You will of course need to have power for the equipment, so consider a power strip with built in surge protection. Rack-mountable options are available to keep everything tidy. Please click on any of the pictures to get further information about the specific product.
Your Router or Modem
You’ll need your router to both provide your network with access to the internet and to assign the IP address to every device within your network. You’ll need a single connection from an ethernet port on your router to a port on your switch. It seems most logical to have your router within the network cabinet and connected by a short lead. However, if the location of your cable or ADSL line makes this impractical, theres no reason why your router can’t be located elsewhere in the home with a longer cable providing a direct connection to the switch.
Network Attached Storage (NAS Drives)
This is basically an external hard drive with an ethernet connection, which plugs into your network and may be accessed by computers and other devices on your network. It can be used to store your music collection ad media files so you may access them from devices such as smart speakers, streamers and smart TVs throughout the house. Not only can NAS drives be used to store your photos and files centrally. You can also configure your computer to automatically and regularly back up it’s content to a NAS drive. The drive can be stored anywhere where a wired connection is available but as they usually don’t require much attention, the most logical place to store it is in the network cabinet. You may choose to have separate NAS drives for different files, say one for your music and videos and another for your work files. Please click on any of the pictures to get further information about the specific product.
NAS drives can be configured to regularly back themselves up to another drive, so you might choose to store your data on a main NAS in the network cabinet and have a second NAS drive plugged into a wall socket elsewhere in the house to back up a mirrored copy of the data. Perhaps you could even locate the back-up drive in an external garage or out-building. That way, even if your house burnt-down, there’d be a chance that all your data would be safe!
Networked Video Recorder (NVR)
These are used to record the data that can be captured by the IP security cameras on your network. You’ll need one of these if you are using cameras and want to record the footage for playback. Please click on any of the pictures to get further information about the specific product.
HDMI Matrix, and Shared AV products
If you would like to access the same video sources such as satellite TV, PVR recorder or video output from NVR over several screens throughout your home. Those devices can be stored in the network cabinet and connected to the matrix using HDMI leads. The matrix can then send the video data over CAT6 cables to baluns, which in turn connect to your various TVs or projectors with HDMI leads. You can find out more information about this here.
Home Cinema Amplifier or AV Receiver (AVR)
You might have chosen to use the same cabinet for your network and home cinema equipment. This can either be located in your cinema room, or if you are looking to have all the equipment hidden, it could be in a different part of the house altogether. Most AV-Receivers can now be controlled remotely using a smartphone app. There are other options to remotely control equipment too, which I’ll talk more about here.
This is a really good solution if you are looking to design your home in a very minimalist way. You will still need to run speaker wire from the AVR to your speakers and get the video to your TV or projector. If you are using disc-based media like DVD or BluRay, then you also need to consider access to your disk player, which would need to be connected to your AVR with an HDMI lead so would likely be in the same cabinet.
Networked Amplifiers for Multi-Room Audio
We’ll go into more detail about this in the guide to the home sound system. If you are using any kind of passive speaker for your multi-room audio setup, such as in-ceiling or HiFi speakers, you’ll need an amplifier to power, control and stream music to them. Each separate zone will require it’s own networked amplifier.
Depending on the location of your network cabinet and the layout of your home, you might choose to have some or all of these amplifiers tucked away in your network cabinet.
If for example, your network cabinet is positioned in your attic at the top of your two-story house. You have CAT6 cables running from here throughout the home. You are going to have ceiling speakers built-in throughout the house; three audio zones downstairs in the kitchen, dining room and living room, and four zones upstairs for the bedrooms and bathrooms. You could choose to have the speaker cables for all seven zones going to your network cabinet, which would contain all the equipment. Or alternatively, you might have just the four upstairs zones wired to the cabinet in the loft directly above, and have the equipment to power the downstairs speakers located in another part of the house, where it is closer to the corresponding speakers. All networked amplifiers should have a wired connection to the switch.