December 30, 2013

Setting up the new office

So one of the side effects from working from home is needing a home office. This wasn't a particularly big deal back in Dallas because, hey, that's just wherever my computer was. It's a bit more complicated when you're sharing living space, especially already-set-up living space.

There's a room for it and the furniture aspect isn't a problem. However, we need to get data into that room, otherwise the "log in remotely" aspect won't go so well. Complicating matters, I also have an IP phone that I need to plug in - so while I could get the PC to just use wireless to connect, it's not that easy for the IP phone. Complicating matters still further, the intake router is across the entire house from the office.

It's POSSIBLE to route the computer's traffic through the phone so that I only need one connection, but I'd prefer to avoid that if I can.

So here are my options:

-Have someone come in and run wire through the ceiling to the office, and put in a secondary router in the office. (Theoretically I could put two wires in, one for IP phone and one for PC, but the intake router is short on ports to start with, so there's a new router purchase involved either way...) This is probably the best long-term method but is also the most restrictive if I end up moving stuff around.

-Run a cable along the ceiling into the office, into a secondary router in the office. Would result in a pretty long length of cat-5 running around the ceiling of three different rooms, plus we'd still have to drill it through the wall of the office if we ever want to be able to close that door. Easiest solution in the sense that it doesn't really require anything from a technical perspective, but also dead last from an aesthetics perspective.

-Look for a way to hook up both PC and IP phone wirelessly. What I suppose I would need is a router which would hook up to the wireless already in place (or, failing that, a transmitter and receiver router). This... sounds like something that has to be a solved problem somewhere, right? Is this something that your generic router with wireless is capable of doing if you change the configuration settings, or do I need to get dedicated hardware to make it work? Or is this in fact a dumb idea that I should ditch, and is it time to go buy a big spool of cat5 and get working on the ceiling mount?

(I'm not too worried about the performance end of the wireless - I'm pretty sure that any added lag would be more or less transparent for playing MMOs and the days when I played twitch shooters online are mostly over. But I would like reliability, if I'm going to be VPNing in to a company network for several hours a day...)

Anyone have any advice?

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at 12:37 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1 Is this a house or apartment? Perhaps try ethernet-over-powerline?

Posted by: J at December 30, 2013 01:04 PM (OmaL4)

2 It's a house. Don't really know anything about ethernet over powerlines, I'm afraid. Networking is not my strong suit...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at December 30, 2013 02:39 PM (IopVv)

3 I would do something like option (1) myself by running Cat5e above ceiling. You do not need a secondary router, a hub would do fine.

I have a Polycom work phone and it did require some tweaking at the router. It loads firmware over the Internet using TFTP (you read it right; I just hope it fingerprints it securely by other means).

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at January 01, 2014 11:15 AM (RqRa5)

4 BTW, my router is my wife's Asus 1000 netbook. It only has 1 Ethernet port, but as it turned out, its Ethernet supports VLAN, so I used a cheapest VLAN-capable switch that I could find to setup a fan-out. It turned out very well, because it permitted me to segregate all the entertainment equipment into its own network. Thus I do not need to worry that someone cracks Wii, TiVo, or TV and uses it to attack vulnerable home PCs.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at January 01, 2014 11:23 AM (RqRa5)

5 Think I'm going to go with the Ethernet-over-power solution. Sounds like it's got what I'm lookin' for, doesn't cost much, and doesn't require that I start drilling holes in the house (or hire someone competent to drill those holes, heh!)

Long-term, we'll probably run wires, but there were a couple of horror stories about the state of the wiring up there, so I don't really want to crawl around and verify them for myself...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at January 02, 2014 01:01 PM (IopVv)

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