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Looking for Home Server Resources


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Good evening.  I'm doing my best to research all the things I'd like to do with a home server setup but it seems like the interwebs don't offer as much advice as I'd hoped.  So, I was curious if there are any books or other resources I can dig into to learn up on home servers, networking, etc.


I'd really like to build a nice system after we move into our house in couple months (not new construction unfortunately) that includes many different ideas I've found through my searches.


If you guys need more precise info on what I'd like to do, I'm happy to provide it.  But, didn't want to do that yet if not necessary.




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If you specify your requirements ... and then your intended build ... I'm sure you'll receive lots of comments and ideas ... indeed multiple ways of doing the same thing.


Provide away ...

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Okay, great.  Didn't want to be that guy who doesn't do his research then asks everyone to design him a system.


That said, while I have a working knowledge of technology in general (I build all my computers, I've got an UnRaid server running plex on an old PC, etc.), I'm a bit more dense when it comes to networking.  What that means is that I've scoured the web for information and, during that search, I've seen what other people have done and just keep adding on to what I'd like to do (the idea began as just simply wiring my home with ethernet).


Without further ado, here are the things I think I'd like to do.  Keep in mind, this is a master plan, not an immediate purchase plan.  So, I'd start with one aspect and slowly build from there over the course of 24 months or so...


  • Network
    • Mixed (wired & wireless)
      • POE access points throughout home
    • Remote access
    • Visitor WiFi/welcome page
    • Seperate visitor hardwire in guest bedroom
    • Internal wiki
    • Firewall
    • VPN
  • Home
    • Security
      • POE cameras
    • Automation
    • VOIP
    • Whole house intercom 
    • Whole house sound systemm
  • Media
    • Move my UnRaid/plex setup out of its current box and into the server rack
  • Backup
    • Scheduled backups of all files locally (we have a dropbox account that serves as our backup right now).


Now, first thing I want to say is that I realize some of the above may be redundant, not possible, etc.  That said, I'm just not certain.  So, here's what I think I need to figure out.  It would seem to me that there are couple different systems here that essentially would be designed seperately from one another yet housed in the same rack.  As for what I don't know (other than mostly everything):


  • What cords do I need to run to each room? 
    • Thinking of putting 4 Cat6(a or e?) cables in each room (one of which would be for VOIP).
    • One Cat6 cable in the ceiling for the POE wireless AP.
    • Cat6 to strategic locations on exterior and also some rooms.
  • Equipment
    • After the internet gets into the server room into the proprietary ISP box, need to figure out where to go from there (gateway, router, switch, etc.)
    • 48 port POE switch
    • Patch panel
    • Plex server?
    • Backup server?
    • VOIP stuff?
    • UPS
  • Software
    • Totally clueless as to how to get this all to talk to each other.  Does each server (VOIP, cameras, automation, plex, etc.) get accessed separately or do they "speak" somehow into a single UI?
    • Blue Iris for cameras
    • I'm certain there's more...

Again, I realizes the scope of something like this is gigantic.  The thing I'd want to accompish straight away are wiring the home and getting my Plex server going.  Then, I can add one system at a time (e.g., security cameras, file server, etc.).


I'm willing to put int he time and effort to read/watch/etc. whatever it takes short of a college degree to better understand how to get a system like this going.  Just running into walls and frustrated with my lack of progress in knowledge


Thanks in advance for the advice, 



(I've attached the doc I created to brain dump into as I ran across ideas.)


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One thing I've heard is "run twice as many cables to endpoints as you think you'll need; you'll always end up using the extras". Also, my uncle was a access control contractor and had to run cables all the time. Anywhere it was possible, he would run conduit, to facilitate future cable expansion. He often used PVC or ABS, since they're cheaper and easier to work with than copper or steel.

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With all these ideas and plans you have your work cut out for you. If you look into Ubiquiti you will find a large amount of solutions to fit your bill of wants. May I ask what state you are in?

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You are 100% correct.  That’s why I’m simply trying to formulate a master plan that I intend to take a few years to implement.


I’m in Indiana.

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Hey Chappy, you came to the right place!  If a customer came to me with this list I would start with cabling and a plan to serve Wi-Fi throughout the house and surrounding areas.  Cabling depends on what is there already and what access you have to the walls, floors, attic area, and where you want your cable runs to terminate. While planning this I would keep in mind speaker wire to ceilings and volume controls as well as cabling for POE cameras.

You can never "over-cable" but the structure may limit you in what you can feasibly run.  I usually run through every room and area and create a list of what the customer wants and then dig around the basement and attic to see what is actually possible.  All the while keeping Wi-Fi hardwire runs in mind.

Wi-Fi comes down to preference.  Do you want something like an eero on the table or do you want that POE unit in the ceiling?  It should be pretty simple after you make that decision.

PM me with your location and if you want some assistance.  I'm in Fishers BTW.  ;)

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Really appreciate you chiming in, Dave.  Thanks for the advice to eat the elephant one bit at a time (starting with cabling and a plan to serve wifi).  I'm guessing that the cabling alone will take me a few weekends or more.  We don't take ownership of the home until early April, so I can't check just yet to see my access or lack thereof but I have a general idea of where I need to run cable.  I'm an architect by profession so once we move in, I'll likely be creating some floor plans to help me plot out my network.


Great suggestion to remember the speaker wire, volume controls, and cabling for the POE's.  I'll likely be seeking further advice on the speaker wire requirements at some point (I'm assuming you meant for ceiling mounted speakers serving as intercom and/or whole house music?).  As for WiFi, I'd much rather have the unit in the ceiling, but I do realize this will create much more of a headache for me than something on a table.


Seriously, thank you again for this advice.  I'll shoot you a PM here in a bit.




P.S. Oh, and I'm in Brownsburg.

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One self-evaluation which might guide your buying decisions is where you fit in the following 3 classifications.


1. Subscriber. There are all sorts of subscription services available these days: music, video, software, ... if you are a largely a subscriber you don't need much in the way of a server, everything can be streamed from the cloud.


2. Collector. If OTOH you have or plan to buy and own things (we didn't have any other option 30 years ago!) then you may assemble large collections, for which you will need a storage server of some sort ... but no high-bandwidth network because streaming is low bandwidth (4K video is 15Mbs say NETFLIX).


3. Experimenter. if you are building systems in order to learn new technologies, rather than only use them in production, then you might indeed need 'fastest possible server' and high bandwidth networking/storage. Virtualisation projects ... video editing ... heck Fritz chess program can support 128 cores and 128GB memory! ... all benefit from high spec. kit. Indeed collectors with TB's of storage are now finding that rebuilding/reorganising RAID arrays can take days when limited to GbE. I would say that starting from scratch you should at least consider equipping some part of the network centre with 10GbE or Thunderbolt and fast storage.


You'll find all these options discussed here ... and some of the bigger stuff at:



Edited by JackoUK
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