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The Network Cabinet

I’ve previously mentioned that your main network cables will all need to run to a single central location which will house the networking equipment. This could be a dedicated server cabinet, an area of wall which the equipment can be attached to, or a simple shelf or cupboard.

Server cabinets are the best and most practical way to store this equipment.

These are available in a variety of sizes and can be either free-standing or wall mounted. These are of a rack-mount design, meaning that not only is there plenty of flexibility to position the shelves, but a lot of components such as patch-plates and switches can be mounted securely inside.

As long as you can access the equipment occasionally and the equipment is kept dry, where you choose to locate your ‘network hub’ is largely a matter of preference and individual circumstance. It does make sense for your router to be in the same place as your hub, so somewhere where there is an outlet for the ADSL phone line or cable connection would work well.

You might choose to have a small server cabinet located in a basement, attic, loft or storage space? Maybe a cupboard under your stairs could contain a cabinet or you could have your network switch mounted to the wall in there?

Perhaps if you are building a dedicated home cinema or media room, your network AV equipment could be located within the same rack or cabinet?

Although a dedicated server cabinet is by far the best way to set up the central hub where all your cables go back to; this doesn’t have to be a dedicated server cabinet, but for the purposes of simplicity, throughout this guide I’ll refer to your chosen central location as the network cabinet.

I’ll give you an overview of switches later. First, in the next section we’ll go back to the cabling for a moment and discuss how those cables should be terminated.