Technology

atticITThe technology section describes the hardware infrastructure that is installed to allow an effective Security, Computing and Entertainment platform.  Some cabling was installed when the bungalow was built and other was retro-fitted.

In the attic there is a 24-port 10Gb switch with an 8-port POE switch for the CCTV cameras.  The solar panel additional feature is explained. There are separate amplifiers for satellite and UHF TV signals and VHF TV.

Our network streams HD video and CCTV and a 10Gb LAN is necessary as a 1Gb LAN caused video buffering.  There is also a phenomenal speed increase when copying data across the LAN.  

Since it is vital that our IT operates 24/7, the equipment is power by a UPS. 

  • RF cables: we have over 400m of WF100 co-ax cable installed for the distribution of VHF radio, FreeView TV and FreeSat TV.  
  • LAN cables: we have over 300m of CAT6A rated cable installed with at least 2 sockets per room.
  • Audio cables: all rooms have 4 way cable installed for the Sonos system.
  • 16 way cables: 16 way cable is installed from every room, terminating in the study.
  • Solar Panels: diverting surplus energy to the immersion heater.

RF Cables

We only use high quality WF100 RF cable and "F Type" connector terminations in our bungalow for FM, UHF TV and Satellite TV.  The photo below shows a typical room with satellite TV, FreeView TV and FM radio aerial sockets.

Room RF sockets

FM Radio

Inside the attic is a VHF FM aerial which is connected to an FM distribution amplifier.  There are 8 outputs from the amplifier that RF signal cables may be connected to.

FreeView TV

Inside the attic is a FreeView UHF TV aerial which is connected to a TV distribution amplifier.  There are 12 outputs from the amplifier that RF signal cables may be connected to.

FreeSat TV

Outside is a 1m satellite dish which I installed and aligned pointing to the Astra satellite at 28.2 degrees east.  The dish has a quatro LNB with four outputs which takes the low and high frequencies that are horizontally and vertically polarised.  These cables pass through an amplifier to the multiswitch with 8 outputs.  Using a multiswitch allows each FreeSat TV cable to have its own tuneable channel for the 250 TV channels that are available for free.

Wireless Access Points (WAPs)

Wireless Access PointOur bungalow is built with solid walls and wireless signals do not easily pass through them.  To overcome the poor signal areas four additional Draytek WAPs have been installed allowing connection to one of the 21 different SSIDs over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless bands. 

Since we use a Draytek router, these may be configured using the router.  We use multiple virtual LANs, each with different security and with guests not having access to our internal network.

You may be able to see three SSID LEDs lit; we just use three of the four SSIDs on the AP710, but on the AP902, we use six of the eight SSIDs. 

 

LAN Cables

lansocketThe attic has a central 24-port 10Gb switch which is supplemented by an additional 8 port POE switch for the security cameras.  Each room therefore has at least two LAN cables running from the attic switch to at least one dual LAN socket in each room.  Because we have over 50 hard wired devices (computers, TVs, receivers, tuners, blu-ray players, media servers, Sonos devices and printers) connected to our LAN, these 24 cables are inadequate and so we have five additional 10Gb switches distributed around the bungalow.  While we could use wireless communication, wired communication is not only far more secure but very much faster too. 

 

Audio Cables

Most rooms are fitted with a pair of small satellite speakers that are wall mounted near the ceiling.  We use the Sonos audio system to distribute music (held on the NAS and elsewhere) and radio to three zones that can be independently controlled using an iPhone or iPad.  This is achieved by 4-way cable from each room that terminates in the study.

16-way cables

 We also have 16-way cable that was installed when the bungalow was built in 1989 which goes from each room, including the garage and which terminates in the study.

Connections

Each room in the bungalow has up to ten RF cables and four LAN cables terminating in the attic and each of these cables is labelled with where they terminate in each room.

Having 8 RF cables in a room may be considered by some to be excessive, but it is not.  In my study: my computer uses 2 FreeSat and 1 FreeView cables; the TV uses 1 FreeView and 1 FreeSat cables; the receiver uses 1 VHF cable and so that only leaves 2 spare cables.

Solar Panels

solarimmersionOur bungalow was designed to face south before solar panels were invented.  In 2012, we had solar PV panels installed.  We received payback of the sun invested within seven years.  We have had an additional control box wired in that detects when surplus power is being generated over what is being used.  When surplus power is generated, this black box diverts this surplus power to our top immersion heater, so giving us free hot water.

Our immersion heater has two elements, one at the top of the cylinder and the other at the bottom.  In summer we reverse the cables so that the lower element is heated with free surplus solar energy and we switch off the top element so that our water heating is completely free.