Design The Perfect Home Networking Panel

Your home network is the foundation for your telephone, wireless, television, home automation, home theater, distributed audio and sometimes home security.  The design and specifically the layout of your home networking panel can impact its ability to meet current and future needs.  Here are some tips and tricks to help you design your home networking panel.

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Whole Home Design.  Start with a rough idea of your whole home design and how it relates to the home networking panel design.  What type of cable will you need, how many will you need, and what are the optimal locations?  You can map this out on a piece of paper and tally your requirements so you can plan for enough port slots.

Leave Room for Expansion.  You will want to add to your home network down the road so plan for expansion.

Go BIG on your Home Network Enclosure.  Bigger is better.  My standard installation includes two 38″ panels side by side.  You always seem to need more space than you planned for.  This configuration provides you with options down the road.

Use Grid Lifters.  This is an expensive and time consuming project so make it look nice.  Hide the cables in the panel using grid lifters.  My standard installation includes five grid lifters in each 38″ panel.  Once you install the grid lifters the cable can run behind and maintain a clean professional look.

Use Raceway.  Spend the time and money on 1 1/2″ raceway when you install your networking panels.  Raceway will allow you to more easily add cable down the road.

Consider Your Connectivity Options.  Even though you might be a DirecTV person consider that down the road you or a future homeowner may want Cox or Comcast cable.  Plan flexibility into your panel design.

Ensure Flexibility of Design.  Terminate everything on a punch down block with female RJ-45 connections.  Commercial cable plants are all installed this way since it provides the most flexibility.  Note:  The Channel Vision punch down blocks accept both RJ-45 and RJ-11 connections so you can use the cable for a variety of functions.

Happy Home Networking!  Drop me a note if you have any questions.