / Linksys
Weight: 3.4 Kg / 5.8 Kg
Power Consumption (idle): 24 W / 42 W
Depth: 21 cm / 37.5 cm

I think it’s quieter too but don’t have a way of measuring it!

Installing the new RAM in the file servers: both the HP Microservers (running WHS2011 and FreeNAS 8) now have the maximum 8 GB RAM.

Finishing my first iPhone app: It’s not pretty and it certainly won’t be submitted to the app store, but it serves a purpose!

Currently I have a handful of devices on my A/V cabinet in the living room all of which can be controlled with apps on my iPhone. Unfortunately the HDMI matrix which sends the signals around the house doesn’t have a remote app… it does now :)

Still tons to do… I really need to do all the structured cabling and mount the comms cabinet with the new switch before going back to the office next week but that’s somewhat optimistic.

Happy New Year!


Shopping List :)

A comms cabinet, patch panel and some patch leads:

Some cable management and wall sockets:

More cable management, UPS, new router, fibre, and cisco ip phones:

You may’ve also noticed the currentcost IAMs so I will be able to break down my energy consumption at a lower level (currently I can only see overall consumption).


After running power out to the garage it was time to move the servers out and re-rack them. It all went pretty well…

Here’s the mess at the back of the rack before I stripped it out:

Once all the cabling was stripped out:

Testing the 2U cable dump panel for the power cables:

And covered up:

Seems to work nicely but I only have one at the moment and I need that for the network cables:

Power cables re-run using standard 1U cable management bar:

Network leads patched in (2 for each ESXi server, 1 for the WHS 2011 server, 2 for IPMI and 1 running back to the house- hopefully to be replaced shortly by 2 fibre LAG):

And covered up:

Front of the rack (bit of a rubbish photo, but you can see none of the equipment has any front connections, also quite a lot of redundant gear):


Running power and network (conduit) to the garage- house side (hidden neatly behind the side gate):

Inside (currently running as a spur due to the location but will eventually run a direct line into the fusebox):

Garage side (armoured mains cable goes in the side and conduit submerged almost flash with the path):


Bare fusebox mounted with isolator, 6A (lighting) and 16A (mains) circuit breakers:

Armoured cable run into the fuse box and conduit coming out the top of the box (can barely see in the photo):

First socket kept high so as not to obstruct the rack which will sit directly below:

Light fixture in place but not yet cabled:

Second socket with conduit:

In process of feeding the cables through the conduit:

Socket wired:

Fusebox wired and secured:


The other wall:

Light cabled and bulb in place:

Wide angle (excuse the mess :)

Next up- migrating the servers out and rerunning the network around the house (I will probably use fiber to/from the garage but need to work out where to put which switches, poe etc)


I’ve decided to stick with my rackable systems box as my fileserver because it’s relatively quiet and “green”. I have two identical servers so all i had to do was pop 4x 1.5TB drives in the new one (the old one had 4x 750GB) and migrate the data! The old server is running FreeNAS 7.2 and I loaded FreeNAS 8 RC2 onto the new one (ZFS support).

I can briefly remember attempting the migration task in the past and finding it somewhat easier said than done!

First i tried from a windows box connecting to each server using samba simply dragging/dropping the files. The transfer goes from the old server to the windows box then back to the other server so I decided this was a no go (performance was pretty poor and the samba process on both servers seemed to be eating the CPU but at least i got a progress bar).

Now I decided if i want the transfer to go directly from server to server i’d need to SSH into one of them and initiate the transfer from there. I mounted the old server on the new (mkdir /mnt/oldnas | mount oldnas:/mnt/data /mnt/oldnas) and proceeded to copy a folder (cp -R /mnt/oldnas/test /mnt/data). Unfortunately I couldn’t tell how fast the transfer was going nor the progress it had made!

So googling suggested rsync (rsync –progress) which provided speed and progress- great! Or not… unfortunately performance was even worse than before, only this time rsync was eating the CPU!

Next google result… scp (scp /mnt/oldnas/test newnas:/mnt/data)- using both local paths doesn’t display progress so one path must be nfs. Poor performance again! You guessed it… scp eating CPU.

So… back to cp! This time i passed -v to get an update after every file completes (cp -R -n -v /mnt/oldnas/test /mnt/data). Excellent! Only 10% CPU utilization… but can i determine how fast the transfer is going without timing how long a file (or group of files) takes to transfer? After trying a bunch of useless commands i finally found systat -ifs which shows current network throughput and peak network throughput- perfect!

Another update shortly!

P.S. I found that: systat -ifs doesn’t work prior to FreeBSD 8 (not a problem for me as i think FreeNAS 8 RC2 is based on FreeBSD 8.2) but: netstat -Iem0 -w1 -h is mildy helpful if you are running FreeBSD < 8.

*EDIT* This project has been abandoned in favour of a much larger project home automation hub: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/more-jeenodes-my-home-automation-hub/ which is now successfully logging data to pachube but still a long way to go!

I’ve been trying to find a Weather Station (only really interested in the temperature, wind speed, humidity, rainfall etc would all be bonuses but not necessities) which connects to the LAN so i can access the sensor information from my laptop/pc or office via the internet. My search didn’t come back with much:
-some reasonably priced USB devices but i don’t want to leave a computer connected to it 24/7
-some extortionatly priced network devices which look like they belong on a NASA space station

So i thought i’d take a look at what my options are on building something myself (how hard can it be?! :)

My first thought was- I need a networkable device with a web server that i can “customise” and a device which can bridge between the software and hardware. The devices i found which met these criteria:
-Router (w/ USB): Already runs a customisable o/s (sounds like DD-WRT or Open-WRT are ideal)
-USB Bit Whacker: Adds digital and analogue input/outputs to a computer via a standard USB port (and already proved to be connectable with DD/Open-WRT http://forum.sparkfun.com/viewtopic.php?p=44501 and http://forum.sparkfun.com/viewtopic.php?p=44501)

But after further research i stumbled across PIC WEB Server (http://www.coolcomponents.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=41) which appears to be a PIC board with an ethernet (rj45) connection and built-in tcp/ip stack and web-server.

Anyway- i still have a lot of research to do before i know exactly what i need to start building my device but i’ve ordered a PICKit3, some breadboards, PIC chips and various other components to start learning!

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